ICE Box

Last Updated: 8 Sep 2020
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After a hospital stay back in 2010, I spent a few weeks in an outpatient program.  We worked daily on developing tools and skills to better cope with challenges in daily life.  One of the ideas we discussed was the idea of an ”ICE (In Case of Emergency) Box”.  The idea is to have a literal box or drawer with items that might be useful at the onset of a depressive episode.  Often when we are in the throws of depression, we have a difficult time thinking of or reaching for things that we may find comforting, encouraging or inspiring.

Here are a few suggested items for your ICE Box:

Inspirational Music:  Is there an album or artist that always puts you in a good mood, or takes you to a good place mentally?  Make a copy of your favorite cd, or create an mp3 mix for these occasions.

Letters from a friend:  When you’re in a good place, write a letter to your depressed self of things you’d like to remember, and truths you’d like to keep in perspective.  Consider having a loved one write you a letter to open on a “rainy day”.

Favorite scent:   The sense of smell can be relaxing or invigorating.  Perhaps include a scented candle or essential oil to lift your spirits.

Contact list:  In addition to your mental health team (psychiatrist, counselor, general practitioner, clergy, etc.), have on hand a list of the folks who have told you “if you ever need me, call.”  Don’t second guess yourself with worries about being burdensome.  Give yourself permission to make the call.

Those are just a few.  What would you include in YOUR “ICE box”?  Please share below.

About the author
Jon Press is a husband and father living in the Chicago suburbs. He holds a BA in Religion, an MA in Christian Education, is certified in Mental Health First Aid, and has taken several graduate level courses towards a Masters degree in Community Counseling. He was first diagnosed with Bipolar I in college (1989). After many seasons of depression and (hypo)mania, his diagnosis was later revised to Bipolar II (2002). Following a hospitalization in 2010, he became fiercely committed to his own recovery and connecting with others in the bp community. Jon was featured on the “This is Me” page in the Winter 2012 Edition of bp Magazine. He facilitates a depression, bipolar, and anxiety support group in the Chicago area called Fresh Hope. He is delighted to be a part of the bphope blogging team. In sharing personal stories and experiences, his goal is to foster community by challenging, educating, and inspiring positive change.

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