Friday, June 29, 2012

Develop Strategies for Coping

OMG could you be more general:

How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

Specific examples of coping strategies, please. I'm in total agreement that crap happens and that it's hard to come up with a crap management plan right then, so plan ahead. One hundred percent.

Probably the most upsetting thing that's ever happened to me was not making WCR when I first tried out. Which is probably a terrible thing to say in light of the fact that I'm the only member of my family who isn't dead, dead from cancer, or diagnosed with cancer. I'm not saying that shit wasn't upsetting, but I still got out of bed. I think when the chips are seriously down, you can't breathe and you know it's life or death and you get up. Whereas to breathe, perchance to whine, but you know what they say, In whino veritas. I didn't get out of bed for three days after those tryouts. I watched three seasons of Entourage. At the end of the week I got out of bed and told my therapist that I was tired of being handed shit and being expected to turn shit into gold, for once in my goddamned life I wanted to be handed gold. To which she said, "I bet people who get handed gold are tired of turning gold into shit." I don't know what I said to that, probably Fuck you. This was before Myra, I never say fuck you to Myra.

But it is true if you've been handed enough shit in your life, you get good at turning it into gold. Or you get good at it if you get good at it, another one of those super helpful things I like to say. And I will say that if you do get good at turning shit into gold, then you were handed gold; that, my friends, is a skill. I write comedy so if I get a handful of shit, I run with it, but in all honesty, I stand before you with my hands full of gold. (Yeah, see? That wasn't funny at all.)

Anyway without further ado, here are a few of my shit-tested strategies:

1. Do no harm

Do you know about Darmok? This is my Darmok for exactly what not to do in the moment:

Aaagh, I can't even watch it. All I have to do is flash to this scene and I know that I don't want to write that email, I mean I want to write that email more than anything else in the world and by I, I mean Satan. Satan lives for moments exactly like this. When you're vulnerable and your guard is down, that's when he gets in and makes you think that you want to do something really stupid.

2. Get deep rest

In one of her books, my favorite life coach Martha Beck tells about mishearing the word depressed as "deep rest." As a person with depression, I can tell you that these words have saved my life. The idea of depression as possibly not an adversary, but an overbearing but well-intentioned friend, has saved my life. When bad things happen, it makes you tired. When you're tired, you need rest. Sometimes depression is to let you know that you need rest.

Myra agrees with this, she says that it's totally okay to get into a funk and check out for three days and you'll get up when you get up. Yeah, I say, except you meant six weeks, right? What can I say, I was pretty much a rubber chicken after I took my exam. All I was doing was keeping the team going and watching television. No seriously, those two things. I was worried that I might be broken for good, but then the day after IKC, bing, toaster got back up, totally functional.

3. Good news, bad news, who knows

So when I'm checked out, I just think this. Good news, bad news, who knows. It is my mantra.

I think the main thing this is good for is, it's a better way to think about the universe than, say, I'm a loser. Believe me, you do not want to get it in your head that the universe has it personally out for you, because a) it's not true, and b) you can make it true. It's way more plausible and workable that the universe frankly does not give a fuck, so don't take it personally, good news, bad news, who knows, or the British version of this, Keep Calm and Carry On, and honestly, who's going to come up with a better coping strategy than that.

4. Go back to your routine

When you're ready to get up, it's good to have something to get back to. Something familiar, something that you know works. Water, morning pages, smoothie, tidy bedroom, tidy kitchen, wash up, and usually if I get that far, I'm good to go.