We all have our coping mechanisms. The things we do that get us through hard times.
Mine is that I am able to compartmentalize things. If there is something I can’t deal with, I have a place in my mind where I store it until I am able to. I picture it much like a bank vault where they keep the safe deposit boxes.
This is the organized part of my brain (the other part looks more like an office with all the file drawers emptied out all over the floor, but we’ll save that for another day!)
Each box holds something that I’m not quite ready to let go of yet, but that would be be too paralyzing if I kept them out where I can see them all the time.
I married Mr. Tattered when I was only nineteen, and he had a dangerous job. Every day (or night) when he left for work, I never knew if it was the last time I would see him. I think that is when I started using the boxes. I just tucked the fear in there where I couldn’t see it, and I didn’t have to look at it until I wanted to.
Then I learned that in addition to keeping fears in there, I could keep hurts and worries, too. And over the years, I filled many of them.
When my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, my grief got stuffed in one.
My kids each grew up to also have dangerous jobs, and into the boxes my fears related to them were stored as well.
When my mom died, more grief stored away. When my daughter died, same thing.
Each box has a lock, and mostly I have to mentally use the key to get these things out when I need to visit. Once in awhile I toss something, never to be worried about again, but mostly they are just in there, tucked away. Waiting.
Sometimes to the casual observer, I am “too” able to not think about things. I may seem, at times, like something that should be bothering me a lot, doesn’t. And that isn’t the case at all. It just means I’ve put it in its box so that I can function.
Yeah, I know. Nothing creative going on today – been too busy stuffing things into boxes.
Do you have a coping mechanism? How is it working for you?