Over my lifetime I have tried to develop techniques and tricks that would help me get through rough times. Whether that rough time spanned a night where I couldn’t get to sleep, a frustrating work day or even an entire childhood, having a coping method was key to my sanity.
For me, these tricks included off-the-wall things like working out a plan on how I was going to survive during a zombie apocolypse or even designing, right down to the room layout and furniture detail, a weekend getaway home. Whatever the technical or more likely psychiatric term for it is, I have come to know it as detailing.
When I was really young, I lived with my grandmother for a short period of time. That came to a literal crashing halt when one morning as we were returning from the grocery store and buying milk, a young man, drunk and high, hit us head on, killing my grandmother instantly. My only memory of the crash includes looking at her from a lower angle and seeing milk dripping down from the top of her head. No blood, no pain, just milk.
Although it was my mothers own fault I was there that day, for some ridiculous reason her and my step father had one of their friends practice hypnosis on me to see if I could remember any of the details of the crash. See, I have always had this huge cross scar on my left knee that looks like it was from a deep cut that should have almost cut my lower leg off. My mother swore it came from the accident. I had no memory of it at all. It was almost as if this was to settle a bet or something. Anyway, more on the scar in a later blog, so moving on …
When this idiot, who was actually a police officer who worked alongside my stepdick, was trying to put me under, he told me to imagine a peaceful scene and once I had that scene in my mind, to continue to search out more details of it. This would, or should have, eventually lulled me into a deep state of hypnosis.
My scene that day was pulling up to a beach in a small car and getting out and walking towards the water. Following his directions, I started to add more and more details to my scene. Feeling the sun on me while I sat inside the car and a small breeze blowing in from the windows. The feel of the leather on the back of my legs as I was sitting in the car. The hot pavement on my bare feet when I got out of the car. The salty smell I experienced the closer I got to the water. Needless to say the great Houdini wasn’t the one in front of me so I didn’t remember any of the details of the accident but that day he did end up teaching me a method that has stuck with me my entire life on how to cope and calm myself down – detailing.
Over the years I have perfected this detailing method. On some nights, when I am finding it so difficult to get to sleep after a shitshow of a work day, I meticulously go through my plan for fortifying my condo building once the zombie apocalypse has begun. I go over the vegetable seeds and rain barrels and where on our rooftop will be the best position for them; which neighbor I am going to eat first and how I should load up on books now for curing meat and stretching animal hides; even down to the detail of where I will dispose of my poo (obviously on my vegetable seeds). Literally, all of those things that will need to be done. And the more detailed I get with my scenarios, I find the quicker I fall asleep.
When I really think and analyze exactly what I am doing, it really is about breaking things down from moment to moment. Actually, now that I am writing all of this down, I guess it is just my way of living in the moment; only not in the moment that it originally occurred. Not exactly what Eckhart Tolle had in mind but to me, close enough.
And if nothing else, I find that by detailing, I am in control. That means alot when more often than not you feel you have so little control of your day.
So here is to detailing – the perfect coping method. It gets me through the rough times AND prepares me for the zombies!
One thought on “To cope or not to cope, that is the question.”
Your detailing sounds very similar to meditation… and OCD. Several times I’ve attended guided meditation where an instructor has led the group through exactly what you’re describing. And the benefits were similar to the one’s you’ve received. But also, pre-medication, I would lie in bed at night and obsessively review the safeguards I had in place to survive a pandemic or a zombie apocalypse, or a home invasion, etc. Nothing calming or relaxing about that. Stress and second-guessing and worry. Funny how two things that seem so similar can have so very different outcomes.