Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coping Mechanisms

At my previous counseling session, my counselor asked me to make an inventory of all the coping mechanisms I have learned.  
At first, I did not think I had many.  
But over the last few days, I came up with a list.

1. Being in the moment.  When I start to thinking "what if" or I start finding myself re-living a sad or intense emotion, I have to bring myself back into the moment. 
I keep myself thinking about just today.  
Not yesterday.  Not tomorrow.  But just today.  

2.  Mindfulness.  It is something Roger tried to get me to try for three years.  And for three years I resisted.  
I am not sure why.  Stubbornness maybe.  
But I just concentrate on the one thing I can control - breathing.  
I concentrate on the things I can feel on my skin, the things I can hear, the things I can smell.  
Then I describe them in my head (sometimes out loud when I am alone) like I am describing them to someone else.  

3.  Venting with someone.  It has to be someone who is non-judgmental.  
I still have crazy thoughts.  Like "Why the hell did you leave me?"  
Roger knew all my issues with abandonment.  Which is probably why he showed me the support system I have before he died but still.

4.  Taking a walk/jog.  Endorphins have an amazing way of making me feel better.
Or maybe it is the fresh air.  
Or making it is a good place to do #2.  
The crazy thing, like most people and exercise, sometimes I do not want to even do it.  
Even though, I know I will feel better.

5.  A hot shower.
I know a bath should be the same effect but it does not help me most of the time.  I end up more stressed or sad because I can think too much.  In a shower, I am at least able to do some breathing, crying, or just concentrate on the water.

6.  Run cold water over my hands.
I have known this trick for a while.  It actually calms me very quickly.  
I use it when I am out and need a quick solution.  

7.  Feeling pretty.
I find that if I dress up and/or do my makeup, I look good and then feel good.  
And I seem to get male attention.  And even in small doses, it seems to make me feel better.  

8.  Planning fun activities. 
I have to give myself fun things to look forward to.  And it can be simple.
Like dinner with friends.  A new activity.  Happy Hour.  Just something.  Something to distract me.  

9.  Getting touched.
I now have a membership to a massage place.  It is awesome.  I ask for a male therapist and practice more of #2.  
I love the physical contact.  
And it is very necessary.  It also is just good to get the muscles stretched.  

10.  Hobbies.
I took up photography and writing.  This writing really helps get my thoughts out.  I enjoy it.  But it is also therapeutic in knowing I am creating something positive for myself and others.  The photography hobby gives me the ability to create pretty things.  And again, I enjoy the positive feedback.  

I have to have this list as August approaches.
It almost feels like August is a freight train I can hear coming.  
I try not to focus on it.
I try to ignore the sound of the oncoming train but I feel like its just around the bend.
And its scary.  So I am trying to brace myself.  
Will the train miss me?
Or will it knock me over?  

Only time will tell.
But at least in the mean time, I have some armor.  

1 comment:

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

How wise. You have excellent resources, brilliant girl.
I wish I could prevent August.
I mean, last August.
I was worried about the first anniversary too, but since I had a lot of support, that did help and it was not so bad.