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Overcoming A Subconscious Unhealthy Coping Mechanism

There are many steps, and they won’t all work, but giving a fuck about yourself is definitely the first.

Taken by: Sydney Sims

Disclaimer: I am not, nor do I claim to be a health professional. This advice is based on personal experience. These methods are not guaranteed to work. They serve as options to help you begin your journey of self-healing.

My battle with anxiety has always told me I’m not good enough. Being bullied as a kid has left a huge impact on the way I feel others view me.

Over time, and a few harsh—yet needed—call outs, I realized I’d picked up some rather unhealthy, subconscious, coping mechanisms (subconscious because I wasn’t aware I was doing it and never intentionally tried to sabotage myself).

I prided myself on being such an authentic person, yet I was hiding who I really was to the people I called my friends. I became loud, overdramatic, and constantly wild. I was WAY too much for people to handle. While I would call myself a fun and occasionally loud person, I amplified everything to the point where it was SUPER annoying.

I was so afraid of rejection that I decided it was better for people to dislike me for a personality that wasn’t truly mine.

I could deal with it better because I knew the person they found annoying wasn’t the real me.

I’m still on my journey of self-healing, but after years on this road, here’s what I picked up.

Communication. Communication. Communication.

Good communication is one of the most important skills to possess.

I’m not just talking about communication with a friend or partner, I’m talking about communication with yourself.

The best way that I’ve found to communicate with myself is through therapy. In therapy I was able to be honest with myself, and another person, about what I was feeling. I find it a little easier to open up in a place I knew was safe, especially with someone who could give me professional help.

Talking to a therapist helped me be real about my coping mechanisms and how, of all the things I was doing, these habits weren’t great. My therapist and I were able to build a plan where I could adapt new coping mechanisms, leaving old ones behind.

If you don’t have access to therapy, or live in an environment where therapy isn’t an option, you aren’t alone.

Find someone you trust. It could be a friend, family member, coach, teacher, etc. Do what you can to be open about our problems rather than pretending they don’t exist.

While talking is definitely not a walk in the park, bottling your emotions is an accident waiting to happen. Talk. Get your feelings out. Workshop it from there.

Find ways you can take accountability for yourself, or in my case, start journaling.

Journaling was a great way I put my emotions and thoughts out into the universe. I could talk all the shit I wanted and no would ever find out. It became a great outlet, but it also forced me to take accountability for myself. When I was struggling with my unhealthy coping mechanism I wrote down every thought that was racing through my mind.

I reflected on the friendships I lost and how it affected my actions moving forward.

By journaling I was able to keep a record of my emotions and actions that followed. I came to realize that the losses in my life were beginning to corrupt the path in front of me. This allowed me to hold myself accountable for the things I influenced with how I coped.

I think journaling is great because it grants you a clear, palpable way to view progress.

If journaling isn’t your thing there are other ways to hold yourself accountable. While it might suck in the moment…have someone you trust call you out. If they see you slipping back into your old habits, give them permission to say something.

You can’t heal if you aren’t aware of when you’re hurting.

If you don’t have someone that you trust like that, find a way to be more aware of how you cope. Again, journaling helps, but it’s not your only option! Turn on the voice memos app and just rant about how you feel. Take a sip of water every time you find yourself in your bad habit, whatever you need to do to hold yourself accountable and acknowledge that—hey! You’re doing it and it’s unhealthy!

Alternative outlets are a thing!! Use them!!

Breaking a bad habit, even a subconscious one, isn’t easy to do. I had to find alternative outlets to put my energy into in order to keep myself on track.

I chose to put my energy into performance art. I involved myself in everything from choir and musicals to stage crew and lighting design. This consumed all of the time I’d have sat home battling my thoughts.

Finding a creative outlet was the best thing I ever did for myself. Let me tell you I’m not the most creative person. BUT I’m a completely different person today because I allowed my alternative outlets to crowd my brain instead of my self-destructive thoughts.

It doesn’t have to be performing! Ride a bike, figure out how to make that complicated—but tasty as fuck—latte (and that’s on being a barista), schedule more hangouts with friends, or out and get some air!

Occupy your time in ways that work FOR you, not AGAINST you.

Active, positive reinforcements are important as fuck. Find stone one and build on it.

Whether it’s buying crystals every time you avoid your bad habit, leaving kind notes to yourself, or just literally saying “I’m strong and I’m enough” as a reminder, you need to remember to reinforce positivity.

When I was struggling I bought a bunch of inspiring quotes that preached strength, self-love, from Icing and hung them all over my room. In moments where I struggled with my emotions and healthy coping mechanisms, I would read the quotes and be reminded of how far I’d come.

Taken by: Laura Chouette

Surrounding myself with positive reinforcements was so important, as I needed a visual reminder that I was a badass who could take on anything.

While you might not need/want 30 inspirational quotes surrounding you... we all need something that is an active, positive reinforcement.

If you do something good? REWARD YOURSELF! YOU DESERVE IT!

There are many steps, and they won’t all work, but giving a fuck about yourself is definitely the first.

If you ignore everything in this article, then fine, I won’t hold you. Everything can be argued, and not everything works. But no matter what your path is, or where your journey of healing begins:

You need. To give. A fuck. About you.

~Trust the good vibes and spread all the love!


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