COPING SKILLS

Yes You Can!
By Betsy B.

Throughout my struggles with depression I have noticed I have a tiny seed inside me. It is a seed, sometimes very small of truly wanting to live and somehow make my life better. I have come to believe that all of us have this seed. One of the ways I can foster this seed is to use my coping skills to get through the tough times.

There is a lot of talk about coping skills these days. What are they? Do they work? I will attempt to give as good an answer to those questions as I can. Coping skills are ways of handling difficult times and moods in a healthy manner. And yes, they do work.

Some of the coping skills I use are writing, reading, music, dance and organizing things. Others I have used are mindfulness, exercise and being with family.

One coping skill is writing or journaling. Writing down thoughts and feelings helps to get the destructive thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Even if it isn’t saved, even if the spelling is really bad, even the writing doesn’t have complete sentences; getting it out of your head and onto paper seems to help.

I like to read. In the tough times, I will read different things than I normally would. I try to read inspiring stories or comedy quotes to lift my mood. I can read as much or as little as I want. I can skip complete chapters if I want to. I try really hard to stay away from depressing reads like the news and stories about death.

Music is another one that can be used in a variety of ways. You can pick a song that matches your attitude or feeling and maybe dance to it. Music can soothe you or you can belt it out to give yourself a chance to express emotions and release some anxious energy.

Exercise can be versatile as well. You can take a walk to connect yourself to nature. Aerobic style exercise deals with anxiety and stretching soothes the soul.

The important thing about coping skills is to have them ready ahead of time. Try to put together some coping skills that work for you and be prepared to use them.

The cool thing about these skills is to experiment with them and find the ones that work for you. This list is not complete and you can be as creative as you want to be. You can refine them to suit your interests and situations. There is no right or wrong to this and what works for me may not work for you and what works for you might not work for me. Remember to choose healthy coping skills and ones that you can do safely.

 New Hope
By Betsy B.

It is time for me to have a new hope. I think it is time to let go of past disappointments and expectations and move forward. Ah, but there’s the rub. Move forward to what? I am doing better now that the latest depression is lifting, but I am not in a very productive space. There is still a lot of difference in what I want to do, what I am capable of doing, and the motivation to do anything. Does any of this sound familiar?

Yet this is not intended as a pity party, but more a wakeup call. I attended a wellness seminar recently and the opening was rather sober. We were to imagine ourselves sitting in the doctor’s office awaiting the results of serious testing. Waiting, waiting, waiting, we are unsure of what lies ahead. Then the doctor comes in and gives us the news we most dread. You only have a month to live. As you are grasping the idea he goes on tell you that there is something you can do to make your time easier. Would you be willing to do anything for that to be true?

Well I can. I am now choosing to take a step, which one yet isn’t all that clear. There are a number of options. I can quit smoking, exercise more, work harder at therapy, lose weight, work on motivation, get the sleep I need or any number of other things. How about you? Can you take one small step to making your life better? Can you try just one? It’s a start and you have to start somewhere to get anywhere.