I think that’s going to be my new phrase.
I hadn’t thought of this as a strategy before, but it was suggested to me on Tuesday (with marbles, but I couldn’t find any) so I thought I would try it. So I now have two jars sitting on my desk. One starts full of buttons and, as I get anxious, I decant some of the buttons into the other jar. So the buttons move between jars depending on how I’m feeling.
So far it’s been pretty effective (although obviously I haven’t been doing it very long). It forces me to think about how anxious I am in order to move an appropriate number of buttons between the jars. And, by forcing me to think, it also forces me to focus – which is the critical thing for me. It’s also a visual prompt for me to go and use my other strategies to calm down when the buttons fall to a certain level.
The idea is that it should make it easier to avoid meltdowns, as I’m identifying and handling my anxiety earlier.
Of course, there will be times – like today – when something happens and makes me so anxious or overwhelmed so quickly that the strategy won’t work. That’s when I need help – although today’s episode wasn’t anywhere near as bad as ones I’ve had previously, so maybe the buttons are helping a bit with that, too. But hopefully those occasions should become less frequent.
So I actually feel a lot better at the end of the week than I did at the start. I hope that continues – I really don’t want another weekend like last weekend.
(But I do have a confession. I lied earlier. I actually have three jars on my desk. The third currently contains chocolate eggs. Nothing to do with anxiety or autism; I just like chocolate and the jars came in a pack of 3…)