The acronym that saves my life.

I never thought I’d be one of those acronym people.  The closest I’ve come to remembering anything of the sort, up until now is, Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.  Which, technically, isn’t an acronym, but helps me stay focused when I have something big ahead of me.
H.A.L.T. however, has saved my life.
H.A.L.T. stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired.  These are trigger emotions or feelings that can cause someone with severe depression and anxiety to participate in toxic activities.  Toxic activities are things that take away from your mental well-being, that steal from your equilibrium and make your mental state worse.  So H.A.L.T. helps me to stop, just for a minute, and determine what state my mind is in and adjust my day accordingly.
When my head starts to spin and I feel a little out of control, I stop, and ask myself am I hungry? Am I angry? Am I lonely? am I tired? If I answer yes to any of these questions, I need to be careful how I engage my day.  Keep away from too much caffeine, stay off social media and try not to have too many social engagements.  These are all things that help me to cope when my depression gets triggered.  These are MY ways of buffering myself, through careful diagnosis with my Clinical Psychologist,  we have seen what works for my personality, my life situation and my mental coping ability.  These things I’ve mentioned can be different for everyone, but the acronym helps you stop and assess where you’re at.

H.A.L.T. acronym

I’ve made it into a little visual reminder on my kitchen cupboard, right above the kettle, and next to my calendar, so I can see it all the time.  So I don’t forget, and let life overtake me.  There are other practices that can help to buffer you against depression and it’s side effects, some of them are:

  • Quality sleep
  • Supplementation (including medication)
  • Social support
  • Setting limits for yourself
  • Being grateful
  • Seeking after Joy
  • Spiritual community and connection

The seeking after Joy point is particularly good, I had to make a list of 6 things that bring me joy, things that fill my tank and fill up my soul.  I have a little token with these six things written on it, also placed somewhere I can see it to remind me of those things and to participate in at least one of them every day.  This may prove to be challenging with some of them (Walking, Bird Watching and Learning), but I will find a way to make it work because these are things that fill my soul.
There is a basic quadrant description with all the 12 things that help your stress buffering ability, whether you have depression or not, and I wish everyone could hear it explained, cause it is life changing to have a resource like this at your disposal for every day life.  I will see if I can get permission to post it on the blog next week!
Have a fabulous weekend!


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