Coping: it’s easy as . . .

Yesterday I was at a memorial service for one of my clients. It is so wonderfully amazing how multi-faceted we as people are, how immensely complex and varied our lives are. When you only know a piece of someone (or even when you know much more than that) a memorial service is a beautiful way of bringing all those pieces together -from different friend groups, or work places, or family connections -and sharing this picture of the person we all knew in different ways.

On an only slightly related note, I was noting that there are always sweets at funerals and memorial services. This is because sugar makes you feel better. Actually, there are sweets at most social functions . . . Obviously this is because most kind of people-interacting requires some sort of anesthetic. 😉 We do tend to provide people with means to self-medicate in either new or uncomfortable situations though: work parties need food and booze, funerals and weddings often have both as well. Anything ever that has “networking” in its title, comes with alcohol. PTA meetings have cookies.

It turns out that I am extraordinarily bad at coping without the aid of some physical substance.
While I was buzzing around my work building, my co-worker said to me, “have a cookie, you look like you need a cookie.” To which I said, “I need ten cookies,” and then I ate an apple.
I am generally a little bit of an anxious person. In my relentless pursuit of becoming a person who can effectively stuff all her emotions somewhere deep and far away, I am, naturally, not good at either identifying or dealing with my emotions.
My large and full multi-family house has felt especially chaotic lately. I have been particularly grumpy about this, and my anxiety levels have shot through the roof -but I can’t quite say why I am so anxious. Identifying the root of emotions can be key to managing them; self awareness is a hugely important life skill.

When my anxiety, or depression, or pent-up anger, starts exhibiting physical symptoms, that really gets me contemplating my need for some better coping skills. Sometimes I am good at being intentional about processing, at making myself think through my thoughts and feelings (instead of running completely in the opposite direction, and hiding in a dark corner somewhere). Mostly though, I see a desperate need to learn how to cope better. My tired and cranky body that woke me up at 3am says so anyway.

If any of you have some good thoughts on coping, I’d love some advice.
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3 comments

  1. The best way for coping with everything that drives me insane or scares the crap out of me is my husband. Once he and I got sober from the horrible drugs life became so much better. With each other we found peace. I couldn’t do it alone and he says he could not have done it along. You will always need someone to help you through things. Whether it be a friend or a partner for life, having someone by your side who knows your most inner secrets, that can shatter you if they ever told, (and knowing that they never would) is the only way to have total peace. Peace in knowing that they know and that they truly understand what it is your going through and will never use it against you. Knowing that Tim understands and that I understand him really does give us both a sense of inner peace in life. I love your uncle will all my heart and I can say that I have for-sure I found my one and only that God has made for me. I could never imagine not having him here with me and vise-versa, me for him. Love yours self and except yourself (faults and all)! Like you have probably heard before once you can except yourself and love yourself truly, then and only then can you truly give yourself to someone else and be happy to love them. God made us right? Your a good person, we all are things that are just you know not perfect. But you are a sweet and loving girl and don’t be so hard on yourself. I was a major screw up and I had two kids to take care of and in the end (with a lot of help from Tim) we did pretty good. We know that we are good people and we just made some bad choices and now we are excepting of who we were, but that is not who we became. Love ya girl, your to sweet to stress on yourself. Relax have some tea with some natural sugar, Honey.

  2. Kim David Mattson · · Reply

    Your household has been chaotic lately and you are grumpy about it. And your anxiety, depression and pent up anger can exhibit itself in physical symptoms. You want some thoughts on how to cope.

    Here is my prescription: 1.) Tell the people you love that you love them. Hug them. 2.) Invite someone special into your life. Romantically special. Someone who will reciprocate the unconditional love that you can offer. 3.) Cuddle. Share everything. Cuddle lots and lots. Really good cuddling takes practice. Practice.

    I am grateful and blessed to know you, Elyse.You make a big difference in my life and motivate me to change.Your blogs contribute to that. Thank you.

    Kim

  3. Tammy Babad · · Reply

    Elyse, sometimes it works to tell myself that I don’t have to pretend to be a grown-up; I don’t have to pretend to not be afraid or nervous. I have learned through the years that I can bring my emotions to work, and I am not shunned or humiliated. It is often still difficult, but it is possible for me to let others at work see that I am unsure or sad or angry. Sometimes I just eat the cookies.

    I too feel uneasy in groups of people I don’t already know. I praise myself for making mistakes. My Mom gave me a magnet that says “Love Imperfectly. Makes Lots of mistakes. Learn to live in between right and wrong.” So I actually consciously praise myself instead of chide myself (or to cope with me chiding myself) when I make a mistake or say something that others might think is silly. I say to myself, “I didn’t keep myself small today. I gave my gifts, whatever they are. I put myself out there. I didn’t let the fear keep me inside myself. Yea! Isn’t that wonderful! It was my goal to make mistakes today, and I did! Good job, Tammy.”

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