Maybe I'm in denial, or maybe I'm just desperate to hang on to my unhealthy coping techniques of choice (disordered eating and excessive exercise), but...
Are unhealthy coping techniques (at least ones that don't put your or anyone else's health/life in immediate danger) really all that bad? As long as they're in moderation, that is? An unhealthy coping technique is still a coping technique. And one way or another, we need to cope.
If smoking a cigarette or two each day keeps you from falling off the deep end at those moments, then isn't a cigarette preferable to a meltdown?
If becoming a "workaholic" keeps your mind occupied and gives you goals and aspirations in life, isn't that preferable to aimlessness and depression?
If a rather stringent diet keeps my mind off the rape, and gives me motivation to continue through my daily life, isn't it preferable to lying around either hysterical or numb all day?
I asked my counselor the same question recently, MMarie. She suggested that there's a difference between distractions, which are ways to temporarily soothe yourself, and avoidance, which is about not dealing with the problem. That makes sense to me. I know for a really long time, I completely avoided the feelings and the memories. Now, I am acknowledging the pain and trying to work on things, but I still use distractions and coping techniques. I guess those things that help me get through a difficult time are OK, as long as I'm not using them to avoid, like I did before. So I think deciding what's "healthy" is probably up to each of us and how we cope.