BOOTLEG BLOG

A large set of coping tools for those who are struggling.

If you have any suggestions or general comments the chat page is always open!

Always remember to check the basics!
Are you hungry? When did you last eat?
Are you thirsty? When did you last drink water?
What hour is it? Do you need sleep?
Have you been in one spot for too long?
Have you showered yet?

Our body's needs directly affect our psyche, it's always good to take care of yourself.

Grounding
Tools for both panic attacks and potentially dissociative
episodes as well.

Breathing Exercise The classic, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth completely and slowly. However what I do personally I inhale through my nose completely, hold my breath for 5 seconds and then exhale. That's personally helped me a lot more than simple breathing exercise.
There is also the 4-7-8 rule version where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds.
If you're struggling to keep a rhythm there's a circle you can follow on Google! Just look up "breathing exercise".
333 Rule When in a state of panic, identify 3 objects, 3 sounds, and move 3 body parts, this idealy is meant to ground yourself and take mental control from your anxiety.
Example: You're about to have a panic attack in your room, I'll be using my room as an example. So you identify 3 things you can see, Banette plush, drawing tablet, Tails Nine figure. 3 sounds you can hear, the YouTube video I'm watching, the fan, my boyfriend snoring. And move 3 body parts, stretch my hands, roll my neck, roll my shoulders.
Color Hunting Pick a color and describe to yourself each object you can find of said color out loud to yourself. I'm not sure where I found this however I very frequently use it to ground myself from dissociation and panic attacks.
Example: You're starting to dissociate or about to have a panic attack, choose a color, I personally pick purple or pink when I'm indoors and green or red when I'm outdoors. Say I'm outside I'll say outloud to myself "green grass, tall tree, green car, green building" so on so forth, sometimes changing color, and usually it helps me ground myself.
Meditation Though it's definitely not for everyone, there's a reason why it's recommended so much. I recommend doing your own research to find a form of meditation that works for you, because there is much more than what you may traditionally think!
The method I typically do, since I can't always just sit down and close my eyes in public, I focus on how my breath physically feels without outright controlling it, how it feels filling my lungs, going out, how long it is, etc.

Expressing
Letting out your emotions is one of the healthiest things you can do for your mental health, here's a couple methods of doing so.

Talking to a friend. If you have a friend you feel comfortable talking about your problems to and that can support you is always the best option.
Something I suggest is to clearly communicate whether or not you want advice or if you simply wanna let some emotions out, some people struggle being able to tell what exactly they're 'supposed' to do when a friend vents to them.
It's also healthy to keep bounderies, if that person says they don't feel emotionally there that day and they can't, then listen to them. They still love and care for you, they just need to take care of themselves first. That's why it's good to have multiple methods.
Journalling Pen and paper, digitally, whatever suits you best. Journalling and keeping a diary can be an extremely good way to express your emotions when you're not able to for other reasons.
Don't worry about how coherent your diary entries are, that's something I've notice make people stuck, you're most likely the only person who will see it (unless you want to show it to your therapist maybe.) I mean most of mine look like incoherent nonsense and probably would concern the average person, what matters most is getting the emotions out.
Kind Words Kind Words is a game(if you can call it that.) Where you send letters to real people and send support to them about their problems, along side sharing your problems and struggles as well.
I've been using it for years now and it's been incredibly helpful through my mental health journey, the moderation is top notch so it's extremely rare for any assholes to get through.
You can purchase it here on steam, it's only 5 USD, and the devs are working on a sequal with even more stuff so I'd love for them to get the support they need.
Drawing This is one I always strongly suggest, even if you're not an artist, not a single creative bone or skill in your body, art therapy can be extremely helpful. Sometimes you have a lot of emotions to get out but words simply fail you, this is where art comes in. You don't need words, simply visualizing how you are internally feeling can do wonders. It doesn't need to look good, all that matters is how it helps you.

Physical
It's no secret that physical activity can greatly improve someone's mental health if used healthily. Always remember that exercise is a tool to better yourself, not to become more 'appealing' to the people around you.

Walking Old reliable, finding the nearest park and just going on a simple walk can do wonders. It's not too physically taxing yet it's still extremely good for you both mentally and physically.
If you struggle from social anxiety I suggest going on walks in parks on weekdays such as Wednesday or Thursday when it's typically less populated.
Boxing/using a punching bag If you struggle with anger for one reason or another, this is an extremely good method of regulation. Even if you can't afford a punching bag you can do shadow boxing where you punch the air.
Anger is a normal result of both sadness and anxiety, there is nothing wrong with having anger problems and you should never feel shame for seeking help for it.
Yoga Though I don't do it anymore I did a lot of yoga when I was younger in order to regulate my anxiety.
If you suffer from social anxiety you don't need to join a Yoga group, there's multiple videos on the internet for you to follow.

Sensory
This is ideally for those who have Autism, some forms of ADHD(omg hi) and Sensory Processing Disorder. But I feel like including this is both important for normalization and that you can still experience sensory overload at times even without a condition that causes increased sensory sensitivity.

Sensory blockers Items like sunglasses and earplugs can be extremely helpful for regulating sensory difficulties.
Remember there's nothing wrong with having to wear sunglasses indoors if you're particularly sensitive to light, if being are judgemental of you that's their problem not yours.
For hearing there's a couple things I can recommend, I personally use regular headphones and earbuds both because music keeps me calm, but other methods include classic foam earplugs, sensory reduction headphones, and Loop's earplugs(I really want a pair but I still haven't gotten them.)
Another one that I feel like I could count is wearing physically comfortable clothing, no fabric you find uncomfortable.
Sensory Tools There's many different methods of regulating sensory processing difficulties such as stimming(physical repetitive self soothing behaviors) which needs to be more normalized, but there's also physical tools in the form of fidget toys and similar items!

Wearable fidgets and sensory items are a really useful tool when out in public. There's a lot of textured and spinning rings, chewable jewlery, and much more! I personally use a zipper necklace from the small business Stimmables and lovesomegear's anxiety beaded bracelet

For desk fidgets, there's a large variety of different kinds to choose from, it's all about experimenting, what I suggest is either browsing amazon or supporting the small business happyflappystims, they have an extremely large variety to choose from. My personal favorites are wacky tracks and marble mesh.

Videos
A set of several videos I feel like could be important or helpful for people.

8 Unexpected Ways We Self-Harm & How to Stop

Is this your real personality? 5 Childhood Trauma Personalities

Boundaries and Taking Up Space: How To Be a Better Balloon

A Test to Judge How Good Your Parents Were

I have "High Functioning" Autism | AUTISM IN GIRLS

Not Stimming is MORE dangerous than you think...

Other
Other coping tools that don't fit into any other categories.

Setting healthy bounderies If you're a people-pleaser type this is always a hard one, I'm personally a former people-pleaser that sometimes falls back into old habbits, so setting healthy bounderies with ones you interact with are extremely important.

If someone makes you uncomfortable always verbalize it, gently but firmly. There's many instances where someone could be completely unaware they're making you uncomfortable and there's no way for them to know unless you tell them, it's uncomfortable but it's better than you gritting your teeth and leaving them oblivious.

If someone tries to get you to do something you don't want to do and don't have a single reason to do, remember you can always say no, a good person won't force you to do something you don't want to do.

"What if they get angry?"
Communicate it out, ask them why it upsets them, if they say something like "you're supposed to" or "because I said so" or something similar then maybe that isn't a person you want around. Communication is key to healthy relationships.


Also of course, use nuance. One singular clash with a friend who broke bounderies, especially bounderies that were never verbally communicated to them, isn't always a great sign to instantly cut them off. Remember to respect other peoples' boundaries as well, your bounderies shouldn't make someone feel like they have to tip toe around things when talking to you. Always remember, communication is key. You can't guarantee what someone knows or understands if it's never directly verbally stated to them.
Distractions There are times where you're in an emotional state of distress without much of a reason or cause, and in moments like this it's perfectly fine to indulge in something to make you think about something else.
Such as a TV show you enjoy, video games, music. Allow yourself to enjoy it and you'll feel better afterwards, you aren't denying your emotions, sometimes this is just the best method to calm yourself and destress.
Making your room a safe-space Something I've learned recently is that it's always good to make your room your safe-space. Psychology speaking your brain subconciously registers your room as "sleep area", so it's best to avoid working in your bedroom or else you won't work as well or won't sleep as well. This place is supposed to be your comfort room, your place of safety, you are safe there, so make it nice and comfortable. Let it game you happy.

Method Against Physical Self Harm (TW)
Methods to help resist the urge to cause physical harm to yourself when in a state of distress. Self harm is something that needs to be taken more seriously and not just seen as "oh they're just seeking attention." Even if they are seeking attention, if you're so hungry for attention you cause physical harm to yourself then I feel like that should still be taken seriously.

Like most addictions it can't simply be stopped, here's some methods to try to replace it.

Slap Bracelets This is the most common alternative I see from therapists, and it's pretty self explanatory, the only hesitation I have with it is the fact that slap bracelets do have the tendancy to cause actual physical damage, but for starting your recovery journey it seems like an extremely solid one.
Ducktape This is the most common alternative I see from people who have recovered from self harm, placing pieces of ducktape along your arm and quickly rip them off to simulate self harm without causing active harm to one's self. Like the slap bracelets this one also has chance to cause actual harm, however it's miles better than cutting into your arm.
Ice Cubes Probably the lowest risk alternative however I see it less frequently as the other two, taking an ice cube and placing or rubbing it against your arm. This can also be used as a method of calming a panic attack from some sources.
Did you know? Medication is an extremely important treatment for mental health and other mental disorders. There is nothing wrong with having to rely on medication in order to exist peacefully, some people simply have to in order to survive. If you don't have any problems with people wearing glasses then you shouldn't have any problems with someone taking medication for their mental health.