Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coping? Or Giving In?

Lisa Copen, founder of the National Invisible Illness Awareness Week and Rest Ministries, has written an excellent article entitled Is Living With Illness Giving In? 

............Despite the detours, I have had the opportunity to build a nonprofit organization of nearly 15 years, to serve those who live with chronic illness, through a Christian foundation of faith. Although I believe God still heals today, He rarely does it according to our schedule. In the meantime, there is a strong need for friendship and support.
Between my family and ministry, I have ample reason to get up out of bed each day and not allow my illness to define me.
I have never given in and allowed it to consume me.
But because I do not enter marathons, audition for reality TV show contests on deserted islands, or sign up for karate class, some people assume I have.
"You've just given in to your illness," I have heard from both strangers and friends. "You need to fight it more." This is often followed by their specific advice on what I need to do to "fight it."
What defines "giving in" to your illness? There are a variety of ways that people who do not have an illness define the actions of those who are ill.
Continue reading here.

What's your definition of coping vs. giving in?


BD said...

This is a subject that gets under my skin a bit. People that solicit their "expert" advice on how you should handle your challenges according to them. Hypocracy at its finest :)

I will admit there are people that give in and some people need emotional support, but not lectures. We all feel down when we are chronically ill at times, I think we have a right to but I don't think it's giving in. Especially when we get right back up and do the best we can day by day.

I see it with the closest people in my life though that are healthy and well, that could not truly empathize with the feelings and I'd never want them to ever know some of the feelings I have. But to understand my limitations, and not try to fix me, please. :)

Thanks Julia, great subject... as you can see I'm very passionate about.

Kelly said...

I had to think about this for a bit before leaving a response.

For me, giving in is when I use my condition as an excuse in my own mind not to do something that is made more difficult by the condition, but is still do-able with predictable but manageable consequences.

Coping is when I allow myself extra rest (without guilt) to gear up for or recover from something most people would just do without giving it an extra thought.

This whole dynamic is complicated by the fact that I don't have a diagnosis, so I'm not really officially "sick" to the rest of the world. But I've known for a long time that I have to manage my life differently from the average bear if I want to avoid long stretches of pain and fatigue and I can't care what that average bear thinks about me and my necessary life management techniques.