Hi. My name is Coping Mechanism.

<I like carets. It’s usually me who gets relegated to them.>

<Probably because I provide the witty sarcasm.>

<I’m tempted to write this whole post in carets.> <<But then how can anyone else interject?>>

Sigh. Fine.

*I*, in my wonder and glory, am a COPING MECHANISM.

How would you like to meet someone and be told that you are not real? That you are figment of someone else’s imagination that they are using in order to deal with reality?

Fck that.

So what’s a coping mechanism? Heh heh. Let’s be “official” first, shall we?

Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are things we do in an attempt to deal with adversity, stress, daily life – things that gives us some relief, but may not remove the underlying stressor. Exercising for the endorphin rush; good one. Smoking a bone to dull the pain; no-so-good one.

There’s are a lot of others – blah blah blah – this is not a review. <It’s a tirade obviously.> But here ya go: Nightmares, Physical exercise although that is sometimes considered a negative addiction, Spirituality, Self-defense, Hope (As I said, some coping mechanisms are bad. I think this one is … as these abused women here used “hope for change in their partner’s behavior.” They ought to redirect their efforts into hoping that their gun permit is approved so they can shoot the bastard the next time he tries to abuse them.)

Humor as a coping mechanism – especially dark humor. Patty Wooten, a nursing expert, writes:

[A] sense of humor helps us to manage the stress of care giving. The ‘detached perspective’ that humor provides helps us to disengage from the suffering we witness and, yet, still remain “sensitive

Same can be applied to all of us.

Remember that joke about how many alters it takes to change a light bulb? Yeah, haha. I like it too. But in that one short-and-sweet joke we provide levity to the heavies of lifelong repression and denial. Powerful stuff.

Here are a few worth mentioning if for nothing but twisted reflection.

Blogging as a coping mechanism. Heh. Well fck me, here we are! But I think this study is flawed. They assess psychological makeup of bloggers versus traditional journal keepers or non-bloggers, but the geniuses look only at MySpace bloggers. And one of the factors is degree of “venting.”

Oh, don’t get me started. They used MySpace?

Some intriguing ones: Moral Disengagement and a diffusion of responsibility- coping mechanism for executioners. Really. They distribute the task so no one person feels entirely responsible for the death. Good stuff.

Oh, and here’s one that pisses me off. Mental illness is a coping mechanism. Excuse me, but what a fcking crock of bullshit. Yes, Virginia, bad coping mechanisms exist. And yes, good coping mechanisms exist. But mental illness is not some pretty little habit that you pick up to deal with the stress until you find a better one.

But it’s worse than that. This quote is the concluding paragraph in the essay by Laurie Ahern of the National Empowerment Center: The emphasis is mine.

Mental illness is a coping mechanism, not a disease. And those who know this know that drugs will only fend off the pain for so long and then it comes back again. And it seems to me, the difference between those who recover and those who go on to become chronic, lifelong mental patients are those who are aware of this, those of us who know that a second, third or fourth drug added to our repertoire will not ease the pain. In fact it only increases the pain-when we feel hopeless and helpless. Create a safe space. Find a new way to cope. And I believe you too can recover from your so-called mental illness.

Yes, I believe this woman talked to a lot of people in tough situations. Sounds like she has been through it before and “recovered.” And in the process, got a little high-and-mighty.

If you grow up with depression, suicide, mania and psychosis as role models for coping mechanisms, the more likely you may use these as ways to cope when the need arises.

But my god, is she implying that mental illness is somehow contagious? References please?

Bad coping mechanisms do not cause mental illness! Get your cause and effect straightened out!

By god, Think Happy and you shall Be Happy!


You are a Coping Mechanism

Okay, so let’s get to the meat of the story. You get an idea what constitutes a coping mechanism. You get an idea of what supposedly “experienced” people really think about depression and mental health.

One of the greatest coping mechanisms is the ever-present Dissociation. Dealing with overwhelming feelings by either cutting them out, or creating a new part of you to escape into. The spectrum of outcomes is wide.

Well, check this out. *I* am a coping mechanism. At least according to the shrink.

I am stereotypically the engineer, the architect. The one who will say “fine, fck you, be that way” and not get all upset about things. I have great days, other days suck. That’s life.

I am not a feminist bitch bent on stringing men up by their balls. I generally get along better with men than women, can out engineer most of them, and have the finely-honed sarcasm that leaves the smart ones laughing and the dumb ones oblivious. Life is grand and I have no time to wait.

Emily loves to be in the woods; wide eyed and quiet. I could die of boredom, decay, and be reborn as an eggplant and she would still be poking around in the stream looking for pretty colored rocks. But she likes it and so do others, so that is fine. Calming everyone. We write, take pictures, train, etc. Lotsa stuff.

Stuff that the therapist calls “good coping mechanisms.”

But she doesn’t mean the hobbies, she means us.

Some of this I have to quote from Camigwen’s diaries from last year. Here is one of the first times I just got disgusted with the whole thing. The avoidance and beating around the bush. She denies denies denies.

On my commute two mornings ago, this conversation started in the rolling fields. It built in me – Artist was so excited to get to work and write it out. And there was agreement within me, because Architect <god, why not Kate? What is the problem with just calling me Kate?>

Sigh, part of me is so scared to actually start putting names on selves, like it is some major step away from healing, or if someone reads this maybe they think I am worse than I am. <But who cares? Sam has a name and you’ve called her that since you were 16. What makes everyone else different? >

I don’t remember how Sam got her name. <And that makes it more legitimate? > Pause.

I want to but I am afraid. Am I going down a brainwashing path, am I looking and seeing something in me that isn’t there?

<But this is you – we are you. The therapist called what you are an incredible set of coping mechanisms…is that what we are, a set of coping mechanisms? At least being referred to as an architect is better than as a “coping mechanism” for Christ sake.>

Got Alters?

The REAL Coping Mechanism

Again, from last year.

Here is a thought – the therapist said yesterday that we have such good coping mechanisms <and there’s that somewhat insulting phrase again> that I/Camigwen should take advantage of – the gym, the music.

So then I am thinking, we are in pain. She wants me to drag out a part of me in pain to relieve the rest?

I think she is confusing how I work – I can’t “use” a part of me like that. However, I can ask and look for someone to feel that joy that all of us can share. Otherwise, it’s just the old attacks all over again.

Yes, there is a resentment I can’t let go of about the whole “coping mechanism” thing. Maybe the therapist is not that experienced with DID. Maybe I am not typical DID.

Then it hit us.

I/Camigwen told her I was upset that she referred to myselves as “coping mechanisms.” She again said they are.

No, they are all a part of me, I threw at her. They are not the coping mechanisms, the dividing line between them is the coping mechanism.

We have to get rid of those dividers, I told her, not the selves.

She thought about it and seemed to accept it, thanking me/us for the clarification.

Maybe one more person gets it.

– ∞ –

See also:

List of all posts
Standard Disclaimer: Read now and again before flaming
Will I always be defined by my coping mechanisms?
“Let’s pretend” – a First Step in “I” becoming “We”
Believing the first 4/6 of the Dissociative Spectrum, but not the rest


1 Comment»

[…] From this day henceforth, (and also going back to the insignificant grains of regurgitated hairball compressed into the volume of dark-winged fungus gnats that sparked the beginnings of immortal time), posts with my particularly soft touch will be So Categorized.  Elevated from the insulting moniker of Coping Mechanism. […]

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