Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Anxious Fran | What's In My 'EAK'?

What is an EAK I hear you ask? 

It is safe to say I am a well prepared (ok, slightly over prepared) lady who is ready for most eventualities and my EAK, also known as my 'emergency anxiety kit', is something that I carry round with me in my handbag, or rucksack (who am I kidding, I am a rucksack girl) at almost all times. It is full of items that I use on those occasions when anxiety or panic strike and I am least expecting it. 

|Rucksack from FJÄLLRÄVEN; Kånken Mini in Deep Red.|

I have had several enquiries about what I turn to during these desperate times, and as a follow up to my 'coping mechanisms' video I thought I would provide a more detailed list of EAK items. Some of the items listed will be perfectly "normal" things for a 27 year old woman to be carrying round & some of them might be a bit 'individual'. Regardless of opinion these are the items that make ME feel comfortable...

1. The EAK; the actual bag I use to store all of the above in, is a really old makeup bag from BenefitI never actually carry makeup around with me, so it ended up being used as my EAK instead. I got this bag when I was 17, so I highly doubt you can get it anymore; but any old makeup bag or pencil case will do. As long as it fits in your bag, it serves its purpose. The only time I do not have this with me is when I am out in the evening with a smaller bag (e.g a clutch); then I will only take what I deem to be the most important items.

2. First Aid Kit; this small Parisian themed purse was gifted to me as a child, and should be used for change, but is instead crammed full of useful items such as: 

  • Plasters (standard - I think lots of people have these in their bag?).
  • Alcohol prep pads (to go with the plasters, what can I say, I am clumsy!).
  • Lens wipes (often when I panic I cry... and I wear glasses. If you cry and have glasses on... it gets messy).
  • A sachet of Dioralyte (anxiety and panic attacks can cause awful diarrhoea, I always have Dioralyte in case I need to rehydrate asap).
  • 2x 500mg Paracetamol (again, a perfectly normal thing to find in someone's bag. I rarely take these, but find they help ease my stress headaches if I am going to be out of the house for a little while).
  • 2x 150mg Ranitidine (Heartburn is a side effect of my anxiety, the doctor prescribes this for me - it is a simple acid blocker).
  • 2x 2mg Diazepam (Again these are prescribed for me, and I only use these if I know the symptoms of my anxiety are not going to eliviate themselves any time soon and I am not going to be home or in a "safe place" for a while).
  • 2x Cold and flu capsules
  • Nail clippers (These are more of a practical addition, but can be used along side the nail file at #11).
  • 2 tampons (guys might not have to worry about their period arriving at any old time, but we women do.)
If I use anything from the list above I will replace it straight away. Knowing that I have all of these things on me allows me to relax when I am out. A lot of it, as useful as it may be, is just another coping mechanism; it's amazing how much you can fit in one tiny purse though? Right.

3. Invisibobble; when I get anxious, or have a panic attack, my face and neck get VERY warm quite quickly. I always make sure I have a hair tie to hand and I only ever use invisibobbles because they are kinder to your hair. I literally have tons of these little things springing around in my room and in my EAK.

4. Ear Plugs; on occasions background noise can really affect my anxiety levels. A noisy carriage on a train, for example, can really set me up to be on high alert; I also struggle with noises waking me up in the night. For those reasons I carry a pair of foam ear plugs with me at all times, so I can block out any sounds that may be upsetting me. Ear plugs, like invisibobbles, are another item that I seem to have a lot of in my room.

5. iPhone Charger; I feel like it goes without saying that I carry my phone with me at all times. Less for social contact, but more in case I need to call someone in an emergency (e.g. a panic attack). Therefore I carry a charger with me always, dead battery = super Anxious Fran.

6. Diary; this little book has several purposes. It allows me to write down my working hours, what meds I have taken each day and any social commitments I have coming up. I also have a page of 'important numbers' that I have written up inside and I doodle in it when I am stressed and if I can't get my hands on any paper. 

7. Compact Mirror; veryyyy handy to have post panic (when your face can look a tad flustered *polite version*). I have one or two of Emily Coxhead's "You're Doing Great" vinyl stickers stuck to my compact, in a bid to perk me up a little/boost my confidence when I am faced with a mirror. The stickers also act as a bit of a reminder to myself that "I can do it" and by do it... I mean any bloody damn thing I want.

8. Chewing Gum; I mentioned in my coping mechanisms video that chewing gum really helps me when I am anxious. My jaw tends to get stiff and/or lock, so chewing stops me from grinding my teeth and helps prevent my jaw from locking.

9. iPhone Headphones; I prefer over the ear earphones, but always carry a pair of Apple earphones around in my EAK, just in case I don't have my usual pair with me. I would normally opt for earphones over #4's ear plugs when I am out. If I am getting anxious I listen to music, podcasts or even call people (the ability to talk without holding my hand to my head is a god send mid panic attack as anything to do with dexterity seems to evade me).

10. Lip balm; I subconsciously bite my lips when anxious, so they get chapped really easily; I therefore always have at least one lip balm in my bag.

11. Nail file; I mentioned in my coping mechanisms video that doing my nails is something that really distracts me from my anxiety. I don't always think it is appropriate to whip out a stinky nail varnish in public, so I carry a nail file with me instead. It literally takes me 5 minutes of filing and I tend to have forgotten what I am panicking about and begin to calm down.

12. Rescue Remedy; A mouth spray comprised of Flower Essences in a grape alcohol solution; this stuff is designed to be naturally calming in emotionally demanding times. It is a product that I have used for YEARS in a variety of forms. I tend to use Bach's spray nowadays, but have also used their pastilles and liquid droppers at points. I very much believe that Rescue Remedy Spray works as a placebo, but it is however a product that really soothes me when I am stressed.

13. Oil Rollette; I posted a picture a week or so back, on my Instagram, of my new oil rollette. It was a gift from my Aunt a few months back and it has slowly become something I use on a daily basis. Filled with beautiful smelling oils, it is designed to be rolled across your pulse points. I tend to use it when I feel anxiety creeping into my day & I have found it works a treat. I see the rollette much like I see my rescue remedy, a placebo that genuinely helps me to calm down.

14. Hand Cream; an OCD tendancy of mine is that I wash my hands all the time (and I use a lot of #15), so they get incredibly dry. It is really important therefore, that I restore some of the moisture that I wash away. I also use my lip balm (#10) to deep moisturise my knuckles from time to time.

15. Antibacterial Hand Gel; I always get clammy hands when I am nervous. I also spend a lot of time fiddling with random objects and playing with my fingers (two things I do a lot of them extremely anxious) and as a result I need to (or want to) wash my hands quite often. It is not always possible to wash my hands there and then, so I carry round my antibacterial hand gel to freshen up my anxious clammy hands when necessary.

16. Pen(s); This photo contains one, but inside my EAK there are probably more like four. Used for stress doodling, I always carry a pen so that I can scribble down my worries and fears.

The above is evidence of the fact that a crazy lady like me can fit a lot of things into one, small, makeup bag. The items inside my EAK vary from time to time, and I will update my blog with any new additions that come along. 

Please remember that all of these are things that I feel help ME in times of stress, anxiety and panic. They are not a necessity and many of them have multiple purposes; some of which are actually considered to be pretty "normal". 

If you haven't already seen my video on coping mechanisms then click ... here.

Fran x