I Can't Cope! What Do I Do?

I Can't Cope! What Do I Do?

Hi and welcome to our blog about those that can't cope and what to do! I can't speak for everyone but I'd like to think we are all equal and have all had moments in our life where we have mentally thought "I just can't cope". It is a frustrating moment often filled will various emotions and the lead up to it can vary from person to person. It isn't something you can necessarily anticipate as it can be a moment without the person giving away anything physically or it can be a scene from a drama you just saw at the movies where the person accelerates into a mini breakdown or even further. My name is Brent Webster and I'd like to share that I've had moments where I felt I couldn't cope and I didn't know what to do. Do I still get these moments? Sure, but now they are few and far between with many of these moments being what I would consider to be significant and I feel like I get better at coping every day. Am I an expert in this topic? No, I am not, but I have discovered better coping strategies with the help of professionals and I wanted to share what I've learned so maybe it can help you too.

Some people will experience this moment of "I can't cope" and go on "dealing" with it, others will seek help and still others will walk a path that is not what anyone seeing the aftermath would call coping. First of all, let's talk about the things that help some people cope better than others generally. These are widely discussed and generally nothing new but contribute to what is commonly referred to as personal resilience. Widely available information indicates that this includes, but is not limited to, having a healthy diet, adequate sleep, low consumption of stimulants / depressants (i.e. alcohol, caffeinated drinks and nicotine), regular exercise / recreation, having friendships, spending time with the family and / or giving back to the community. These are all things that people are generally encouraged to do, we don't always follow but are the base for what many people believe contribute to people being "happy". Stress is probably one of the most talked about subjects throughout your life that is now increasingly discussed in workplaces because it is considered to be a leading indicator of many causes of lower productivity. Stress is also considered to have a fairly significant impact on personal resilience, your health and your state of mental health.

So, now you know all about what everyone recommends we do to be happy, what do I do when "I can't cope!" moments occur? Well this is where, what is commonly referred to as positive coping strategies come in. A coping strategy is a tool that is employed when an event occurs and allows us to handle our reaction to this event ultimately determining our ability to cope in this situation. A good coping strategy is one that allows us to identify and anylyse negative reactions that arise from events to implement better strategies to overcome our reactions with positive outcomes. It sounds very formal but what is actually being said here is we are learning to respond more positively when faced with events that would normally have us responding negatively or with strong negative emotions. Keep in mind, we develop coping strategies from birth and employ them without knowing what they are such as communication skills or how to handle certain social interactions but, these can sometimes be insufficient as we only learn what we are taught. A new coping strategy can be general or individually tailored, it can be many things but needs to work for you. Sometimes they can take some time before they become effective as it is a matter of forming a new habit, thought pattern or because we don't use the strategy as it was intended. How do I determine what coping strategy to use? Well lets be honest about this, we often like things simple or to get things for cheap / free but it is less likely that if you experience these moments that you can find one right for you without a professional. For example, doing yoga could be a coping strategy for you as it relaxes you but if you have the "I can't cope!" moments then it likely isn't right for you.

What should you look for in a positive coping strategy? A coping strategy is a process that does three things, it should help you identify stressors (things that cause you stress) when an event occurs, allows you to calm yourself if you are becoming stressed when an event occurs and lastly allow you to over time become less prone to negative reactions when stressor events occur. A coping strategy should be viable for your situation so people who experience trauma such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Domestic Violence Victims, Severe Bullying will be able to cope too. This means that someone who experiences PTSD may need specific coping strategies or the same one given to them might be suitable for someone who is facing the potential of losing their job as an example. A coping strategy is effective when it can be demonstrated that people recover when using them, better coping strategies have people recovering more quickly (better recovery rate) and consistently but keep in mind that nothing works overnight. Now that you know what a coping strategy is, let's redefine personal resilience for you as well...personal resilience is implementing coping strategies over a long period that demonstrates our ability to cope with events, not just being healthy and social. Good health pratices are important don't get me wrong but, this is also a form of coping strategy as well but is generally not sufficient in itself to mitigate against more severe stressors.

It is my strong suggestion that if your personal resilience is not enough and you find yourself having moments where you can't cope that maybe you are at a point where you need a better coping strategy. We recommend speaking to friends / family about your issues and making an appointment to see a counsellor. If you are interested you can arrange to see one of our counsellors, visit our main website or contact us. We also have some books that are soon to be available on Google Books for selected scenarios that may help guide you but keep in mind that we are here to help if you need us. Keep an eye on our blog for book releases if you are interested, thank you for your time, for reading our blog post and it would be great if you feel the need to share or like our articles via one of our social media platforms with the @ActsIntuitively tag as applies.

Brent Webster
Technical Services Manager

Bunbury, Western Australia

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