How to Cope

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How do you deal with the pain? Whether it be physical or mental, it doesn’t matter. How do you deal with hardships? How do you deal with severe abdominal pain that no doctor seems to be able to explain?

I just deal with it.

But how? I ask how do you deal with the pain?

As a child, when you would have a physical sort of pain like a cut on your knee, you would run up to your mom and go, “Mommy, Mommy! I have an owie!” and she would wash the cut with peroxide, stop the bleeding, pat it dry and put on a band aid. Last, but not least, she would kiss it better.

As a teenager you would cry to your dad about a broken heart. “Dad, dad! This guy was a real jerk and stood me up at the movies!” He would console you, be your shoulder to cry on, tuck you into bed with ice cream and other junk food novelties with a good movie on. And last, but not least, would give you a forehead kiss to kiss it better.

As an adult, the support you crave isn’t much different than from when you were a kid or an adolescent. You crave to be heard, understood, and respected. You may not go to your parents for everything like you may have used to as a kid, but you can still go to your close friends or to your significant other.

It’s important to have someone to cope with, so that you aren’t alone. You didn’t cope alone in your youth so why would you try any differently now? Sure, it’s not always practical to be dependent on someone else, but if it is feasible, never dwell in your own darkness, whether it be physical or mental pain.

If you must cope on your own, like if your significant other is at work still and will be gone all evening, or your friends are out of town, I would follow the list below to see if you can effectively overcome the darkness that you are facing.

1. Address that this is in fact real

As much as we hate to confront our depression or mania, it must be done. Don’t down play your emotions or feelings because that will cause an overload of emotions to bottle up and then the ending could be quite catastrophic if you bottle up everything enough times.

Say to yourself I am feeling _________________ because of _________________. For example, I am feeling depressed because of my severe abdominal pain. That is something I currently feel because of my physical pain which is now causing mental health issues; my physical pain is triggering my depressive side and I am trying not to give into the sadness.

2. What can I do about it?

So we have established why you are feeling the way you do. So now what can we do about it? Look inwards, toward yourself for an answer not to anyone else, even if you do have your friend by your side to help you cope. You must ask yourself, “What is in my power that I can do to conquer this depression or mania?”

For me, I am depressed due to my abdominal pain. I went and saw a doctor at the ER Friday night, so I have to wait til Monday to get an appointment with my primary care doctor. So since it’s Sunday morning, I have to stay home and relax. So I took a hot shower, took some Tylenol, and now I am resting in bed with support on my back which is also in pain. I have made myself as comfortable as I can be.

I personally have found that dwelling on the things that is out of our control only makes the sadness and depression worse. For example, I cannot control the fact that I can’t see a doctor for another day, well probably multiple days due to my work schedule. I cannot control the pain I am in or else I wouldn’t be in pain! By accepting the things I cannot change, it allows me the power and desire to change what I can.

That is all easier said than done, though. Sometimes you just gotta bitch about something to get it off your chest. But I personally have never felt better after complaining because it doesn’t change anything.

3. What are my triggers?

Obviously in my case pain is a trigger to the way I am feeling. But if you are just dealing with depression, let’s say, then you must assess why you are feeling the way you do.

But then there is also the possibility that there isn’t anything that is causing you to feel the way that you do. Depression is a sneaky illness that can get the best of anyone and leave no paper trail, if you will. It doesn’t give you any rhyme or reason as to why it’s there.

So now what? You must assess why you feel the way you do. If you can’t come up with anything, then maybe it’s just the depression without any triggers. For me, I feel depressed and pain is a trigger. It triggers me because it’s something I cannot control and things out of my personal control bother me since there is no cure all.

4. What shouldn’t I do about it?

There are things you can do to help out your situation, but there are things you know you could do that would only deepen the depression. These are otherwise known as your vices.

What would momentarily make me feel better is smoking, drinking, or going to the casino. But those aren’t lasting solutions to depression and it will only make my situation worse because those things are a waste of time and money. Sure, smoking might cease my pain, but I will have wasted how many hours being couch locked, unable to move, except to eat chips all afternoon. It will make me feel more lost than I was before and bloated due to the junk food which would only worsen my physical symptoms. Same sort of story with having a few drinks. As far as gambling goes, it’s just a bad habit and when I inevitably lose, I will go into a deeper depression.

Your vices might look different than mine whether it be impulsive shopping or self harm or you name it. The whole point is that vices don’t lead to long lasting happiness or joy. It’s a distraction.

5. Find a *healthy* distraction

I am all for distractions, as long as they don’t bite you in the ass later on. Play on your phone, watch endless amounts of Youtube… maybe even watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkEfmzT4wJE (a quarantine creation made by yours truly) it’s ironic that I talk about healthy distractions and as a result of that, I made my first Youtube video about my unhealthy habits. I digress. You can make your own videos, you can read, cook, paint, fly a kite, clean your house, virtually anything to keep your mind of your pain and depression.

Currently I am blogging (well, no shit, Sherlock) to mask the pain. If anything, this post is for me to feel better and work through this bout of depression in a healthy way rather than relying on other people or things to be my rock.

Although it is good to rely on friends and family in times like these, it’s also important to learn how to rely on yourself because you need to learn how to sit with yourself and just battle the depression and anxiety.

It’s not easy, nobody ever said it was going to be. It’s a matter of coming out back on top after you been blown over, like a wind storm. You can’t let the depression or mania win, because if it wins, you’re the one that is suffering which no one wants to see. We want you to be victorious. You are the hero/heroine of the story. You are a warrior and you are strong, courageous, brave, intelligent, witty, creative, loved, honored, along with so many other characteristics.

You are worthy. Never forget it.

Dani

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