How can I cope right now? 

If you feel suicidal 

Our page on suicidal feelings includes practical tips on what you can do right now to help yourself cope. If you don’t feel able to keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help: 

  • call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department 
  • call The Samaritans Hong Kong (multilingual hotline: 2896 0000) or The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong (Chinese hotline: 2389 2222) 
  • ring your doctor or out of hours service for an emergency appointment 
  • For more information view our “Find Help Now” page.

“I never feel safe, so building a sanctuary or finding a relaxing place to visit alone (such as a little bench in a park) can really help [me] feel secure.” 

Trauma can cause strong feelings and difficult experiences. While it can take time and support to be able to cope, there are things you can try that might help with what’s happening right now. 

“I write… I find it helps to put the memories and flashbacks into words. It makes them feel less frightening and overwhelming.” 

Here are some ideas that you could try to see if they work for you. Different things work at different times for different people, so try to be kind to yourself if some things don’t help. Over time, you might develop your own tips to add to this list too. 

If you’re having flashbacks 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • tell yourself that you are safe 
  • touch or hold an object that reminds you of the present 
  • describe your surroundings out loud 
  • count objects of a particular type or colour. 

See our page on self-care for PTSD for more tips.

If you’re having panic attacks 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • breathe slowly in and out while counting to five 
  • stamp on the spot 
  • taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum 
  • touch or cuddle something soft. 

See our page on panic attacks for more tips.

 If you’re feeling dissociative or spaced out 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • chew a piece of ginger or chili 
  • clap your hands and notice the stinging sensation 
  • drink a glass of ice cold water. 

See our page on self-care for dissociative disorders for more tips.

If you’re feeling anxious, frightened or on edge 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • make yourself a hot drink and drink it slowly, noticing the taste and smell, the shape of the mug and its weight in your hand 
  • take ten deep breaths, counting each one out loud 
  • write down everything you can think of about where you are right now, such as the time, date, colour of the walls and the furniture in the room 
  • take a warm bath or shower – this can help change your mood by creating a soothing atmosphere and a distracting physical sensation. 

See our page on self-care for anxiety for more tips. 

“Certain smells trigger me, such as alcohol or a certain colour. So for sensory grounding I make sure that I use non-triggering things.” 

If you’re feeling sad, depressed or lonely 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • wrap up in a blanket and watch your favourite TV show 
  • write all your negative feelings on a piece of paper and tear it up 
  • listen to a song or piece of music you find uplifting 
  • write a comforting letter to the part of yourself that is feeling sad or alone 
  • cuddle a pet or a soft toy. 

See our page on self-care for depression for more tips. 

If you want to self-harm 

What you could do to get through it: 

  • rub ice over where you want to hurt yourself 
  • stick sellotape or a plaster on your skin and peel it off 
  • take a cold bath. 

See our page on helping yourself cope with self-harm for more tips. 

“Music always helps me. Lying down with my headphones on and blocking out the world is the best way [for me] to stop panic/overthinking.” 

“Journalling helps me process stuff when my hands let me. I had a lot of flashbacks when [my] hubby passed […] so I wrote it out […]. Didn’t matter what I wrote […] just meant I could say to my head, you wrote it down, you don’t have to keep going over it to remember it… You can choose what to do with it later, shred it, burn it safely […] whatever feels right in the moment.”

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