I'm going to put this disclaimer at the beginning of the post- I AM NOT A THERAPIST. I have no degree in psychology. This post is just the rambling words of a sleepy Mama who is doing her best to share her own life experiences and randomly offering suggestions based on that-because she cares!
These last few weeks have been filled with really hellish moments for me. We've made choices for our family, specifically our daughters, that still leave me with moments of doubt followed closely by panic. I've had to cut people completely out of my life that, based on most societal norms, should be the ones by my side through thick and thin. I've also had to go completely out of my comfort zone and advocate for myself- once when I was feeling extremely undervalued and unappreciated and once, more recently, when I had to admit that I was unable to continue helping someone (or rather a group of someones) that I love a great deal because it was too overwhelming for me to handle on my own.
I don't remember ever being given healthy coping tools growing up. I mean, I'm sure there were things taught at school, but there is a large difference between hearing about these things and seeing them being modeled in your day to day life. My parents were hot messes when I was a child. I'm not saying that to be mean, I love my parents (as best as I can, because without them there would be no me), but just as a matter of fact. I'm going to avoid going into great detail because we'd be here FOREVER, but they were a mess. Overreaction to daily happenings was a big thing-which often led to abusive behavior (physical and emotional-father) or repeated dramatic scenes of storming off (flat out leaving whatever place we happened to be at the time and walking away-mother). Some of those events still, to this day, play out in my mind and I always worry that I'll end up behaving in a similar style, which is why I work so obsessively hard to avoid it.
The most recent time I advocated for myself was the hardest- I hate to disappoint anyone. I also don't really like feeling disappointed in myself. You know what, though? IT'S OKAY! Something was not working out and instead of struggling through and giving into feelings of despair, stress, and anger (and allowing potential negative behaviors to form, based on examples etched into my memory)-I said "hey, this isn't working out". It's an uncomfortable feeling right now, but I am working hard to come to terms with how things played out in this particular situation. I know, deep down, that I put forth my best effort and I'm not able to do anything more than that. I'd say the same thing to anyone else in my situation, so today I'm saying it to myself. IT'S OKAY!
Also, to you: If you are reading this and going through a period of stress at this moment, with your own struggles and finding ways to work through them in a healthy way- IT'S OKAY! Even people with all of the tools can't always remember which ones work best for each situation. Take a few moments to take an inventory of your biggest stressors. Think of a couple of healthy ways to deal with those stressors- Breathing, counting to 10 (or more, if needed), listening to a favorite song (or only a snippet if time is a factor). If you are having daily struggles and finding it more difficult to deal with situations in a healthy fashion, please find someone to talk to- a friend, a trusted colleague, a teacher, a neighbor, a therapist. IT'S OKAY to not have all of the answers and need help and IT'S OKAY to admit that. You don't have to struggle alone!
I'm still a work in progress. Some days all the work I put in to avoid unhealthy coping skills isn't reflected. IT'S OKAY. I apologize when I need to, I try to learn what I can, and I move on knowing that the next day is going to be better because I'm working to make it so!