As with most things that I do to cope, this latest one started with a quirk of mine. I suppose it’s actually another coping mechanism that spawned another one.
I went through a period where it was very hard to fall asleep because I’d start panicking and being bombarded by all sorts of intrusive thoughts. In order to counteract this, I invented a story about two characters and a puppy. These characters are kind and happy and have really lame but lovely adventures in the woods with the puppy. I’d settle into bed and then start imagining their latest walks through the forest or star gazing. Nice and calming and most importantly sleep inducing!
I’d find, though, that they’d begin to fight or there would be some tension in the relationship or the puppy would wander too far off. This is not conducive to relaxation and sleep so I’d stop the tension and redirect the characters back to a certain point in the story or calm moment. This story is something that I use often enough that I’ve become practiced at stopping the tension and redirecting.
This is now starting to work with some of my depression and anxiety in the moment. I can catch myself train wrecking the present moment by thinking of a past or future event where I felt or perceive pain to be. I ask myself if this is something I need to sit with and feel in the present or if I am causing the tension in the moment because the voice of depression and anxiety can’t handle something happening right now. If the feeling is not directly tied to the present, I try to stop it gently and guide it back to the now. I don’t beat myself up for pulling myself off course but say hey, this isn’t the story I’m creating right now so let’s go back to that.
And now it’s time for me to snuggle down and think boring thoughts about my characters…