Things to do instead of SI

Back in 2001 I spent roughly 8 months in a couple different psychiatric facilities. In fact, I flew back home the first day flights were allowed after the September 11th attacks. That didn’t get my anxiety up… not at all. But I digress.

While in the hospital, I came up with an extensive list of things I could do when the SI urges became too much to deal with. Not all of them work. And not all of them are applicable to my life any more. But I’ll throw them all out there for the readers. Maybe the list will give you some ideas of your own.

  • Count from 1000 to 1
  • 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 (it’s a method to ground yourself… pick an object in the room and give 5 words to describe it repeat with another object and 4 words… if things were really bad I started with 10 and worked down to 1)
  • Listen to music
  • Play my flute
  • Sing
  • Color
  • Crafts
  • Paint
  • Draw
  • Creative writing
  • Write a letter
  • Journal
  • Read a book
  • Learn 1 new thing
  • Do a word search
  • Play solitaire
  • Read the Bible
  • Pray
  • Say the Rosary
  • Deep breathing
  • 5 minute time-out (I don’t remember what I meant by this)
  • Positive self talk
  • Watch TV or a movie
  • Aimless web browsing
  • Work on my website (I swear I’m going to resurrect it just as soon as I can afford hosting)
  • Computer maintenance (scan disk, virus/adware scan, defrag)
  • Talk to a friend
  • Call a crisis line
  • Hug a stuffed animal
  • Pet an cat/dog/bunny/mouse…
  • Take a power nap
  • Change surroundings
  • Go for a drive
  • Window shop
  • People watch
  • Take a walk
  • Stretch
  • Go for a swim
  • Sit outside in nature
  • Take pictures
  • Cook
  • Clean
  • Organize the house
  • Rearrange a room
  • Take meds
  • Remember how far I’ve come from where I was

11 thoughts on “Things to do instead of SI

  1. That’s a good list, and very self-nurturing. It looks like my list of what to do when I feel sad/despairing/overly dissociated.

    I’m finding that finding healthy ways to express my anger is helping with the urges to SI. I do know that anger is a big reason I do it–at myself, at the world, etc. Here are some I’ve tried lately that helped:

    Throw balled-up socks at the wall, really hard.

    Rip up an old newspaper (alternatively, write down all the reasons I’m mad and rip up the paper).

    Finger paint (very physical; my littles prefer “all over the wall” but we’re working on that one!)

    Write large, hateful words on big paper (don’t show this to people you’re angry at!).

    Punch a pillow/kick a pillow (pillows good, concrete bad!)

    I’m not brave enough to do it, but screaming out loud somewhere would be a good physical release for me (like, in the car).

    My littles have a game they play with my partner, when they are feeling angry: they “hide” under the blankets on the bed, and wait for her to “forget” they are there, and then they EXPLODE out of the blankets and roar or yell or something. Makes them feel much better, but doesn’t work on older parts as well.

    I hope this comment wasn’t too random, just wanted to add some suggestions on, so that perhaps your toolbox will be a little larger. It’s my way of saying “thank you” for your list. Perhaps a simple thank you would have been better? Ah, well. Posting it anyways.

  2. Work on my website

    I can supply web hosting at bargain prices for fellow bloggers!
    I would give away free hosting, but the bloggers I know would just get all guilty and anxious about that so I don’t do that!

  3. “Work on my website”

    Trust me. You don’t want me doing that. I shudder to think how badly that HTML is written… In fact, I let MS Word generate some of it….

  4. I like the fingerpainting idea. Same with the ripping up paper. I’ll add , punching a wall = bad.

    And this blog was built with the intent of reader input, so thanks for adding to the list :)

  5. “In fact, I let MS Word generate some of it…”

    Back foul fiend!

    I like screaming in the car. That was a suggestion for the list not a random statement.
    Obviously screaming anyway would do, but I need to do it somewhere nobody can hear or see me.

  6. “In fact, I let MS Word generate some of it…”

    Back foul fiend!

    In my defense, that was almost 10 years ago. I now know better. I wouldn’t let word generate HTML if my very life depended on it. The little bit of coding I do, I do by hand with the help of a cheat sheet.

    Actually, I think it would be fun to put those old pages (especially the ones Word generated) through a validator and see just how bad they are.

  7. I need some sort of physical activity to decrease anxiety which is why I do yard work after therapy. I tell my friends that if they come over and the furniture is in the same spot for about two weeks at a time then there are some major issues going on. I move the furniture for physical activity when going outside to relieve anxiety isn’t possible. I will go ahead with my anxiety plan even if I’m not anxious because it helps keep it at bay some times. So, even if I’m not feeling overly anxious I”ll still work in the yard after therapy for maintenance purposes.


  8. *grin*

    Rearrange the room was one of mine too. Unfortunately, there’s not that much rearranging I can do in my current living situation. But I have been doing quite a bit of organizing.

    I finally went through and shredded all the donation envelopes my church sends from when I was in Korea.

  9. Great list!

    I used music, ballet and creative writing as a child and adolescent to escape reality and the difficult emotions that I experienced back then.

  10. Oh dear…yes punching walls = bad! Especially brick ones! I have done this on occasion and I am sure suffered some fractures. Too embarrassed to go to the ER and I’m sure the damage was minimal anyway. I just let it heal on its own as my hand was still (relatively) functional and no fingers were hanging limply not moving.

    Oh sorry…that’s a wee bit graphic…good thing you have comment moderation on!?

    But I would definitely say that wall punching is bad. And even a form of SI…as it was always done when I couldn’t get my words/emotions out. Ditto head banging against walls/objects.

    Good list, though.

  11. I used to do the head to wall. A few times in college I laid down on the floor and did head to floor. Ended up with quite the terrible headache too.

    Most of the time was because I didn’t understand what was happening to me with the PTSD. This was before I was diagnosed with anything. Before I even saw a therapist for the first time.

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