Why bother developing coping skills?
Why bother using them?
If you’ve ever asked the questions— you’re not alone.
When we’ve been beaten down, again and again and again, it’s normal to ask the question: why bother?
Feeling despair doesn’t mean you’re a loser or being negative. It means you’re probably exhausted and sad.
I don’t think people SHOULD learn and use coping skills “just because.”
I’ve worked with a LOT of people who think their lives have to resolve around recovery simply because, well, it’s what you do when you’ve had certain life experiences, right?
You go to therapy because you’re “supposed” to. Maybe you go into the hospital once or twice a year because that’s just “how it works.”
(I even know therapists who expect their people to be hospitalized once or twice a year, mostly because, you know “that’s just how it works” for some people.)
Nobody wants their lives to revolve around coping or just getting by. I don’t want your life to revolve around coping or just getting by.
I want you to cope and get by so you can get back to what matters.
Depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction— they all drag us away from what matters. From what we really want.
We didn’t ask to be dragged away. For most of us, the circumstances that led to our pain were set into motion even before our birth.
For many of us, part of what we struggle with is encoded in our genetics; other parts of our pain were embedded in our early environments; still other parts of our burden are but into our present environments and relationships.
All of it drags us away from what we actually want.
Actually, it’s more than that: depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma…they all drag us away from who we really are.
What’s more, they often actually convince us we are someone we are not.
Depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, often try to convince us that they ARE our personalities. They pervade our experience such that it becomes difficult to imagine life WITHOUT them…and as a result, we actually feel conflicted about getting rid of them.
That’s a hell of a trick.
You are not your struggles. You are not your painful feelings. You are not your impulses.
There is a “you” separate from all of that.
You are IMPACTED by all of those things…but the net effect of them is to pull you away from who you really are and what you’re really all about.
There is zero question that managing our symptoms, our pain, our daily struggles, is time and energy consuming.
It can very much FEEL like those struggles have essentially BECOME our life.
But they’re not.
Learning to manage those struggles is the pathway BACK to your life…or maybe TO your life for the first time.
I want you to feel good.
I want you to feel alive.
I want you to feel interested.
I want you to feel rested and energized.
THAT’S why I think it’s worth bothering with coping tools and skills and strategies.
THAT’S why I think this whole project matters.
Not because overcoming your emotional and behavioral challenges will GIVE your life meaning…but because it will give you more and more opportunity to rediscover and create meaning that YOU choose for your life.
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