Have 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.