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!