I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) when I was admitted into a mental health unit in May of 2016. One of the first questions my psychologist asked me when I began therapy was “do you speak kindly of yourself?” I sat in stunned silence for a good minute and a half before I could think of an answer. When I finally told her that I don’t really talk about myself, and that I don’t like bringing attention to myself, she asked me if I knew why. I didn’t.
It’s taken me a lot of therapy, time, and finding the correct medications, but one thing has become apparent to me over the past year and a half: there is no way to speak kindly of yourself, until you can think kindly of yourself.
One of the biggest steps in my recovery was creating myself a self care kit. Self care is an essential process that is quick to be forgotten in the rush of everyday life, but without it it’s easy to find yourself lost in an endless rut. Self care can be the clean-up routine you create on a Sunday to prepare for the week ahead, or the bath you run yourself on a Friday night to unwind from the working week. Self care is an extremely personal practice. What one person finds relaxing could make another want to crawl out of their skin.
For me, having a self care kit to fall back on during the tough times is an essential part of my daily life. I personally have an old shoe box, but you could fill a basket, bag, whatever works for you, with items that bring you joy and comfort. Decorate it and make it your own, so when you look at it in a lost moment you feel grounded. Take a moment to carefully select your own items and place them somewhere safe for a bad day.
Everyone’s will differ, but some of my personal favourites are:
- My favourite incense
- A face mask
- Bath bombs and bubble bath
- My favourite hand lotion
- Favourite pen and a notepad
- A packet of tissues
- A calming essential oil blend
- Stress ball
- Watercolours and paper
- Something from my childhood
I also always make sure to turn my lights off, switch on my salt lamp and put on a calming playlist on Spotify.
Mostly I have good days now, but knowing I have a little box tucked away under my bed that will help during unforeseen times is always comforting.