trying to make some sense...
Dr K is really trying to help me. She gave me a homework assignment, to look back at the ways I have coped in the past, with the hope of finding some answers as to what might help me now. Because now, I am just so lost. I am coping by SI'ing. I know that isn't the best way to cope. The logical part of me knows that. But I have to break through to the emotional part of me somehow, in order to relearn how to cope in more positive ways.
So, here is my homework.
I don't even know where to begin. For as long as I can remember, I have been able to cope, mostly in positive ways. That is, excluding my teen years, when I did my best to cope and stay alive by using SI'ing. And alcohol. Since those years, there have been many times that I've had to work very hard to cope. I have struggled. I have felt like I've fallen. I've felt broken. But I have been able to cope.
I feel all of those things now. And more.
I feel like I've fallen. I was making progress in my healing. Now, lately, I feel like all of the progress I have made has all been ruined. I feel like I am back where I was before I started therapy. Back where I was years ago.
I feel broken. I don't feel like anyone or anything can fix me.
I feel like a failure. I have tried so hard the past 4 ½ years, and I really feel no closer to becoming whole then I did when I started therapy.
And I'm not coping now. At least, not in a positive way.
I know that SI'ing is not a positive coping skill. So, yes, I am coping, but no, I'm not. Because I know there is no ending result from SI'ing that will lead to me becoming whole. If anything, I am slowly cutting myself away, mark by mark.
I don't feel much like a survivor.
I think a big part of me not being able to cope has to do with my depression, my anger, my anxiety. I see those as road blocks to just about everything for me. I find myself unable to function well enough to use any positive coping skills.
I find myself unable to see any light at the end of the tunnel, because those three emotions seem to be ruling me and my universe.
And all three of those emotions splinter off into everything I feel about myself, all of the negative.
As a result, all of the positive coping skills that have carried me this far in life, they all seem to have flown out the window, carried by the winds of my depression, anger, and anxiety. Which has fueled self hatred, self doubt, and the inability for me to see or feel that there is any kind of future whatsoever for me.
But back to when I was able to cope.
I honestly don't know exactly what the key was to me using positive coping skills. I just know I did. I think part of it was just being busy. Working. Raising my daughter.
She was born in 1991, a year and a half after I was raped. I know I totally immersed myself in raising her. We kept busy. We did lots of things, lots of fun things. She was my buddy, and we went everywhere together.
Sleepovers, concerts, homework, play dates, shopping at the mall. We even became involved in the Glove Theater in Gloversville. Myself being involved with another artist, creating sets and props. And both my daughter and myself performing. Her, in several childrens plays. Me, in The Music Man, and a talent show, alongside my daughter. We were Sonny and Cher.
As she grew older, some of what we did together changed. And eventually, she spent more time with her friends. But that was a good thing for her. Last thing I ever wanted was for her to have no friends like me when I was in high school.
I was discharged from active duty in 1990, and worked until I was about 7 months pregnant. From that point on, I did not return to work until my daughter started school. My first job was as school crossing guard for her school. It was a good way for her to get used to having mom work. And since then, I have just always worked.
I have held several fulfilling jobs, and a couple that turned out to not be fulfilling as well as turning out to be stress inducers. But I have worked. I have worked hard. Worked every possible day that I could. Work not only kept me busy. It also gave me a sense of accomplishment. And the jobs that were fulfilling gave me satisfaction too.
There have been periods in my life when I wasn't actively painting. But during those periods, I used other creative outlets. I made clothing and blankets for my daughter. I made a beautiful cross stitched blanket for my daughter's godmother's baby. I did a lot of cross stitch work.
I've even done some weaving.
But art has definitely been like a foundation for me. I don't really express my depression or my anger or anxiety in my art. Instead, I have always chosen to instead express the way I see things in the world. I should do more work with trees in my art, even if it's just sketching them. Because my ability to draw trees has always lifted me up, and to me trees represent the beauty of creation, and the soul of the universe. And being able to use trees as a form of expression has always felt very healing to me, and been an excellent way for me to cope.
Just recently, I started playing the piano again. I haven't always had access to a piano, but there have been times over the years that I have been able to play. Right now, it's more on a consistent basis. But even without a piano, music has always been a huge love of mine, and a huge part of my life.
There is an expression in music, an expression of emotion that can sometimes be so strong that simply listening to it can reach something so deep inside of you, and soothe you, or make what you are going through seem not so bad.
It can build you up. It can lift you up, your spirit, your psyche, all of you and your emotions. It can mirror how you feel, and in doing that, it can make you feel you aren't so alone, because the person who wrote the music and lyrics certainly must understand you and what you are going through.
Feeling hope has helped me cope in the past. Even though things could be horrible, having that feeling that they can change, that they can get better. That hope has gotten me through some bad times.
And the way that I know that hope has helped me cope in the past? Currently, I feel no hope. Everything feels hopeless to me.
I'm not sure what other ways I have used to cope. All I know is that right now I feel lost. And I'm tired of feeling the way I do.