My last post was about feeling crazy. Can you tell that things are getting to me? I always wonder whether I should put myself out there like that but then I think “What the hell? Nothing wrong with being honest.”
However, I don’t want to send the message that there is no answer. There is. For as terrible as mental illness, be it temporary, cyclic, seasonal, or permanent, there is always help and always hope.
The tools available are endless but let me share the most powerful one I have. My greatest tool is the thought “There is no other choice but to be ok.”
There has never been an obstacle that has stayed an obstacle. There has never been a situation that is unendingly painful. Everything either ends or changes and there is hope and peace in that fact.
The desire to use an ED behavior passes. The baby stops screaming. The sun does come out. It might take months for these things to happen, but it does.
Change, unaided by my intervention, is something I trust, unequivocally. It is my greatest strength…and I have no influence on it! It’s great. There is nothing I can do to screw it up. It will happen with or without me. It’s a huge relief.
I should thank my bestie, Cat Jones Loveless, for that lesson. Thank you, sis! I would be very anxious and lost with out you and your truisms!
What is your greatest tool? What is your best thought?
Have you ever felt crazy? Like you couldn’t trust your own senses or assessment of reality?
There are many different ways to make it to that awful place. Motherhood. Anxiety. Eating disorders. Depression. The list goes on and on.
The results always seems to be the same. There are thoughts that don’t seem to belong to you, images flashing in your mind or emotions that do not match the situation. Sometimes you feel justified or even rational as these things are happening.
But then, it happens. The storm passes and you feel crazy. Nuts. Certifiable. Like it’s not hell enough to go through those moments. We have to through guilt, shame, inadequacy, self hatred, and fear on top of it.
Do you know what I am talking about? Do you ever feel this way?
How many times has a client walked into a therapists office, only to be disappointed by the conversation of coping skills. We have it all the time and sooooooooo many of my clients tell me they don’t work or that they can use them for a while but slip back into behaviors.
Why? Why does this happen? It’s a big cycle of failure and frustration.
First, let’s talk about expectations. We often want the coping skills we are using to have the same effect as the behavior we are trying to stop, like binging, purging, using, etc. Well, let me be the one to burst your bubble. Coping skills will not give you the same feeling that doing heroin and B&P does. They just won’t. If you are expecting to disappear for a while, like you do with a behavior, then you are doomed to disappointment.
Coping skills do, however, give you the ability do deal with and effectively address the trigger that made you want to use a behavior in the first place. In that way, coping skills actually address the problem at hand. They do not give you the vacation that you are looking for but they will help you solve the problem.
You have to have the correct expectations of coping skills.
And, second, you have to practice coping skills. As the name implies, they are skills. You have to learn them and get good at them. No one, anywhere, has ever just been a professional. It doesn’t just happen. You have to learn them and then practice them. It will take time, patience, motivation and all of those other things that allow you to learn.
Coping skills are not the magic trick we all hope for but they will allow you to live life on life’s terms. You will learn to let go of things you cannot control and manage the things you can. In doing so, you can find out your real strengths and purpose. It’s hard, but worth it.