Feel Safe and Happy Plan

Hello this is your Feel Safe and Happy Plan.

If you have been experiencing a highly emotionally turbulent time, I hope that by now you are aware that you deserve to feel positive emotions and to care about your well-being. The difficult experiences that happened to you can be transformed into a platform of great self-discovery and help you to gain quite a lot of more self-love. One needs always to take deliberate positive control of one’s life.

People and services available

Be aware that there will be always people that properly care and are available to talk to you at any time, and give you effective advice. In your life they might be a parent, sibling or a close friend. You can also contact the Child and Adolescent Service during 9:00-17:00, or Adult Mental Health Services or if out of hours A&E mental health colleagues on 999. You can also ring the ChildHelp Line on 0800 1111 to talk to a counsellor if you are under 18 years old at any time, or ring Samaritans who answers children and adults 24/7 on 116 123 free of charge.

Stopping Self-harm Strategies 

In case you experience the urge of hurting yourself which generally tends to occur because of deep sadness, disappointment or anger, try to remember to validate your emotions, instead of judging yourself. You might feel calmer if you jot down or doodle your emotions or even if you draw a diagram of your thinking style, what is promoting it and what more positive and alternative thoughts you want to experience. Generally, when we express and analyse what is going on in our minds we feel the vapour inside being released and consequently we expand our mind’s capacity. Think about the analogy of negative thoughts being cooked inside the mind by default. It is important that you try to protect yourself by taking charge and writing it all down.

Other possible strategies to alleviate anger, frustration or sadness is to engage in one or more of the following activities: 

– Making art and using colours, words and different materials (i.e. oils, acrylic, pastels, collage, clay, etc.) that reflect your current emotions and after you can make space in your art to introduce a positive and more self-caring words, thoughts or ideology. Both actions should take place for more efficacy. Feel free to use Google or Pinterest for inspiration!

– Listen to music or play music to soothe you. The vibration of the sound has a powerful calming impact and shifts the brain waves to better wave-frequency, in other words, thoughts and consequently emotions.

– Punch pillows or a punching bag, or do a bit of exercise to release tension such as martial arts, yoga, zumba, contemporary dance, hiking, etc. You will find free lessons on Youtube. 

– Watch a funny or interesting movie. 

– Write your experiences on your therapy journal and take it to your psychology sessions. Your therapist will be able to provide you positive insights and guide you to positive solutions.

– Talk to good friends, relatives or helplines if the above does not feel enough, and ring up CAMHS or A&E on out of hours 999 in case of great anxiety, depressive or suicidal ideas. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you require ringing the hospital, billions of people have done this and it is effective. If you are not being seen by a mental health practitioner ask your doctor how you can be referred to a service.

If you feel you are not good enough or have self-doubting thoughts… 

In this case, you ought to remember that you are meant to be unique and not a robot or a puppet. Real people have mixed emotions and dislike hateful, arrogant and corrupted  remarks. Real people desire to express themselves freely and to be OK when not knowing the right answer. The world is waking up to self-love and authenticity, thus the harsh social expectations of some people don’t make sense. If you feel less good about yourself, remember that when you are weak you are strong. Recognising our fragility and vulnerabilities is the way forward, and the authentic action. If you have a different view from everyone around you, though you experience it as being your core truth, this does not mean that your view is incorrect. Maybe it is brilliant and innovative, but some people are not courageous to embrace fantastic different idea because they have the habit to correspond to the expectations of individuals around them. Stick to your gut feeling, and adore your uniqueness. You will discover like-minded others that are striving to do the same or already doing it. Don’t despair you are not alone and remember that many great minds where initially deemed to be insane!

This analogy will support you further.

Imagine that you are an alien travelling in the cosmos in your fantastic and brand-new spaceship. You have 2 planets in front of you, the Planet I, and Planet Others. You can’t land on both planets at the exact same time, you got to choose. Which planet are you going to land on first? Who are you going to respond and prioritise first? Sketch this exercise as it can help you, it has helped me several times and still does. 

You can write and doodle inside the planet the things you love, your values and principles, and the support you have available. The purpose of this exercise is that you have a clear picture of how the brain can’t process two things at the same exact time, and when we try this things can go wrong because we can get confused in terms of who we should care for the most first. 

MOTTO: I need to care for myself, and value my learning and to take time to process reality around me without feeling pushed or criticised. I need to find out what is it that I most desire in this life and sustain that. In this way, we create space for unconditional self-love. 

What other ideas do you think that can help you?

Here’s some visual aid that has ideas that can help someone that is experiencing suicidal ideation or self-harm urges. Most of the time moments like this could be related to self-abandonment.

Unconditional Self-Love Approach to Suicidal Ideation by Dr Andreia Santo

I hope you found this Feel Safe and Happy Plan helpful.

Yours faithfully.

Dr Andreia Santo – Chartered Clinical Psychologist, Isle of Wight, July 2020.