This month’s Expressive Arts Carnival activity is “coping”.
I confess: this one was my idea. I first came across this activity in group therapy last year. The aim was to think about a time you felt you couldn’t cope, and represent all the things you did in order to cope.
For most of us, whether we recognise it or not (and it’s common for survivors to be in that ‘not’ category), we have a whole range of strategies and tools we use for coping. One of the ideas behind this activity was to recognise and pay respect to the resources we have within us.
Some of our copings mechanisms are maladaptive, even downright destructive in my case. But they serve (or served) a purpose at a certain time in our lives. Problems come when we rely solely on one thing, no matter what that thing is, really. Take chocolate, for example. It’s sweet, and yummy, and sometimes just the fix we need. But if we only ever turn to chocolate, then we end up fat and sick. An exaggeration, perhaps, but you get the point.
I posted an original entry on this theme back when we did this activity in group. You can check out my piece here.
This time around I’ve represented things a little differently. I wanted to capture not just the range of things I’ve done to cope, but the progression in them as well. When I first started out on my healing journey I turned most often to those maladaptive strategies I’d used in the past – cutting, getting drunk, etc. As my healing progressed, I became more able to seek out things that weren’t just about “coping” but also about soothing and helping myself. I’ve used a spiral to represent this, as many times I returned to the old ways of coping, though less so as time has gone on.
I also want to share this image with you – it’s nothing at all to do with the Carnival, though does fit my spiral approach. I came across it online and found myself captivated by it. I love it!