The “Tap Out”
What is it? Two taps of the hand “tap tap”
When do you use it? In an anxiety, stress, or fear situation.
How do you use it? You can tap out on your own, to give yourself permission to leave a place or situation. Or you can use it with a friend, or romantic partner to put things on hold.
On My Own
For me, if I tap out in public… that means that I need to leave as soon as physically possible. I may walk out of a meeting, or the grocery store (leaving my selections behind) or maybe it means that I pay for dinner and go. The tap out gives me a way to leave a situation without having to hash out WHY I need to go.
This helps me with two things: 1) That I don’t have to justify the feelings that I’m having; I have the right to stay or leave based only on that. 2) That I am back in control of my own self, that I get to decide.
With a Partner
The tap out also works in romantic or sexual situations. There have been lots of times that though I wanted something in the beginning, as things progressed I got ‘in over my head.” Because of many past experiences, it has taken a long time for me to be vocal about what I honestly want and need. The tap out is a safe way to say “No, I’m not ready yet” or “I changed my mind” or “I don’t want that.”
When I tap out in a romantic situation, I like to be given a little space to breathe but I don’t like to be left alone. It is my job to explain that to my partner. Make sure to adjust the tap out for your specific needs.
Not an Excuse
Lastly, communication is key. The tap out isn’t an excuse to avoid a conversation about your feelings. It is to be used to avoid escalating a situation. It is important that once you are composed that you have an open an honest conversation about what happened, to the best of your ability.
Counting to 10
Believe it or not, counting to 10 has been one of my most valuable coping skills. I remember the first time I tried it I felt like a child. And like most coping skills I didn’t think it would work.
But whether you count up or down, using this skills does a few things
- It buys you some time
- Gives you a chance to slow down
- Reminds you to breathe
- Lets you take a break from the situation
I’ve used this skill when I’m angry, when I’ve had flashbacks, and when I’ve wanted to ‘act out.”
There are lots of ways to keep yourself on track, safe and sober. Stay posted for more skills 🙂