Coping Mechanisms: A Tale of Escape

Coping Mechanisms: A Tale of Escape

A honest discussion of bad coping mechanisms.


Throughout my life, I have tried out a variety of coping mechanisms. I dabbled in some good ones, some bad ones and some I don't want to think back on ever again. Sometimes, I feel really ashamed. Sometimes, they're easier to discuss.

In the past month, I have spiraled through a number of coping methods. I want to note right now that I am going to discuss some difficult things. Here's your trigger warning for alcohol, eating disorders and nicotine usage.

In my mind, it is important to acknowledge my downfalls and mistakes. And a lot of those connect to my decisions regarding coping. It's how I am programmed. And I know it.

Do I feel shame? Sometimes.

Do I wish I was different? Often.

Is it worth beating myself up over? Never.

In discussing my mistakes, I take the power away from them. I begin to pull down the walls of stigma from around them — brick by brick.

To discuss usage of alcohol to forget and nicotine to calm is to remove the mystery. It is the first step to open discussion.

And with that, I have a question for you: How many times have you, or someone you know, considered or acted on the urge to consume alcohol when you feel, for lack of a better word, shitty?

I'm guessing a decent amount of times. Me too.

I almost never drink. Even when I turned 21 (legal, baby), I wasn't too interested in alcohol. I'm a lightweight. I hate feeling sick and hungover the next day. I didn't (maybe still don't, honestly) know how to drink responsibly.

But I do know how to forget.

As much as I tell myself that going to a bar on my own, buying one too many drinks and removing the thoughts from my head for a little while isn't a misuse of alcohol, I always know I am lying to myself. I always know, deep down, that I was trying to escape.

I was coping. Badly.

There is a culture of alcohol misuse in college. It is a way of rationalizing going out and getting drunk because you had a bad breakup, didn't do well on an exam or just want to have fun.

But everyone doing it doesn't make it healthy.

I'm sure you have heard this before, but if Joe jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too? No? Well, it's no different with alcohol. If someone goes out and gets drunk to forget about pain, that doesn't make it OK for you to do it. It doesn't mean that it serves as a replacement to feeling the feelings and sitting with the discomfort.

This is a lesson I learned the hard way.

How many of you smoke or know someone who smokes cigarettes? You might be a drunk smoker. You might smoke a pack a day. You know how bad they are for you. We all do. But it doesn't stop us from using them.

I might not smoke cigarettes. I might only have vape juice with less than one percent of nicotine. But the purpose is likely the same: escape.

You want the rush of the nicotine to calm you. Maybe it's not good for you. Maybe inhaling smoke or vapor isn't the best for your lungs. Who cares? That's a problem for future me.

Am I ashamed that I use this? Honestly? No. I enjoy it. Oh yes, I am that person. The one who vapes. Hate me if you want, but it makes me feel calm.

Is it healthy, strictly speaking? Not really.

Is it horrible? Probably not. At least, not right now.

What isn't healthy, though, is the escape. It is, again, another method of forgetting problems. It's a way of removing yourself, just for a little bit.

Like I said, I know how to forget — for better or worse. And I recognize it.

A lot of these emotions are still raw. And that's OK.

My experiences are in no way representative of everyone who has dabbled in any of the above. I do not wish to invalidate any opinions, actions or feelings. I acknowledge that there is a way of coping for everyone, and mine will never be the same as another individual's.

But consider this: Are you escaping? If so, from what?

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Starbucks

This is my oh so wonderful experience at Starbucks during the week of midterms.


When I usually go to Starbucks, I typically get the same type of drinks: carmel macchiato, chai tea latte, chestnut praline chai tea latte (which sadly is only a holiday drink), or a shaken black tea lemonade with light ice. However, sometimes a person just gets bored drinking the same three drinks over and over, so I thought, "Hey! lets get out of our comfort zone here pal and try something new." So I did I walked my tired stressed out self to Starbucks 10 minutes before my next class and ordered a tall cinnamon shortbread latte, I mean the description and other peoples comments about it made it sound super good.

As I was waiting for my drink I noticed that one of the baristas was having some issues with some type of syrup, but I thought that they would refill it and then add what they need, and that one probably wasn't even mine. When they did that, I saw them get a new jug of syrup and I went back onto my phone and to try and plan how I was going to get through this midterms week.

Quick info about midterms: everyone is dead, and everyone is stressed. Us college students literally live off of caffeine during midterms week. If you're lucky like me you are at school from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., so the caffeine is really needed.

Now soon after I saw the new jug come, my name was called. I grabbed my drink and walked like the walking zombie I was to my next class. I went in for my first drink I was so excited to have this sweet taste of vanilla, cinnamon and coffee...but what I got was the opposite. It literally tasted like a very burnt somewhat coffee and cinnamon edible without the marijuana affects, or for the non-edible people, a very bad tasting cookie that was missing all the sugar. I was not a happy camper one bit, but I was going to drink it anyway because I payed $4 for this coffee. I struggled drinking this during my writing class because it tasted terrible, but then out of no where I got this hit of sweet — I was drinking the sweet vanilla and the sweet cinnamon part of my drink minus the majority of the coffee since I was 3/4 done with the drink. I was seriously crying on the inside because I didn't get to enjoy this drink the way I needed.

Then the realization hit me: 1. They probably didn't add in the missing parts of the syrup once it got refilled since they suddenly got busy. 2. They did not stir that drink one bit because all the syrup was literally at the bottom of the cup. If they did these, then the problem wouldn't have happened.

This is not the first time this has happened to me having all the syrup at the bottom of the cup at a Starbucks. Its not like I am able to swish it around myself because it is full to the top and I don't want hot coffee poured or splashed on my hand. Also, most people are on-the-go while they are drinking their coffee or doing other things. I have only had this issue at Starbucks and never at any other place have I had this issue like Anthem Coffee.

So can Starbucks just agree to always mix their drinks? So that the zombie college kids during midterms have good coffee to keep them alive?

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