Monday, March 28, 2011

Ruining My Coping Strategies

Ruining my coping strategies

I made a resolution awhile ago that I was going to work on facing things instead of coping with them. This may seem like minute point, but basically I decided that for me, facing things meant living with them while coping meant dealing with them.
Still confused? Let me see if I can explain. There are many things in my life that I simply deal with, or better yet, I ignore them and hope they will go away or at least the feelings surrounding them will ease. These aren’t even all necessarily bad things: I have recently discovered that I am as freaked out by incredibly good feelings as I am by bad feelings. The point here, however, is not the feelings themselves or the situations that bring them on, but what I do with them.
I would prefer not to deal with feelings. They make me, well, feel. A feeling is something I can’t control, so it scares me. When something scares me, I don’t face it, I cope with it.
My coping strategies? Gossip. Self-justification. Self-validation. Eating when I’m not hungry. Drinking without regard for the taste. Watching movies or TV I’m not interested in in the hopes of drowning out my thoughts (there’s a reason you burn more calories simply sitting still than you do while watching TV).
It’s not that impressive of a list, but there’s a problem: now that I’ve identified my coping strategies, they aren’t working as well for me anymore. When I open the fridge in search of some self-validating sweet comfort food, I know why I’m doing it, and it ruins the comforting effect. When I sit down to watch a movie to shut off my brain, it insists on chugging along, wanting me to face my fear instead of simply coping with it.
What does facing a fear look like? It looks like calling up someone who has hurt you and talking about it. It looks like sitting with the pain and feeling it instead of putting it in a drawer. It looks like opening the wine bottle because I want something tasty to drink, not to drown my sorrows. It looks like regularly checking in with myself to see if I how I’m feeling and taking care of my physical and emotional state on a regular basis instead of waiting until I’ve made myself sick.
It looks like a lot of work, but work I need to face.

Love and facing kisses

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