Bi Polar Disorder Type I. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
1. Fan- Due to my conditions, I don't sleep very well. I get hot easily at night, so until it is deep winter I sleep with the window open and the fan blowing. I can only sleep naked due to sensory issues so the fan also keeps me cool through night sweats (due to nightmares).
2. 2 pens- I keep pens everywhere because I write lists. My memory is too poor to keep track of all my appointments and obligations. If I have a thought that is important, I write it down, or it will be lost forever.
3. Medications-The bottle with the label is my emergency medication valium. If I am having a panic attack I lie down and take one. I try to use them sparingly because they are addictive, and cause me to be agitated if I use them too much. The other bottle is what I keep my night meds in. I take five medications at night, and two medications and a host of vitamins in the morning. Since I take so many medications I always have pill bottles lying around, so I recycle them into essentially "shot glasses" (I swallow all my pills at once, years of swallowing pills has made me an expert).
4. 1 Book- The Ragmuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.
5. 1 Water bottle- I overheat and dehydrate easy, so I keep a water bottle with me at all times. I got this one so I don't have to sit up to drink (due to the fancy straw and nozzle). Sometimes I am too tired or depressed to even sit up.
6. 1 box of Q-tips- I have sensory issues with my ears feeling waxy. I keep lots of q-tips around, I go through them quickly.
7. Hairbands-I am usually not feeling well enough to do my hair, so to keep it from bothering me I brush it and put it back into a ponytail.
8. Tylenol & Excederin-I use these medications a lot, hence why I have the large bottles. Anxiety, stress, depression all cause physical symptoms, like headaches and muscle aches. When I hurt, I lie down and take a dose of either of them to help me.
9. Paper- To write lists on.
10. Vitamins (underneath)- I keep vitamins in mass, as I take them just as regularly as my medications, and insurance doesn't cover the cost. The most affordable way long term to get vitamins is to buy in bulk.
11. 1 Box-
"Happy Box": My best friend really cares about me, but she doesn't have a mental illness so she doesn't understand things like depression and mania. A few years back she gave me the wooden box (it was just a plain box at the time) and said it was a "happy box". She told me to put things in it that made me happy. She had already put things in it like glow in the dark bubbles and crayons and coloring books and tea. And while those things are nice, and I appreciated that my friend wanted to help, it left me a little offended. When you are in the middle of an episode, no amount of bubbles or coloring pages are going to make you feel better. I knew she didn't know that, but mental illness is more complicated than whether you are "happy" or not. So, after a few years of letting the box sit and collect dust I took it out and decorated it with paint and flower stickers (the happiest thing I could think of at the time) and put my medications inside. If there's one tool I use to keep myself "happy", it is medications. Without medications I cannot function in normal society. I think seeing that I had repurposed the "happy box" into a medication box left my friend a little disappointed and frustrated, but it is a reminder to myself that I am the best judge of what I need to maintain my illness. My illness is invisible but it is just as real as anything else, and you wouldn't give a diabetic glow-in-the-dark bubbles to treat their condition.