No, Mom, Your Child Is Smart – Her Coping Mechanisms Just Let Her Down Again.

By: Chitteshwari

Disclaimer: The following is written by someone who knows nothing about mental health.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about coping mechanisms, and how our minds influence our environments, something relatively less thought of as compared to the inverse.

We’re often told to ensure our surroundings are good. Our parents perpetually warn us about the kind of people we befriend, ensuring our time is spent amidst experiences that inculcate goodness in us. On the other hand, the effect of a state of mind on the actions it directs in life is always implicit but makes for an interesting observation nonetheless.

I’ve noticed two categories of people in terms of coping mechanisms. There is one type of person whose immediate environment progressively deteriorates as their mental health does, and there is a second type of person whose worsening mental health makes for environments that are the opposite of what they feel.

For instance, let’s take cleanliness and organization. Every time I feel exhausted mentally, I neglect the condition of my room; mountains of clothes pile up in every chair and corner I can find, my desk collects dust, and my bed remains unmade for days. When there is chaos in my mind, my living space clearly reflects it.

On the other hand, my roommate has an immaculately organized space, with a neatly folded duvet and a precisely organized wardrobe, and an aesthetic calendar with all her events updated on it. Even her laptop is “spotless”, so to speak; her desktop is made up of just the wallpaper; it doesn’t have a single app on it. She has barely two apps pinned to her taskbar, in contrast to people like me who have their laptops lined up with rows and rows of shortcuts to apps- everything right there at first glance for me to grab. She says there is already too much clutter in her mind, so she likes having an almost empty, minimalistic laptop to bring her peace ;to regain equilibrium in her working space.

I tend to believe that the second category is made up of people who are typically higher functioning—people who cope with anxiety or stress by pushing themselves into their work or swimming through periods of over-productivity.

Truth be told, I’ve often felt like mental health is a competition, or rather, coping mechanisms are. I often compare the outcome of similar pressure on me and another person and feel worse about myself when I observe the accomplishments of the other, despite whatever they were going through. There are people out here whose coping mechanisms make them learn new things and move further along in their careers. And my mental health? Well, all it got me was binge-watching yet another television series when I could have been doing so much more.

So I find myself asking if it’s wrong to compare mental health and invalidate the experiences of people with so-called superior coping mechanisms by assuming that they don’t inherently suffer because of it.

Yes.

But does this self-awareness translate into greater maturity and help me focus on my own healing?

No.

Oh well, at least it made for a half-decent blog.

thoughtstains

This blog page serves as a platform for the Editorial department of The Hindu Education Plus Club at VIT Vellore. We provide opportunities to budding authors across campus to hone their writing skills. We publish blogs four times a week, where writers can communicate their views on any topic of their choice with our readers.

7 thoughts on “No, Mom, Your Child Is Smart – Her Coping Mechanisms Just Let Her Down Again.

  1. The only time i feel like organising is if there’s something very stressful that i really don’t want to do and am avoiding like exams😭 It’s aldo so hard to let go of unhealthy coping mechanism

  2. I relate to both of you. The first line is calling me out, i self diagnose way too much even though I have very little knowledge in that area.

  3. binge-watching shows when I have heaps of work that needs to be done to temporarily forget about everything>>>

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