How are you self-medicating your life?


For the first time in my life, I find myself living alone, my bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom are all mine, and I must admit it has been absolutely wonderful and exhilarating experience. This is the sixth month, and I can tell you for free that it has been an illuminating journey of self-evaluation and actualisation. It is truly a privilege because I have come to know thy self-better as I am not able to run away from myself or who I am because all I have is me within my four walls. I have been forced to truly appreciate the good things about myself, and to also face some harsh truths about myself.

I have discovered good things, bad things, and downright shocking things about myself. However, the area which has been mostly illuminating for me, is what I do when I experience any form of rejection, pressure, bad news or when life is simply not going my way and I am scared about the future. Things that I do when I do not want to deal or acknowledge my feelings, whether it be feelings of being inadequacy, being hurt, anxiety or even fear. Usually when I am put on the spot, I pray because I am a “good” Christian, however, I have noticed a shocking pattern that I never really saw before. I have begun to realise that although I pray and give the situation to God, I have developed unhealthy coping mechanism in my time of need. Who knew, I actually had a coping crutch? A coping crutch can be anything from church, to hiding in the office pretending to be busy instead of facing family problems at home, to sleeping around, to drinking, to drugs, to living beyond ones means, and sometimes it can even be an ex. My coping crutch for example goes something like this: being an introvert, I withdraw from people completely, and then binge on TV and food. Why do I do this? Upon investigation I have found that I do these two things because they give me a high. While TV takes me away from my problems by transporting me to another world where my problems and anxieties do not exist, food just makes me happy. It gives me a high but a temporary one nonetheless might I add. Thus, I become like a junky chasing after a temporary high and trying to make it last as long as possible.

My life during these seasons often goes helter skelter, at least on the private and personal end. I continue to do work normally, but my personal life continues to burn and crush. It is unbalanced as I continue searching for that illusive high that never lasts. A high that always leaves me needing more but feeling worse. Being out of balance is a horrible feeling as you not only suffer personally, but those closest to you also pay heavily. So yes, TV, food and withdrawing had become my coping crutch. During this seasons of my life I  not only feel lost but  like  I am in a prison .

I find it startling that I never noticed it before. It was as if I have been living like a zombie never really realising what I was doing or even why I was doing it. I was just going through the motions. I just assumed I loved being alone and binging on series because I am an introvert, and that I was overeating because I have a healthy appetite. Further, the worst thing about coping crutches is that they can easily turn into addictions. Thus, now I know better, so, whenever I find myself immersed in a season where all I can think about is watching TV and food is my constant companion, plus I have no interest in having a social life, I now know that I am in trouble and that I need to run to God. That I need to acknowledge my feelings of inadequacy, fear, anxiety , and to evaluate myself in order to understand why I am feeling the way I am feeling, and after to leave the problem in God’s hands.

In closing, there is nothing wrong with watching TV or even enjoying alone time or food, the key question about a life crutch is asking yourself whether what you are doing is balanced and controlled, or are you out of control in that area of your life.

Jeremiah 29:11-13  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Mathew 6: 25-34  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Ms Annie

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