Signs that I’m not coping

One.
Nail polish.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it goes back to the days of puritan ideals of good quiet little obedient girls who always dressed nicely, acted “ladylike”, and never had a challenging or angry thing to say. Anger?! Girls didn’t get angry. They may wear selected colours of nail polish such as light pink – on special days such as weddings or birthday parties. So that might explain why my nail polish started off black – and now encompasses a whole array of different colours. I feel powerful, sexy, creative and purposeful with nail polish. So that is why it is often my number one thing when I’m not coping.

 

Two
drawings and writings on my wrist.

This goes back to my recovery from self harming days. I remember in high school I always liked to draw on myself. I guess if was a way of reclaiming me, amongst the bullshit of perfect images, sporting teams, and external sexual pressures. I wore my tracksuit a lot, and it felt good to have something secret beneath it. Some act of rebellion that I couldn’t get a detention for.

As time continued – cue some pretty screwed up experiences and situations, and internalised shame and pain took over. So I cut myself. That became about freedom and expression. There was a time when I cut with a razor so bad (okay, obviously not “so bad” that I died… I’m still here. I get that. But it was the most I had cut/bled). I bled so much that the blood seeped through my clothes and stuck to the pillow I was using to hide it. I lifted the pillow with my dried blood. Despite the weird space of euphoria I totally got that it was too much and I had to choose to not.

Drawing kind of just eventuated from there. I was already drawing on my legs. I began drawing rather than cutting. It calmed me down. When I was in epic pain – I would get bruises from using a pencil so hard. But drawing was the transition from my very deep link of pain = more pain to acknowledging that I was in pain and needed to check out of my analytical mind for a bit.

Usually writing on my wrist is more of a ‘fuck you life’ kind of message. Even if it is “calm. serene. love.” which it was for 3 weeks before leaving my last job. Writing is usually a pretty big signal that I’m on my last legs of sanity.

But in saying all that, if I find that I really resonate with something, I might write it on my wrist as a reminder. The notion of “nothing is fatal” is an example of this. This was empowering and connecting. But that phrase probably needs to be explained more first.

 

three.
pinterest.

I love pinterest. Which i think is the point. When I’m not coping with the world I go to my alter ego on pinterest and find all sorts of things that sing to my soul. It’s a matter of finding images and words that resonate on a different level; a different expression to my every day experience. It expresses a part of me that seems so real.

 

four.
sleep.

The irony being I often can’t sleep properly when I’m not coping with stuff. But, like, right now, I’m in bed hoping that sleep will come and take all the anxieties away with it.

 

five.
lists.

Probably the most useless-disguised-as-useful is write lists. Over and over again. Sometimes the same stuff, sometimes different stuff. Lists and lists. Like somehow if there are just enough lists of the chaos, then maybe it will all make sense. It doesn’t.

 

six.
ask for help.

This is not done lightly. And most probably very dismissively. I’ll call my husband and tell him I’m not coping. I mean it. I mean that I’ve forgotten how to breath properly (yes, despite my training in yogic breathing techniques aka pranyama). I mean that there is so much fog, I can’t see through it. And I need help.

But whisper or cough a hesitation at something I say or even talking to me … I think I’m burdening you and I am weak and I will hang up, or leave politely.

 

This isn’t meant as a “here is a list of when to worry about me”. It isn’t about attentions seeking. This is about self reflection and introspection. 🙂

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