“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” ~Emory Austin
For as long as I can remember, music has been a part of my world. I love music just about as much as writing, and somehow they go hand in hand for me as I can listen to a song and can come up with the prettiest poem or the craziest story depending on the genre being played. I can say that music saved me a great deal in my teenage years, as I would sit for hours on end just playing songs. I could hear songs in my head 24/7, but I was never really good at putting them down on the piano. Music was a way for me to express the sadness, exhilaration, mellow moods and even emo feelings that would rain over my brain. My mom used to say she knew when I was sad because she’d hear it on the keyboard as I played.
When I went to college and took piano lessons, I was thankful for the little piano rooms we could practice in because I’d sit for hours in one of them and just make up a bunch of chords that sounded beautiful and were soothing to me.
Along with music, was and always will be my writing. For years, I wrote poetry. I started off with the old-fashioned poetry where every other line rhymed. Sometimes, I’d mix it up and have two lines rhyme and so on. Then I discovered my ultimate favorite style of poetry, and that’s free-form. I actually did a Nanowrimo a few years back where I wrote all 50k words in free-form poetry. Looking back on that phase of my life, it was all too flowery, and I doubt highly I will ever allow the world to see those poems. That’s kind of when I lived a part of my life, like an “ostrich with its head buried in the sand.” I didn’t want to face reality. Everything was hunky dory while everything really was not…but writing kept me sane.
Now, I have to say that keeping myself organized is another coping skill that I use in the way of a bullet journal. Because I am so creative, the bullet journal is very relaxing for me to draw in as well write down what needs to be done, books I want to read, etc. Each bullet journal that I’ve seen is different from the next because that’s what the whole purpose of it is: make it your own.
I don’t know about anyone else, but my anxiety will tend to make me hyper at times, and this whole walking away thing does not really work for me. One thing I have learned to do in the manner of coping skills for that is giving myself a ‘time-out” for however old I am at that time. So, I am 36; therefore, my “time-out” is for 36 minutes. And during that time, I am inhaling deeply, counting to 10 and exhaling slowly using my diaphragm. I didn’t learn about this one until I went to therapy, and my therapist noticed I’d get so upset I couldn’t breathe and was in a sense starting to hyper ventilate. Proper oxygen wasn’t getting to my brain, and doing this exercise is a way to get that oxygen to your brain so you can calm down.
I also love to go on long walks. Walks in the spring and autumn are my absolute favorite when I can breathe in fresh air, hear the birds sing or fly south and just enjoy creation. One of my absolute favorite places to hike was in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I used to love hiking up to Jefferson Rock then on up to the cemetery. I loved looking down at the river and up higher at the Appalachian Trail. To me, there is something so calming about nature itself.
There is one more thing that I need to research a bit further on and that is the weighted blanket. This is supposed to be used for anxious people to calm them down and allows them to get a good night’s rest. If anyone knows more about that, feel free to leave your feedback in the comments.
As for coping skills for depression? That’s a little different as sometimes, one can barely move let alone get out of bed. But making yourself move, making the blood flow through your body by that movement, and making yourself follow a daily routine is probably about the best advice I could give. I happen to have two beautiful children who are my reason at getting out of bed. Even at my lowest points, if I could just get out of bed and make them a bowl of cereal, I was feeding them and making sure they were okay. There was nothing sadder than the times, they worried about me. Hearing the words, “Are you ok, Mom?” was a heartbreak for me as I wanted to lie and say everything is ok. Kids have a way of kicking one in the seat of the pants.
In closing I want to add a short poem I did about a year ago.
Return To Happiness
Today is the first day
Of the rest of my life…
I will show up to wherever I am needed
I will smile because I can…
Tomorrow has yet to arrive
And yesterday is gone…
I only have today
To make memories and dream dreams…
My return to happiness is slow
But steadiness will win this race…
Embracing my deep pain with a smile
For the opposite of death is life…
I close my eyes and look at the stars
Wherever you may be…
I feel your presence ever near
Keeping a hold on me
Reminding me, it’s about today…
The first day of the rest of my life.
Showing me I can hold an outstretched hand
For those near and far, past and present
Are forever, here together.