10 Coping Mechanisms That Helped Me Deal With Stress & Depression In Tough Times

Posted: April 4, 2019

Tough times come in everyone’s lives, and dealing with them needs a lot of support – from family, friends, and the sisterhood of those who can handhold you… these 10 coping mechanisms help.

Social Media has been quite fulfilling after I came back from my hiatus 3 years ago. I will write about this later in detail. It gave me friends and family, and changed me in ways I never knew I could. The sort of encouragement, motivation, unwavering support, affection and non-judgemental listening my SM friends have given me, without asking for anything in return, or making me feel guilty about anything at all, is a thing of dreams.

I will never ever underestimate this medium and will keep saying it till eternity that if used properly, this medium is gold.

In our circle, we keep talking and talking and reiterating the importance of mental health constantly, and we keep shouting from the rooftops of how the stigma around it needs to be addressed, and how therapy and counselling should be normalized; and we will all keep doing it till forever.

Because it’s important. We are all living a very hectic life and we all deserve this.

One of my very good friends (who also wants to remain anonymous) recently had to go through some really tough times. And in a mental health issues support group on Facebook that we are all a part of, she posted these pointers that helped her in a way. I am posting those here because they might not be foolproof or perfect in any way because coping mechanism is very relative, but they are important with respect to how we all should keep trying.

Please find this below in her own words –

“I got my feet back under me and am feeling better for the first time in a long time. So I thought I will share some stuff that worked for me.

Before reading, understand that I am not a professional, and what worked for me may not work for you. But I hope it helps you.

1. Normal is overrated. Stop putting pressure on yourself to feel “normal”. You ARE normal. The way you feel is normal for you. Any feeling you have- anger, numbness, sadness- it’s ok. Let yourself feel, and don’t be angry with yourself about feeling.

2. Routine helps. It helps to such a great extent that I ensure no one interrupts it. Wake up at the same time, eat at the same time, go to work, sleep, watch tv etc., at the same time everyday. It’s easier to ground yourself, and you kinda develop a habit or muscle memory. So, even if you have a bad day, you can still depend on your routine, and get through the day.

3. Talk to yourself and prepare yourself. I repeatedly tell myself that I need to get to work next day, I imagine myself getting out of bed and getting ready and going. If I have a doctor’s appointment (which is a break in the routine), I talk to myself a week in advance, then everyday, I look at the calendar and mentally prepare myself to go.

4. Financial stability is very important. If you get a handle on that, it is easier to manage other things. So go to work. Meet deadlines at work. Set a time when you tell yourself that you will address emails or do something you need to do, and then do it. If you don’t shower, don’t eat healthy, and whatever other self sabotaging decisions you make, just don’t ruin your work. It’s very important to hold down that job. Same with studies.

5. Mercilessly limit or cut off people who hurt you, enable you, destabilize you, or treat you shittly.

6. Meds. Meds work. Meds are magic. You just need to find the right meds. They have been a lifesaver for me. And therapy if you can afford it.

7. Ignore. Nod and smile and IGNORE people who advice me to not be stressed, to take it easy, to meditate, to snap out of it. They just don’t get my mental health. So I pretend to listen.

8. The people who care for you and are your support system – recognize their efforts and thank them on your good day. It’s very hard to be a caregiver to someone like us, and it’s a drain on them, especially since they can’t begin to understand our symptoms. Gratitude will make you feel less guilty of leaning on them.

9. Be clear about your emotions. I tell my family that I need five minutes to calm down or I feel anxious or I need a hug. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know how to help. If we are not clear, they will not offer the kind of support we need. Say, talk me out of this kindly, or kick my ass, or make me go to the doctor, or sit with me but don’t talk. Be clear of your needs.

10. Forgive yourself.

First published on the author’s Facebook page.

Image source: shutterstock

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