What I put in my self-harm safety kit

by Ayushree

Note from Anne Moss: A self-harm safety box is a kit that a person puts together as a self-help strategy. This was sent to me by Ayushree and she details the contents of her safety box which she has so far found helpful in breaking her self-harm habit.

Self-harm safety box

To make my own self-harm safety kit, I took a shoebox, covered it in white paper and made doodles all over it. I didn’t write anything on it because otherwise, my mom would know.

Doodles are one of my hobbies and it helps me to relieve stress. … Read more...

Priyanka’s coping strategies for working through depression

by Priyanka Sarkar, chemistry and biology graduate, India

Priyanka’s daily journal

Before focusing on any particular strategies, I want to emphasize that loving yourself is more important than anything on this list. Be your own cheering section and make sure you do that every day. Treat yourself with love and respect. If you do, others will, too. This phase tests your patience thoroughly but trusts me it ends (even though it may not seem like it) with you attaining wisdom. Now the coping strategies that helped me through depression.

1) Acknowledging and establishing a connection with my feelings

Generally, we … Read more...

Concrete strategies that helped me work through my teen depression

Desmond Herzfelder is a freshman at Harvard University majoring in applied math and visual art.

Note from Anne Moss: Kim O’Brien and I interviewed Desmond for our book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher’s Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. We asked several young adults who struggled as teens how they survived a dark period in their lives and the coping strategies they used to find their way out. This is Desmond’s thoughtful response.

by Desmond Herzfelder

1) Prioritizing my happiness!

This, above all else, made the difference for me.

2) Reaching out for help.

I cannot say … Read more...

Fifty thousand dollars!

Markel representative hands NAMI Executive Director, Kathy Harkey a check for $50,000.

I am a board member for NAMI Virginia and newly appointed fundraising chair. I did a panel event about mental health earlier this year, hosted by Markel Corporation employee Deborah and Mary A. Deborah told her mental health story for the first time and it was incredible and brave and her co-workers were in disbelief that the person they see as so together had struggled with addiction and mental health issues.

Later that year, Markel sponsored the NAMI virtual walk. I introduced Portia, one of the staff at … Read more...

Never is a dangerous word

Photo Credit: Metallica Through the Never Album Cover

We use this word when we are highly emotional. Or when we feel life has not treated us fairly.

“My son died and I’ll never get over it.”

“My daughter has relapsed so many times, she’ll never get her act together.”

“I’ll never fall in love again after my husband left me.”

“I’ll never get that promotion.”

“My life sucks and it will never get better.”

Besides being a self-fulfilling prophecy, it can make others feel hopeless and undermine their potential. But hey, you feel what you feel right?

You can do … Read more...

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

Many of us beat ourselves up about not doing enough or being enough. Or we allow someone else to imply we could do more.

What we fail to do is tell ourselves is that we are enough.

So while I often hear, “Meet others where they are.” My question to you is, “Are you meeting yourself where you are?”

Because if you are expecting yourself to make a million-dollar house out of ten dollars worth of plywood, you will disappoint yourself. You are creating unrealistic expectations that are bound to make you feel like a failure.

You should be your … Read more...

How important is self-care?

I remember thinking, “How can I possibly care for myself when I have no time?” I know now that I have to put my oxygen mask on before I put it on others. It was painful to learn that.

The times I decided to bag the support group and do something else meant I was giving up that which was working for me at a time when I needed it most. Those times you decide to meditate, go to yoga, take a hot bath, play golf, go for a run, allows you the break you need to refuel and gain … Read more...

It’s the helplessness

After Charles died, helplessness and I had a come-to-Jesus moment. I couldn’t make it budge, reverse engineer it, or even make it change its mind.

It stood stubbornly in its place reminding me that I couldn’t change the outcome. That I was a victim to the emotion to which I was now facing. I didn’t want to do grief. I wanted to back out of it. But it swept me away anyway. I had no choice.

Helplessness and I first met when a loved one started using drugs and alcohol as a teen. I couldn’t stop it, change the course, … Read more...

In April 2020, my life almost came to a halt

by Jessica Donovan Amend

Sitting in my bathroom, with my then fiancé asleep in our bedroom just a few feet away, I sat with tears streaming down my face. I literally fell to my knees praying that God would help me figure this out, help me through this agony that I felt so deeply in my soul.

Now I’m not going to say that YOU need to believe in God and I’m also not going to say that I know anything for certain, but what I do know is that this night, God showed up for me. That night I … Read more...

Coping strategies for extreme emotions

Whether you’ve lost someone you love, your are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or you are suffering under the weight of any extreme emotion, there are strategies for managing the tsunami.

Here are four responses to extreme emotion.

  • Change in temperature
  • Intense exercise
  • Paced breathing
  • Cheerleading

To employ any one of these strategies, you have to create a pause. That’s a mindfulness technique of stopping yourself and taking one deep breath. There are times in life you don’t have time for a deep breath.

Change in temperature

A change in temperature, usually cold actually has an effect on your body … Read more...