Friday, February 3, 2023
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Coping with Chronic Pain – It’s OK to not be OK

Coping with Chronic PainHave you ever on a bad day just gone into auto pilot? You start having this almost out of body experience where you feel like you’re watching everyone from the other side of a window.  You numb yourself; you can’t feel anymore, you can’t think, you are totally emotionless. This is what is called coping.

So what is the difference in when you’re coping and when you’re being strong?

I’ve been thinking about this because of a couple of days I’ve had this past month. I’ve had some days where I was in so much pain I just went into auto pilot. I went into that out of body experience because I couldn’t handle the pain I was in. I think I’ve done that so much in the past 5 or so years that it’s almost an automatic reaction that I can’t control anymore. I learned how to do this before I was diagnosed. When I didn’t have a constant supply of pain pills, and an explanation for the pain I was in.

When I think of coping this is what I think of. I think of the days I have to separate myself from the rest of the world even if no one understands what is going on with me. It’s one of those times that I feel like I shut down inside and shut everyone out. That is what I feel like coping is. I don’t like coping. I don’t like the feeling of not being myself. I don’t like feeling distant from everyone and everything around me. But sometimes that’s the only way you can get through.

So if that’s coping then what is strong?

I feel like being strong is dealing with it. I think if you can disconnect yourself for those moments you have no other choice but to and you can come back and reconnect with the people around you that is being strong. It’s when coping takes over that you stop being strong.

If we’re all honest, when you’re in that coping mode and you know in the back of your mind what you’re going to feel like as soon as you reconnect, we’d all rather just stay there. We’d rather be distant and numb and not have to deal with the pain that everyday life with Endo brings. Not just physical but emotional pain. The pain when no one understands why you feel the way you do. When you are so sick of having to tell someone you don’t feel good. When you long to feel like being as active as the people around you. When you get tired of disappointing not only the people you love but yourself. That is when being strong comes in. That’s when you say “No I’m not numbing myself to life.” It’s when you are strong enough to face the life with Endo. It’s when you are strong enough to face the day.

Knowing when to cope and knowing when to be strong is sometimes the hardest part. I tend to go into “coping” mode for two reasons. 1) Pain. Physical horrible pain that takes your breath away and makes you want to fall to your knees. Thankfully since I’ve had my Depo-Provera shots I have only had a few of these days in the past few months. On a side note, if you’ve never tried or heard of Depo I highly recommend you talk to your doctor and see if that may be an option for you. It is by far the best treatment I’ve had so far. 2) That horribly dragged down, worn out, feel like you’re going to fall apart kind of days. When you stay busy you eventually get worn down, but when your body is constantly fighting a disease, whether you feel it or not, it makes a huge difference on how fast your body can get worn down. On the days I feel like all I want to do is lie down and cry myself to sleep but I can’t, that is when I start coping.

Coping is a normal response. It’s something we have to do sometimes to survive and keep ourselves sane.  One of my biggest struggles is to stop myself from going into coping mode and just asking someone for help. To admit that I feel terrible, to say I need a rest and time to put myself back together. We all fall apart and learning to cope is a way to keep from doing it as often but being strong and saying “I can’t do this alone,” that is when real strength comes in.

I know for me, I hate admitting that I feel terrible and I need someone to help me out. I feel like that is me being weak. But really, what could be stronger? Being strong is knowing that you can’t do it alone. It’s putting your health above your pride or your fears.

Coping is normal and necessary to make it through some days. But don’t forget to be strong. Being strong is fighting back.

And I already know how strong each and every one of you ladies are, after all you’ve made it this far.

Much love and pain free wishes!

Power Team Writer

This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.


  1. Lisa


  2. Jenessa

    Thank you for this post 🙂 I just started reading through some of these stories and articles today. I’m still fairly early along in my endo journey but am struggling more and more in dealing with the onslaught of emotions and different pain that has become part of my life.

    • Rachel

      Learning to deal with all the emotions that come with facing something as life changing as this is a very hard battle to learn how to fight. Just never ever ever give up and know that no matter what you have a group here that will support you through it all. <3 Rachel

  3. deby

    now i think i get it …my hubby n i were jus talkin bout this today that i didnt feel good i was so so tired n i needed help sumone to pick me up n carry me to rest n cook for me n drive me where i need to go i said i jus couldnt move..and i need help…..i thought i was bein weak n jus felt quilty for feelin like this,,,,,but i was being strong n askin for help,,,usually i cope n cope n yes i do feel numb alot of the times im jus tryin to exist,,,,,,ty for such an enlightment….i truly understand now…God Bless all women!!!!!!

    • Rachel

      I personally am so proud of you! Asking for help is very hard for me and I just want you to know that at the moment you asked for help you were being so beyond strong. I can’t tell tell you how happy I am that you have the bravery to dig down and find that strength.
      <3 Rachel

  4. Barbara

    I don’t have Endo, but I am a breast cancer survivor (Oct. 1st is my 2nd year since surgery) and with all the drugs that cause bone and joint pain and severe hormonal side effects, I kind of know what you are talking about. I have been on auto pilot since diagnosis and I still have not yet processed it that I HAD CANCER! I still work full time 6 days a week and just put the auto pilot button on. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but it’s all I know for right now. I wish you well and as I say..onwards and upwards.

    • Rachel

      On Barbara I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through and my heart breaks for you. My only advice is learn to feel again. I know how hard that is. I think sometimes the only way I survived collage and work and everything else was by coping. Oddly enough my little brothers were what made me want to feel. I wanted to feel the joy I would see them have over simple discoveries and not feel fake. Feeling hurts I’m not going to lie. Because when we open ourselves up to feeling we have to take the good with the bad. I promise that even if you feel like you have more hurt than joy that the moments of joy you have will be worth the pain. And remember you’re not alone. If you feel overwhelmed or like it’s all too much you have a group of sisters here that are here for you.
      <3 Rachel

  5. pat

    thanks for the great article feel like I have been just coping for the last year. I did have endo but ended up with a hysteritomy now I’m dealing with rheumitoid artritis which I’ve had for twelve years was doing good with being strong but the last year has been horrible just coping but hopefully will be strong again one day

    • Rachel

      Pat you will be strong again! The past few months has been terrible for me but I’m learning I can’t wait on the strength to find me I have to learn to step out first. I will be praying for you
      <3 Rachel

  6. Monica

    Thank you! This applies to all chronically ill people. I have autoimmune inflammatory arthritis (since age 3- polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is what they call it now).

  7. Kristy Getz

    Thank you so much for sharing. I so know what you are talking about and thank you for separating the two. I needed that. Like Lisa said….powerful and also beautifully put. Thanks again and just to put it out there I am thinking of all you other ladies who are going through hardships, pain, and chronic diseases. We can be strong! We have our coping mechanisms but also being strong can be the catalyst that will take us to another level of living. Living our lives with hope, dignity, and happiness. Much love!

  8. Jessica

    I feel exactly like this. I’m in not only terrible physical pain but emotional and mental as well. Thank you for putting into words how i feel

  9. Ms. Rants

    You clarified coping and strength so well. This is just how I feel, and I’m impressed how well you explained it. I think you’re right, that asking for help is a form of strength. It can be hard to remember that, but I need to try, because it’s so much better to ask for help than to try and cope without it. Of course, some days will just be coping days no matter what, but I’m trying to have fewer of those when I can. Thanks for the great article!

  10. Kelly Joy

    Thank you so much for having the courage to talk about this. I’ve been struggling with physical pain and the emotional pain it has caused for a long time now. I have felt alone, sometimes breathlessly desperate for someone to understand and validate how I feel. You’ve done this for me without even knowing me and have inspired me to muster up the courage talk about the things that make strength seem impossible at times. As a strong military woman these things are extraordinarily difficult. Thank you thank you for making my world seem less lonely. Thank you for sharing for wearing your heart on your sleeve… and the internet.

  11. vicki mair

    Its great to know that there are other people out there who are going through the same as me. I hate that people don’t realise how draining and exhausting living with endo is!! I quite often do the whole outer body coping mechanism but family and friends think iv turned into a weirdo, which brings u down even more. Its so good to read stories of other females going thru the same-although I wish endo never existed. I luv this website

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