I have struggled with anxiety since high school.
As I’ve learned recently, it can get really bad sometimes — especially due to my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety triggers.
Lately, my anxiety has resulted in panic attacks in social settings and insomnia at nights brought on by a fear of nightmares.
That’s why I’ve taken to carrying around a mental health crisis kit.
It’s always good to be prepared, and in my case, that means being equipped with the tools I need to prevent an oncoming attack or help treat one that’s already happening.
My crisis kit includes:
- Aromatherapy diffuser pens
- Eucalyptus oil
- Fidget cube and tangle
- Mascara and eyebrow pencil (in case I start picking at my hair)
- Tums (because sometimes anxiety gives me stomach problems)
- Chapstick (so I don’t pick at my dry skin)
- Tylenol or tension-headache Excedrin
- Hand sanitizer
- Hard candy (so I don’t bite my nails)
- Poetry book, journal, bullet journal (which has crisis plans in it)
That seems like a lot, right?
But it’s not — I fit most of my items in a small pencil pouch, so it rarely takes up room. I am a student, and all of the items easily fit in my backpack.
It’s important to know this is what works for me.
When I am having a panic attack or am triggered, it is important to have my eyedrops and tissues for when I start crying and oils for when I need to ground myself.
I carry my journal because I want to log my emotions in the moment. The bullet journal, admittedly my work in progress, has my crisis plans for when I feel a panic attack. I also write poems, and sometimes certain moments help me write.
Personally, I recommend people carry mental health crisis kits, especially if you experience any anxiety or PTSD or panic attacks.
You can even make one for depression. The key is including what helps you.
I told you what I keep in mine as a suggestion, and it has really helped me through tough times. I could be sitting in class, getting all of my anxious energy pooling up and my tangle helps me. But maybe you’ll include a happy photo to stave off depressive episodes or a note from a friend that reminds you to stay grounded.
Whatever helps you make it through the day — a crisis kit can help make sure you have it on hand whenever you need it.
This story originally appeared on The Mighty and is reprinted here with permission.