How do I cope better because my coping mechanisms aren’t working anymore?

For the past 3 years I have been struggling mentally but the past six months or so, I’ve been having panic attacks and negative thoughts. I need help
Asked by Rex

Off the Mark

As the title of this passage indicates, you have found coping skills that worked before don't anymore. Has anything changed in your life to lead to this conclusion that they aren't working anymore? What do you notice about yourself and your situation, or have your thoughts on things changed? It's an obvious statement, but though we sometimes perceive the world and our place in it as stagnant, it is constantly changing, and it's best we do as well. 

What we do with change is not try to apply old mechanisms on new things but to work on stepping back from the entire war that is being played out at our expense. We get dragged into this push and pull and feel the only way to manage is to participate in this battle every day. We wake up and feel stressed because we believe something about ourselves and others, our environment, and what it takes to survive in that environment. We believe that stress or being stressed or anxious is how to stay vigilant and productive. In reality, we believe our thoughts too much that tell us something is or isn't working. 

I asked the initial questions if anything in your life has changed. It is an exciting phenomenon when people's environments change, and they don't recognize that they did. Our mind is meant to see patterns and fill them in without noticing a difference. The reality is your old "coping" does still work just as well as it did before, but you have changed, and now you need to change how you perceive what "successfully managing" your mental health looks like. 

The first thing to do is to practice the awareness of yourself, the internal self, however. In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl talks about being a prisoner in the concentration camps in WWII. He talks about laying there one night, realizing that all he had, his family, career, clothes, and a full belly of food, had been taken from him. He realized that no matter what the outside could take from him, they couldn't take his inner values. This provided him with overwhelming peace because he still got to live for the one thing satisfied people live for, their purpose. 

The purpose is not driven by good days or bad days but by the desire to accomplish what you set out to do. However, your accomplishment in values-based living is not always measurable or an observable goal, but it is like a direction that you head towards, never fully complete.

For example, I value being transparent and wanting to see that in others because I know it provides peace and energy when people are. I practice this every day and ask other people to do it as well. I ask people reflective questions and give them the room to say anything they don't otherwise put into words. This helps people to get to know themselves and get to sit with who they really are, not what their minds tell them they are. 

Who are you? What do you stand for? What is your mental health interfering with, merely your peace? Why do you let it, and what stops you from accepting it and learning to live with it and saying that this is your life, it is not good or bad, it is yours, and you own all aspects of it? When you buy a house, you also buy all the house's problems. These are just as much yours as anything. Having gone through life, our mind and thinking are no different; they all make up you. No one thing is you, and no one thing will make you "better" than how you see yourself and your situation. 

Do yourself a favor and drive all of this pain into a purpose. Pain without purpose is suffering. Find meaning in it all. Otherwise, you will constantly be held to the belief that you will not find the elusive contentment until.... (fill in the blank).