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Mental Health: When Coping Methods Become Unhealthy

August 26, 2017



I actually hadn't realised 'til I started my counselling just how unhealthy some of my coping methods really are. I depend on my journal quite heavily, and I also depend on sleep. But, whilst these things help me out in the short term they're actually quite bad for me in the long-term. 


My preparation for 'big' events is becoming more like a set of rituals to ensure that I'll be okay and nothing will go wrong - I guess it's similar to OCD in ways. 


Take for instance Boardmasters. I've written about this previously and how much that consumed me. I went to the extent of writing 4 different checklists, planning my outfits on paper and packing & re-packing multiple times. I know it's good to have a checklist to ensure you have everything, but 4 is just downright ridiculous. And that's the annoying thing, I hear myself when I'm saying/writing these things. It's irrational and a waste of time but it's how I settle myself and calm my mind when anxiety hits.


As for the sleeping, when depression consumes me as it generally does when I'm on my own with nothing to motivate me, my only way of getting through that dull sadness is to go to sleep to pass the time. I'm sleeping my life away trying to avoid something that must be attacked head on. 


What my counsellor has said about these things is that I need to tell myself, especially with the anxiety, that I don't need to do these things. That if I forget something it's okay, that if I have to go home a little later than usual that's also okay. I need to accept that things can and will go wrong at times rather than obsessing over the prevention of anything going wrong. 


I've been encouraged to write down certain anxieties of situations I know I'll come to. Like the fact I feel uncomfortable speaking to receptionists/FOH, so why am I afraid? Mostly because I'm scared I'm going to say something stupid and embarrass myself. So the idea is that I should write this down and then test this theory I have and hopefully prove myself wrong. Because, most of the time the things that I'm worried are going to happen don't. I will continue to do this occasionally to try and fight off the anxiety and also attempt to live a little more relaxed by trying to go with the flow.


With the depression, I need to identify things that will motivate and energise me. Lately going out and taking photos has been good for me, it's a hobby I really enjoy. With the gym I'd love to be able to go the gym when I please but unfortunately the gym is in the next town and I'm unable to drive, and generally my partner wants to go in the evenings so it isn't really a day time option. There are certain things I'd love to start doing again and really get into, like playing the keyboard and reading. I will start doing these in small doses and maybe I'll be able to concentrate for longer eventually. 


Hopefully now I've been able to identify these unhealthy coping methods, I will be able to combat those as well as my anxiety. It will be a long and gentle process but I must move forward. Baby steps!



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