Coping Mechanisms: A Tale of Escape

Coping Mechanisms: A Tale of Escape

A honest discussion of bad coping mechanisms.

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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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65 Truths College Students Need to Hear Right Now

Truth every college student needs to hear.
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1. The best memories are ones you actually can remember.

2. God isn’t going to ask you if you were in a top-tier sorority or fraternity at the gates.

3. You failed a test, not your life.

4. Numbers don’t define you.

5. That includes the number you see that is your grade.

6. Also, how much you weigh.

7. As well as if you are a “7/10” on a so-called “hot scale.”

8. Or if you can bench press 200 lbs. (@ all the guys at the gym, please chill.)

SEE ALSO: 7 Reminders Every College Student Needs To Hear Before The Semester Ends

9. Innocence is nothing to be ashamed of.

10. Neither are mistakes.

11. But learn from your mistakes. Mistakes can be lessons, which can be the biggest blessing.

12. Your metabolism isn’t what it used to be and that is okay.

13. You may not always understand what God is doing, but I promise He has a plan.

14. Every person you meet is battling their own struggles.

15. Life isn’t always great moments.

16. But you have to walk through the forest to get to the mountain top.

17. Your heart isn’t damaged. It is temporarily broken but it will be fixed.

18. However, the only one who can fix a broken heart is the one who created it.

19. So a cute boy or hot girl can’t put the pieces back together.

20. Neither can ice cream.

21. But ice cream can totally help.

22. Stop texting your ex. He/She is your ex for a reason.

23. Loving Jesus means loving people.

24. Loving Jesus also means loving the image of Him in the mirror you see.

25. Stop hiding your emotions. Stop crying in the bathroom or behind a locked door. You have people in your life who care about you.

26. Suicide is never the answer.

27. Breathe in, breathe out.

28. Do you feel your heart pump? Do you feel the air exiting your body? That is a sign you are here for a purpose. Your life is no mistake.

29. Just because you doubt, doesn’t mean you don’t believe in Jesus.

30. However, when walking on the water scares you, look to Jesus and keep your eyes on Him.

31. If you have the opportunity to go to school go. There are young girls around the world who would do anything to sit at the desk you are complaining about.

32. Don’t pick a career based on money.

33. However, I promise you can use any passion or gift to serve a purpose bigger than yourself if you allow yourself to give it to the One who gave it to you.

34. You don’t need pretty prayers to please God.

35. Talk to Him like you are talking to a friend.

36. Look for the good in everyone.

37. That includes the mean girl who no one likes. Chances are she is mean for a reason. Someone was once mean to her. Kill her with kindness.

38. Pray to have the Lord’s eyes. See people with love.

39. Try to have the Lord’s hands, always be reaching out to others.

40. Each morning, pray to have the Lord’s feet and go where He calls you.

41. It is a bad day, not a bad life.

SEE ALSO: What It's Like To Be A College Student In April

42. You don’t need a six-pack to find a man who loves you.

43. You need a spouse who will be able to look at you when you are 80, and wrinkly and maybe a little chunky, and you need him to love you then. If he loves you for your body and your hair, I promise he doesn’t actually love you. Looks fade, but love is eternal. Find someone who loves you like Jesus.

44. Do some squats.

45. But squat so you feel good about yourself, not to attract the opposite sex.

46. You are never too old to find a new hobby.

47. You were beautiful before someone told you.

48. If you don’t know if you are in relationship or not, leave. You deserve clarity, not insecurity.

49. You deserve friendships that are mutual.

50. The best Friday nights are spent with a puppy and food. It is okay to not always be social.

51. Stop worrying about whether your crush will text you back.

52. Stop over analyzing everything in general.

53. Pray for your future spouse.

54. However, also pray for your future bridesmaids/groomsmen. Some of the most influential people you may have in your life you may not have even met yet.

55. Storms bring strength.

56. And storms bring rainbows if you are patient and observant.

57. Stop Pinteresting your dream life and start living it.

58. The Bible is actually extremely relatable. Open it up. Read it.

59. Romans 8:28 “and we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” God is on your team. He wants you to have moments of celebration. He has a purpose for you greater than your bad day.

60. Never forget what Jesus did for you on that cross. When he died for you, it was painful and brutal. It was ugly. It was love. Don’t let that truth ever become numb to you no matter how many times you have heard the story.

61. There is nothing wrong with carbs.

62. Study. And don’t wait for the night before.

63. Find someone who you can look up to.

64. Also, never forget that there is always someone looking up to you. Act like someone you would want your future children to be. Act in a way that reflects wisdom.

65. Smile more, you are loved by the one who hung the stars and painted the sea. He created puppies and carbs–yet still loves you more. That is something to celebrate.

College is tough and life is hard. You are going to have moments where all you want to do is celebrate life with your best friends, but you will also have moments where you just want to lock the door, ignore everyone, and have a good cry. Never forget that your worth comes from something greater than your Biology grade, and from Someone greater that the one who broke your heart.

You aren’t too cool for Christ in college. Christ is a necessity for you in your life. He can hold your hand during your heartbreaks and failures and celebrate with you when you get the text back or a passing grade in foreign language. He loves for you and cares for you more than your sorority or fraternity ever will.

So buy your books, do your homework, but never forget when you are walking to you 8:00 a.m. you regretfully signed up for, to look up. Look at the clouds and the sky and thank your creator that in a big big world with many beautiful things, He still loves our messy hearts even more. So this one is for the boys for the King. This life is for the One who laid down His life.

I promise college is more fun when you dance with your Savior. Follow His lead and let him take you on a journey where you can find your purpose. You may not know where you are going, but you do know who you are following.

So never forget that although classes may be hard, and your metabolism may be slowing down–God is still good. He turns our ashes into beauty and our trials into our testimony. Do life with your creator and I promise you that you will have more than you need.

Romans 8:28 “And we know God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Check out my website for more articles on self-worth <3

Twitter: gracev96

Instagram: lemmebeyourvalentine

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Dealing With Death Is Challenging

But you have to be ok with it.

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I recently went to go visit my family; five hundred and sixty miles and ten hours later, I was in New Castle, Indiana surrounded by cornfields, cows, a couple of antique stores, and a limited population. The semester is coming to an end, so it is complete madness in my classes, however, when my mother called me a few weeks ago telling me my grandmother has been admitted to hospice care frightened me so I had to go visit during this crucial time in her life.

Seeing my grandmother in an altered state was, to say the least, difficult. This once spunky woman that was full of life has been minimized to an oxygen mask that has to remain constantly with her and a cane that supports her walking.

During this time, I put my big girl smile on and tried to let it be known that I understood exactly what was going on. I stayed strong during the entire visit, for her and for my mother. It truly hit me the severity of it all when it dawned on me that this was my mother losing her mother. I forced myself to view this situation from my mother's perspective.

I've been fortunate to never lose a parent, but my father has lost both. I was very young when his father died, and I was twenty-three when his mother died. It was a rough time seeing my dad go through the turmoil of losing his mother. At the funeral, that's when all of the chaos hit me; my dad has been selfless for me my entire life it was my turn to be there for him. I shed my tears away from him.

During this visit, I again set aside my fears of losing a grandparent during this visit and was there for my mother. I took her out of the elements of caretaking and tried to make her smile. I stayed strong for her just so she knew she could focus on herself and not have to console her daughter.

I got a hundred miles down the road towards home back to Georgia and that's when I chose to mourn my grandmother's fate. It was difficult to stay strong, but I also felt proud. My family has taught me to be a strong and independent woman and during this tough time, that is who I have been.

Death challenges us in ways that we never thought possible. In those moments I try to remember who those people who leave us remember us to be.

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