Hi there! I'm Mandy, the founder of The Self Soothe Box, and I'm so glad you're here!
The Self Soothe Box was founded in 2020 out of a desire to help others on their journey to better mental health, and first blossomed as a result of my own mental health journey.
Having struggled with severe emotional dysregulation from my early teens, it wasn’t until around early 2017 where I first sought out professional counsel. I sought out several different psychologists, and it wasn’t until July 2019 that I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I was very fortunate to secure a place in a group Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) program starting just one month later. As a result of these group sessions combined with one on one therapy, I was introduced to a number of tools and techniques in line with the four DBT principles; mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Self soothing techniques were taught early on as an important part of building distress tolerance. Finding ways to calm, distract, and keep negative emotions in check when you feel out of control can assist with de-escalating crisis situations. As self soothing is a technique that is completely individual (what works for one person may not work for another), we were provided with a list of self soothing activities to try, categorized by the five senses.
It was suggested that we create our own self soothe boxes; a box full of items that help us on an individual level, to comfort and nurture oneself whilst experiencing a crisis. Kept in a safe place eg. in the bedroom, the idea is that these items would be readily available during a time of need.
Whilst I found the techniques incredibly helpful, I found the process of gathering these items completely overwhelming. To be honest I had no idea what techniques would work best for me, or where to even start. I was unable to find anything to purchase off the shelf, or even any stores that stocked mental health related items for adults, and as a result I found myself wandering aimlessly around department stores looking for random items that might be of use. Fortunately, the shops were already stocked with goodies for Christmas, and I was able to find a few things in the Kris Kringle section of Kmart.
Those of you reading this who also suffer from a mental illness will know that even taking the first steps towards improving your circumstances can be exhausting and overwhelming, and it can be very easy to abandon ship when things get too tough. Looking back now I think if Kmart hadn’t brought the goods, there’s a very good chance I might have given up on the self soothe box idea entirely. Even with that in mind, after a few months of reflection and taking time to understand what self soothing techniques work best for me, I now realize that I spent an unnecessary amount of time, effort and money on this exercise.
And that my friends, is how the idea for The Self Soothe Box was born!