Coping skills

fern

Confident
I am getting started with a new therapist. She asked me what coping skills I use, and I realized that currently I just tend to distract myself- that's really all that I am doing to "deal" with stress. But it doesn't really work to relieve my stress - it just temporarily distracts me and keeps the stress from boiling over, but the pot is still full.

What coping skills do you use when your stress cup is full?
 

Changing4Best

MyPTSD Pro
A few years back I got me a volunteer job. I'm retired, so the job is stimulating and helps me to feel good about myself, not to mention some bit of money for a rainy day. ( There is a small stipend which helps me do my job better.)

Other things that help are, going outside to listen to the birds, visiting friends, deep breathing and mental health therapy.

Gardening can be good to. Getting my hands into the ground seems to melt my stresses away.
 

Friday

Moderator
My nuclear coping skills = f*ck it, Fight it, Get f*cked Up, or Make It Go Faaaaaaster. (I’m all 4F in his biotch. Snort. Which may only make sense if you knew or grew up around WWII vets, where 4F disqualified you from fighting, and people suicided over being found 4F / not being fit for duty.) IE my own personal 4F (f*ck it, fight it, f*cked up, faster) = Sex, Fighting, Drugs/Alcohol, Adrenaline Junkie Stuff.

I can do all 4 of those things in healthy or seeeeriously unhealthy ways. But if I’m leaning hard into any of them? Healthy or unhealthy? Things are bad.

Simce I mentioned the unhealthy aspect, I should also state; the healthy versions? Don’t work as well. They just don’t. So if I’m sparring, or working on katas or the heavy bag, or sleeping with my committed partner a couple times a day, or having half a glass of wine or a beer after work, or hitting the slopes/beaches/fields for some fun?... as per usual? I can’t JUST depend on those, to even me out / blow off stress, when things are hard. I also have to be adding in other coping mechanisms to help distribute the weight. And expect flares of wanting “more”, as I don’t have a good system down, yet, to deal with what’s up.

Non-nuclear coping skills = Balance, distraction, using music to mod my mood, routines, can’t-control-the-first-thought-CAN-control-the-second, diet, exercise, sleep, taking breaks between activities, sensory tricks, etc.
 
I try to therapize myself, as in decide whether what I feel is true and/or helpful. Sometimes I take a walk or turn on the TV or come here. If I know I'm not going to be able to get out of my head, I'll use medical marijuana. Eventually I'd like to use exercise as a coping strategy again.
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
Exercise when I can as walking is extremely important for me to lower my stress. Depending on how my physical well being is doing, I depend on vigorous expenditure to lower the accumulated toxins such as deep cleaning, yard work, battling the list of house haunts, grooming my dog, tackling my garden… earned self respect and task completion seems to lower the stress cup when it is at the brim.

When my stress cup is lower… centering in nature or tuning to the day allows a connection. Listening to the wind, leaves rustle, birds, wildlife, music while trying to clear my thoughts and just be present in the moment helps me ground. Finding interest or hobbies to pursue among the chaos allows a distraction of fun.

Focusing on a gratitude list is a daily regime (even if I am so fried I use explicits )🤭… it reminds me that there is hope. It slows down the depression, and accumulated debris of negativity. Gratitude lists allows me to reframe my plunge down the rabbit hole and slowly embrace positivity. And to be honest, I offer thanks daily too for the gift of life, a chance to change my storyline or narrative … a chance to become more than the sum total of my imperfections.
 

Friday

Moderator
I have kept. my. mouth. shut. for over 6 months, now.... 1 week to go? SURE! Time to let’er rip!!!

Noooooooooo...... Brick wall. Bang head. 🧱

I need a coping mechanism for the whole darkest just before dawn, thing. The SHEER number of times I have lost my shit 10 seconds before it’s over? Beggars belief. Flatline learning curve, FFS.

Seeing the pattern is still a useful skill. Even if it’s a bit too late to do anything about it. At least it’s firmly booting this habit/pattern into ‘predictable is preventible’ land.

I’ve dated a few blokes who seemed to have a 6th sense about when I was about to lose my shit and could yank me back by the collar, or at least make my apologies whilst I’d still be swearing the air blue, and burning bridges, on my own. It’s not that other people interceding ISNT a coping mechanism, but it’s not exactly a reliable one. Or a fair one. Still, while reality checking with others falls firmly in “strategies” the whole “hold me BACK!” thing either needs more effort on my part in surrounding myself with human shields/babysitters, or some self control. Preferably that second one. I’m not best pleased with myself at the moment. Why waste 6 months of suck it up, only to blow it right before the End??? Why??? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
 
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Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
I think perhaps one of the best coping skills I learned is from other members/staff here actually. It is self forgiveness for having the symptom, episodes, and not living up to our expectations to be normal during our heightened disability.

I believe it was Joeylittle (or Friday perhaps) that offered years ago that they - didn’t have to be the most reasonable person in the room. It is not a statement of carte blanche but of acceptance that we do have our moments which deviate from the normal mental health spectrum.

Recognition of those times, that key nanosecond of flight, fight, freeze, ect can not be helped but our conditioning to regroup and refocus during those impulses can with some success. Many members, staff, the founder helped me immensely in the beginning steps and reconditioning steps to be proactive after initial PTSD reaction.

Body memories of regrouping imprinted from practice during exposure therapy is a solid way to condition/train a part of your brain to override the adrenaline rush and previously trained or time extension of reflex impulses. It worked for me somewhat eliminating a previously trained battle ready mode to a stand down and assess - walk away pattern.

Sometimes what made us the best in one field in the past, can threaten our newer existence as well as others in the present. So the tool of reflecting on what meshes appropriately in our life today among others is critical to health, safety and well being of everyone.
 
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