Who hasn’t heard of the ostrich with it’s head in the sand? I know I have been guilty of trying to hide from my problems. Sleep has been a coping mechanism of mine for a long time, and sometimes that works and other times I am just hiding from my problems.
Without the proper coping skills adversity can break us creating even more problems to solve, there are many unhealthy ways in which we hide from our problems both literally and figuratively. Drinking or using mind altering drugs is a form of hiding, and unfortunately this unhealthy behavior is encouraged and role modeled on television, in music and in society. How often have you heard or seen someone talk about going out for a drink after a bad day at work, or home? Ask yourself this: What is it about drugs or alcohol that people turn to them when they are in a bad place? Think about what you have heard people say when they say they want a drink? They usually want to forget about their problems, but what other problems might result from that choice? Drinking has become so intimately associated with feeling good that most people don’t even consider that they can have a good time without alcohol, and that one or more drinks cures all emotional woes. I am not advocating for prohibition but I am advocating that we really need to carefully look at the messages that we are sending and receiving. Alcohol effects one’s ability to think clearly, so why would we want to encourage someone whom is already in a state of distress to inhibit their thinking anymore, and we should always role model moderation.
The last couple of weeks at SOMS have been very stressful, out of the blue our Program Manager resigned from her position, and that has resulted in extra work and responsibility for those of us left behind. I know when and what stresses me and dealing with life’s curve balls is hard enough as an adult, but how good are we at identifying when a youth is under stress, and how understanding and empathetic are we? Often our definition of stress and their definition of stress are two totally different things. What may seem like the end of the world to them may seem small and insignificant to us, but how we feel is not the point what is important is taking the time to listen, take them seriously and help guide them to find the best solution. Take a moment to recall a time when someone did not take your concerns seriously, did they blow you off, tell you that you were making a mountain out of a mole hill …? How did that make you feel? Why would you want to do the same thing to someone else?
On a personal note: how have I been coping? I left early from work one day I was not being useful and needed to take care of me when things just felt too overwhelming, I prioritized my responsibilities so that I was able to focus on high priority needs and not get bogged down with tasks that could be put on hold, I rely on friends, family and volunteers (big Thank You to Summer Barea and Jennifer Walter for their help), and I pray A LOT. How do you cope? Sharing your coping skills can help others to improve theirs. Sometimes adversity can feel like it is never ending, but all you have to do is take a trip down memory lane and you will see that you have gone through adversity before and come out on the other side “this too shall pass.”