30 Till 30 | Who Knew Coping Mechanisms Could Work?
I love going to therapy, so let’s talk about it…
Tomorrow will be my last therapy appointment—shocking, I know. I’ve been in therapy, on and off, for the last five years and it feels odd to not have that safety net of a weekly appointment beneath me. But I feel like I’ve learned a lot in this time and I’m finally starting to hold onto those lessons more earnestly. Even more, I’ve learned a few coping mechanisms that have actually helped me make sense of my anxiety and depression:
Who knew that, as a writer, I would find solace in writing? In the way I’ve used writing as a means to work out my issues through fictional characters, I learned that I could use journaling in the same way. I know what you’re thinking: “Duh, Jason. Of course! It’s so obvious!” And it is, which is why it was the hardest to see for me. Fictional characters are one thing—you could so easily change the narrative, make the villains more villainous and the main character more sympathetic. The omnipotence of the writer is intoxicating. And so to shift that from fiction to non-fiction, well…all the power goes out the window! Accountability exists and I have to own up to the shit that I’ve done and see at face value that I’m not as well as I thought I was. But that’s the reality of it—I wasn’t well. I was hurting on the inside and while it hurt to write (and read), it almost felt like exposure therapy (which may have been the point). To see it on plain paper, written in your own handwriting, made it real—too real, but after a few weeks it became natural to face my demons. Writing them down solidified them in a way I could never do with just my mind. It made them tangible and therefore manageable.
Now it’s a daily practice to bring myself back to reality.
“Let yourself feel.”
“Bake—you’ll feel better.”
“I deserve love.”
“No one will abandon you.”
This one is self-explanatory, and let’s just say I now know why moms go ape-shit over the calligraphic signs they see at Homegoods. If you see it everyday, you feel it everyday.
Now, I didn’t write this post to simply brag about how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned, but I wrote it in hopes that someone out there (maybe even you) might try them out to see if they help. Anxiety and depression are singular journeys, though we all have them on the same plane of existence. And while we cannot push down our battles, what we can do is face them head on and realize that they’re a part of us—and they’re parts of us that are begging for attention and, even more, solutions. I hope these tools help and know that you’re not alone.