I got a rejection from another agent this morning, I think it’s the fastest rejection I’ve had (two days). I’m up to ‘B’ in the alphabetical list of agents I’m using. I guess when I get to ‘Z’ I’ll have to stop and hope my next book is better.

***

In better news, I had a Zoom talk with my oldest friend. He was really happy about my engagement and asked a lot of questions about E. I think I knew all the answers! My Dad does the same thing, asking lots of questions, and it makes me feel strange, that I apparently just focus on the present in the relationship and don’t ask so many questions about E’s family or personal history. I don’t know if that is an autistic thing or just a personal idiosyncrasy. I suspect the former; autistics are not known for their interest in small talk and inter-relationships (for comparison, my oldest friend immediately searched for mutual Facebook friends he has with E). I’m more focused on the life E and I are building together than the ones we used to have separately. Maybe that’s strange.

After that I went for a walk and had therapy, an extra session squeezed in because I was very anxious over the weekend. We spoke a lot about coping strategies, which I hadn’t really discussed with a therapist before, except in a CBT context, and, as I’ve said before, like a lot of autistic people, I struggle with CBT. I hope some of these alternative strategies will help.

They included:

  • Being mindful in the moment.
  • Mental filter: is this MY problem or am I absorbing someone else’s problem?
  • Writing.
  • Exercising.
  • Focusing on image of water flowing through me, washing away the worries.
  • Listing practical solutions and whether I can do them now – if not, put to one side.
  • Seeing problems as finite and definite.
  • Asking, “Am I frightening myself?”
  • Asking, “What can I do to calm/nourish myself?”
  • Remembering that worrying does not help!

I think they are a mixed bag of practical and more ‘symbolic’ strategies and I guess which ones are more useful will vary from person to person or perhaps from time to time. Certainly I can see some that I’m more willing to try than others. Some seem more of a starting point; being mindful in the moment is good, but I’m not sure how to achieve that at the best of times, let alone when anxiety is running crazy. We didn’t mention the worry tree, but I guess it’s related to the point about listing practical solutions and whether I can implement them now.

I printed off two copies of the list, one to go on my wardrobe door where I’ll see it and one to go with my siddur (prayerbook) on the grounds that blue tacking papers to my wardrobe door makes them visible at random moments for a while, but eventually they blend in and become part of the furniture, whereas if I have to move the sheet every time I daven (pray), I’ll be confronted with the list regularly. I also printed off a copy of the worry tree too, as I’ve lost my copy.

***

We don’t get as much interesting wildlife in our garden in this house compared with our old house (we moved six years ago), but lately we’ve had a green woodpecker with a red head. S/he was in the garden for quite a while today.

8 thoughts on “Coping Strategies

  1. The past is past and is only important in how it’s shaped us or how it may affect our present/future. It can’t be changed although it shouldn’t be completely ignored if we can learn from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I struggle with applying CBT, too. I’ve tried CBT apps that are supposed to help you work through your feelings and “talk yourself down” from an anxious (catastrophizing) state, but they don’t usually work well for me. I think when I’m that anxious, nothing but medication seems to help. Do you keep a list of these various CBT questions and helps nearby to review when you need them or do you simply try to remember them? I’m not good at remembering things when I’m really worked up.

    Liked by 1 person

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