So, one of my skills from therapy that I use when my emotional intensity is very high is related to cold temperatures. In the past, I’ve gone in the lake, taken completely cold showers with all of my clothing on, put ice packs on my face while holding my breath, or stepped outside without a coat. Since the weather is getting colder (and I already run very warm), I’ve been prone to stepping outside without a coat or shoes for 5-10 minutes. The cold has a way of “resetting” my brain and lowering my emotional intensity.
So today, when I was feeling overheated and overwhelmed, I went outside with my leggings and t-shirt, climbed a tree, and just sat there in the cold, breathing in and out slowly. I was on my way to calming down when my grandma (who my aunt went and told I was sitting in a tree in the dark with no coat or shoes on) stepped out on the front porch and called out to me. She told me to come over and, because I didn’t want her walking out in the dark, I reluctantly and angrily climbed down out of the tree. My grandma told me to come inside and, too angry to explain why I was out without a coat and shoes, I did.
I then rode with my sister’s girlfriend to 7-11 to buy some cold beverages and had the window unrolled the whole way there. By the time I got back, I was calmer. I explained to my grandma the purpose behind the skill, apologized for being short with her, and went back upstairs to hang out with my two sisters and my sister’s girlfriend. It just made me realize that it’s important to share skills with family members if you don’t want them to think you’re a crazy go-out-in-freezing-weather-with-barely-any-clothes-and-climb-a-tree kind of a person.