HOW TO COPE DURING DARK TIMES

I AM WORTH TO SEE WHERE THIS LIFE BRINGS ME

MARIE W.O.W.C.P.

In my last blog, WHEN IN DARK TIMES, I wrote about being in a dark place in yourself, which leads you to a dark place in life and how it feels to you and your loved ones. It came from someone (me) who has been in dark places in life mentally, which leads you to put yourself in a physically dark place for some time. ( NOTE TO READERS, I did go to school for human services; however, I have not worked in the field for years. It was due to how life has thrown me a curveball, and my health has had ups and downs. What I write about is all based on personal experiences and my opinions. I’m hoping that sharing my experience will spark something in other people who will give them the idea to start to open up to a family member, friend, or medical professional. If you are in a very dark place, please seek out a medical professional, or please go to National Mental Health Hotline

When you’re in a dark place, you’ll encounter many different emotions and questions. For me, the most significant feeling I encountered was anger. I wanted to be angry at the world, but I was angry at myself in reality. The two questions I faced were: Do I want to change? And how do I want to change? After answering these two questions, I started to think about seeing a mental health professional. 

When looking for a mental health professional, everything you need is on the web. The first step you want to list the main topics you need help with; when looking for someone, you want someone who will fit these topics and other needs you will need to work through. I took the first step by going on the web for mental health professionals. I was on the web and stumbled upon Counselor Find | NBCC. Once I went on the site, I was able to put in the area I live and what I was looking for in a counselor. For anyone who is looking for a mental health professional finding the right fit can be challenging because when meeting a counselor for the first time can be very vulnerable but, at the same time, very fulfilling when you find the right one.

Once you’ve chosen your therapist, there’s a getting to know you period, which takes about a month or two. Once you’ve decided it’s a good fit, you’re ready to begin the work. Some of the stuff I have explored with my therapist are:

  • What are coping skills, and how do we build them? 
  • How do you develop a coping skill?
  •  How do we use them? 
  • Why are they so crucial for anyone, especially when you have a disability? 
  • Is the coping skill essential for everyone? 
  • Do all the coping skills work for a person every time they need them?
  • Can coping skills be both healthy or unhealthy?

Coping still would be my entire force. People have always told me I have good coping skills. I always had excellent coping skills but the skills I always used to help me overcome the cp; were never about overcoming life without a disability. Due to my disability, it used to be challenging to express what I felt without getting physical or vocal to myself or others. 

When I found the right fit for a mental health professional, we started the journey of picking the path we would go. We started working on the most crucial chapter in my journey, coping skills. 

WHAT IS A COPING SKILL?

A coping skill is a skill that a person comes up with to help themselves with a challenging situation/issue. Coping skills can help us in many ways, but there can also be coping skills that can do the opposite of what we are hoping to achieve. The point of using a coping skill is to affect a person positively. An excellent place to store all these coping skills is called a mental toolbox.

What is the mental toolbox? ( please see NEVER GIVE UP)

One of the most effective coping skills for people is to breathe. When you are frustrated or upset, the first coping skill to use for anyone is to breathe, take a deep breath and count to five while moving around or leaving what you are doing until you can cool yourself down. At this point, I use a mixture of breathing and picturing stop signs in my head. The word “STOP” has four letters; with each letter, take a deep breath in, then after you spell the word, blow it all out. After this, you should start to feel relaxed. Having this technique is the foundation of my toolbox. 

HOW DO I DEVELOP A COPING SKILL?

A coping skill is a problem-solving skill. Knowing how to use problem-solving can be a challenge to many people. 

I feel coping skills should be among the topics you and your Counselor should discuss after establishing a relationship. A coping/solving skill is something I think is a learned behavior that is developed over time. I have always had excellent coping skills due to my cp; I have to use problem-solving to make up for situations I lack due to my cp when it comes to a real-life problems. 

Life was always about overcoming the cp during my growing up. When I should have been developing coping skills for real-life situations, I was lost within myself because I didn’t want people to see me as a cp person. None but myself saw me as a cp person; people just saw me as me. They saw my personality; they saw how I was going about my life. The only one that saw the cp stopping me was me; when I look back on life, I know the joy and memories I had, but I also feel all the shame I felt about who I was with cp, but I realize I know now that I was the only one feeling this way.

HOW DO I USE COPING SKILLS

Coping skills will be used in various ways with every person, and every person will have a variety of coping skills. What I have in my mental toolbox may not be what you have in yours, and a coping skill works to your needs. For example, a lot of people enjoy using running/walking as a coping skill, which now, at this moment in my life, I can do, but it wasn’t like that for many reasons; one was my health wouldn’t let me before, and two was I didn’t live in an area that gave me the freedom to walk. When I couldn’t or didn’t have the freedom to walk, I learned to use coloring or knitting as a coping skills. As time went on, I started seeing some light. I started using social media as a coping skill. I started searching social media to find out How others felt and lived with cp. As I slowly started to open that door, I saw that there was nothing to be ashamed of because I learned that everyone felt the way I did at one time or another. There are many ways to have good coping skills; you have to see what one feels and fits for you. I can go on and on about what is in my toolbox because, with every dark time, I will use the ones in there, or I might add a new one. Only you can create what goes in your toolbox.

Why is coping so crucial for anyone, especially when you have a disability? 

Having coping skills is crucial for mental health, healing, and life. It’s just that when you have a disability that limits movement, coping skills can be vital. Coming from someone who can get (me) impatient waiting for life to happen because I have to live a modified life for my whole life due to my cp, anyone can contact a little impatient. Impatientness is just a part of life, but when you have a life that realizes upon others for help, having patience is something I work very hard on every day. Having good coping skills is a must to fill the time you need to occupy, so this is where the copy skills can help. (Exp I’m waiting for a ride and get to the place, I have to be early or get done before and have to wait for a ride at some end I’ll bring a book to past the time.) Then there are the days I get frustrated and want to do something but can’t, so I have an arts & crafts box that I can pick out something to do. 

Are there healthy and unhealthy coping skills? 

As I described before, some other healthy for me enjoy cooking and cleaning the house, listening to music, writing, meditation, or talking to friends. Some unhealthy coping skills can be drinking, smoking, or anything you know will harm you.

There are many times in life that we can be in a dark place for one reason or another, but as long as you take that first step of saying you want to make your life better, that might be the hardest step to take. It might seem complicated, but it will be advantageous in the long run if you stick to the right track.

Writer note: I wrote this before the last two mass shootings. While I’ll have some mental health issues due to my struggles with my disability, I can keep them under control. Many people don’t seek the help they need for various reasons. While I truly believe mental health has a lot to do with what is going on, I talked to someone who doesn’t believe this and their opinion today. We must consider that mental health is only a part of what is happening here. It’s excellent to leave a free country and have free speech, but I believe that comes with great responsibility. We go way too far with social media; people speak their minds. They have every right to, but close-minded people can be hard to reason with; It’s everyone’s right to have their thoughts, fells, and opinion, that’s the way to make the world go round, but if we want to fix this we have to start to listen to each other and meet halfway to resolve these issue.

Published by sixlegstoindependentlifefromawalker

Hi I'm Marie W.O.W.O.C.P ( Work Out With Cerebral Palsy) Just an average person living with six legs. Two on me and four on my walker. I live a full independent life with cerebral palsy. These are life stories and events about how I overcame everyday life with cerebral palsy. I hope by sharing my life story and lessons I have learned I can help others in the world to show them that disability is only a word. Just because our body may not be capable of everything we want to do but with a positive outlook on life we can still get where we want and need to be.

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