I’m sitting on the toilet, even though I flushed the toilet ten minutes ago. I’m sitting here staring at the bath mat wondering how I’m going to survive this. I broke up with my fiance a few days ago, and it feels like someone has reached into my chest and squeezed my heart until it burst. I feel numb and cold as if all the blood is draining from my body. But the truth is I’m just a dramatic girl in her twenties who needs to get off the toilet. Everybody goes through breakups, right? I have so much to do today, but I’m still sitting here for some reason. Is this going to be my whole day? Sitting here staring into space in shock? In a last-ditch effort, I open the Feel Stress Free app that I’ve been using.
I pick my mood, which is low, and click on the mood meter. It asks me to “describe the situation.” Several bubbles pop up. I choose “relationship problems” and “something bad that happened recently.” I’m feeling lonely and rejected. I’m thinking that I won’t be able to survive this. The purple bubbles fill the screen with alternative ways to think about my situation. Better ways. “I have coped in the past,” it says. “I have been like this before and managed.” I pick those bubbles and the dark cloud that has been following me for days is no longer sending hail over me. It’s raining, but I am putting on my jacket. I know how to deal with this. I remember now that it has rained before, and I got through it. I will get through this.
I’ve been using the Feel Stress Free app by Thrive for the past few weeks. It has helped me the most with cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring is basically monitoring your thoughts so that you might notice when you are catastrophizing, using emotional reasoning, or any other cognitive distortions. One of the things you can do is reframe your negative thoughts. It is one the most valuable and helpful coping skills I have learned, and the app walked me through relearning how to do it when I was having a rough few weeks.
The app has much more than that, though. After I pick my mood, the mood meter asks me questions about how I’ve been feeling and recommends coping strategies that I can use based on my answers. Feel Stress Free has four different coping skills that it will walk me through. Even as someone who knows about deep breathing and meditation, it’s a great resource because it reminds me what to do if I’m feeling upset and forget. The app is set up on islands that give me access to a zen garden and sending/receiving encouraging messages.
Overall, I recommend the app because the mood diary can help you track your progress. For example, when I go to a therapy appointment, I can pull up the app and see how many days have been good or bad days. I always think I’m going to remember when I go to my appointment, but I never do. And the way the app walks the user through cognitive restructuring and using the coping skills is really helpful. If you want to download the app or read more about it, go to their website.
- Every time I open the app, I have to log in. It made me use the app way less because of the hassle.
- When I open the app, it only shows on the landscape setting. If I turn my phone, the app won’t turn with me, if you know what I mean. I have an iPhone 6 plus, so having a huge phone makes it hard to type in my info when I have to log in.
- Relaxing music with wave sounds
- Beach theme
- The app walks me through how to do cognitive restructuring
- Informational videos
- Mood diary helps me track my progress
August B Pfizenmayer is the founder of Survival is a Talent. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager. She loves reading, sweets, and warm weather. A story about her life with a mental illness has been published in the next volume of The i’Mpossible Project. It is available for pre-order and will be in stores November 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.