We all do it. Everyone has coping mechanisms to help them get through the various parts of the day. For many people, perhaps, they are part of a learned routine. Our parents drank coffee, for example, so it seems to make sense that we might do the same.
For people with any kind of mental or emotional challenge, however, coping mechanisms are critical to survival. Drinking coffee is something more than the injection of caffeine into one’s body; it is having a warm cup to hold, it is the feeling of the liquid running down one’s throat, it is the ability to delay answering a question because one’s mouth is full of coffee, giving one time to think of an appropriate answer rather than the one that first popped into their head.
In the evening many use wine in a similar fashion with the added bonus that the alcohol changes how one feels so that the depression becomes a little less oppressive or the anxiety is a bit less edgy or the attention deficit is perhaps slowed just a little bit. What some mislabel as addiction is a critical aspect of survival. Can one do without these things? Probably, but that means leaving one’s psychosis out in the open, unguarded and vulnerable. What happens when we are without our coping mechanisms is often embarrassing or even ugly. Having those coping mechanisms is critical to achieving acceptable social interaction.
While one’s morning and evening mechanisms might be consistent and predictable, in between the two comes the dance, moving and gyrating from one coping mechanism to another as one maneuvers their way through the challenges of the day. A difficult co-worker says something mean? Shift to the left, dodge the blow to the ego, keep dancing. A project suddenly blows up? Spin, twirl, so that the reality is ambiguous and the consequences are easy to ignore. Dance through the day like no one’s looking because if they were looking they might not like us.
This set of photos seeks to capture those coping mechanisms, from the morning routine through the dance and into the evening routine. Each section is processed differently to reflect how differently we approach the challenges. The evening mechanism is foggy, the day leaving one in a haze, the wine glass being the only thing that’s clear.
Such is a daily reality for millions of people. Without our coping mechanisms, we wouldn’t survive.
Our tremendous thanks to Megan for posing for these images and to Kat for providing makeup services. Clicking on any thumbnail opens the entire gallery.