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What I Put in My 'Life Basket' — the Tool That Saves Me When I’m Suicidal

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Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes my struggle with my mental illness has been so hard that I wanted to die. In fact, in the past I have come to that place of trying to kill myself. But, by the grace of God I have somehow made it through all those times, and I am still alive and moving forward.

Sometimes life is not so hard. It is in these better times in my mental health that I want to work on living. I wanted something that would help me live when I want to die.

So, I have made for myself a “Life Basket.” In this basket are things that help me when I start feeling down or even things that help when I just want to make my life a little happier in the moment. I think that the word “life” is an important focus for me.

life basket

Maybe you need a life basket also. These are the things I have included in mine.

1. Tissues

2. Prayer for help

3. Reminder to have cuddle time with my kitties

4. Self-soothing items using the five senses:

  • Smell
    • Calming essential oils (lavender)
    • Scented lotion (vanilla, sweet pea)
  • Touch
    • Thinking putty
    • Soft stuffed animal (a little cute teddy bear)
    • Worry stone (smooth and indented)
    • Bubbles for bath
    • Foot warmers and fuzzy socks
  • Hearing
    • Music list of favorite encouraging songs
    • Reminder to use meditation app
    • Noise-canceling head phones
  • Taste
    • Favorite candy
    • Cash to buy my favorite ice cream (Häagen Daz Caramel Cone)
    • Tea bags (calming chamomile)
  • Sight
    • Photos of beautiful places to imagine I am escaping to (tropical beach)
    • Photos of beautiful things that make me happy (flowers)
    • Photos of me with people whom I love
    • Photos of my kitties
    • Soft sleep mask

5. Things to do to focus my attention:

  • Small coloring book and colored pencils
  • Notebook to draw or write in
  • Fidget spinner (pink)
  • List of calming and fun places to go near where I live (the river, a park)
  • List of activities I enjoy doing or new things I want to try (floating, people watching)
  • My favorite book (“The Little Prince”)

6. Things to help my thoughts:

  • Kind notes from friends
  • Thank you notes from people I have helped
  • A list of things worth living for
  • The Bible
  • A list of comforting verses
  • Small book of prayers
  • Small gift from someone who loves me (a small elephant figurine from my sister)
  • Positive writings I have done about life and overcoming death and mental health struggles

7. My people (this is my favorite!):

  • List of phone numbers for people I trust that I can talk to including:
    • Husband
    • Pastor
    • Counselor
    • Friends who are like family
    • Mentor
    • Family
    • Friends

8. Emergency packet (if it gets too bad):

  • Emergency phone numbers
    • Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Primary Care Doctor
  • List of medications
  • Personal information
  • Insurance information
  • Mental health advanced directive
  • A bag to carry needed things from my Life Basket with me to a safe location (friend’s or family’s house, Emergency Room, etc…)

So, there it is. My Life Basket. I feel better already! What will you put in yours?

Header image via contributor

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Originally published: July 3, 2018
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