Friday, October 23, 2009

maybe not all old coping skills are bad

So due to all of the drama/chaos at work this week with the A&D counselor in our office, we consciously or unconsciously (I'm not sure) employed a very old coping skill that had worked very well for us in the past. I didn't really even think about the fact that we'd done that until talking in therapy today. Most of the coping skills from my childhood and life before therapy, we've basically thrown out the window b/c while they may have been helpful then, they're not so helpful now.

This week we implemented our "calm, cool, and collected approach during the actual crisis". This is typically followed by an "after the crisis is resolved meltdown". Once defensive walls go down and the reality of the situation sinks in, typically we get overwhelmed and have all or more of the feelings you would have expected us to have in the moment. It's not that this has ever been a "bad" coping mechanism. It's more that the feelings and emotions that follow when we feel "safe" again are rather overwhelming and can be debilitating.

This time, I'm thinking this approach may have actually helped to prevent some additional crises. I still think as things slow down over the weekend and we begin to let our defenses down, some feelings of events from this past week will surface, and while they will probably be uncomfortable, I don't think they'll be overwhelming. I think our laid back approach that voids all emotions in the situations may have helped b/c it did not give my co-worker any ammo from me to allow another excuse for an escalation on his part or for me to have to endure the personal attack that he poured onto another co-worker in our office earlier this week (the attack that I expected would have been targeted at me). The laid back, clear head, no feelings approach helped us lie low the rest of the week at work and avoid any more conflicts, while at the same time allowing us the ability to talk to our supervisor about the problems and use our words well because the mind stayed clear.

We were also blessed to have 2 evenings this week of social interaction unrelated to school. Maybe some of the people we met at these events will become friends down the road and we won't always feel so utterly alone in this town.

It's interesting for me to note that as stressful and horrific as parts of this past week have been, I'd rather do this week over again than the one before. This week was stressful, frustrating, and draining, but no part of it was debilitating. Last week the depression was so debilitating, not only did I feel awful, but I was unable to get anything accomplished.... and there was a huge fear of the unknown of when the depression would lift. The stress this week will probably continue into next week at work, but I see solutions to those issues. Amazing how that one little thing makes a situation feel reasonably easy to bounce back from or like an obstacle that's completely too big to overcome.

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