- Coping Mechanisms:Fighting SpiritAvoidance/DenialFatalismHelplessness/HopelessnessAnxious Preoccupation
- Most of us fluctuate between these various coping mechanisms, and they can all be useful and worthwhile to get us through a hard situation as long as we don't get stuck in one long-term.
- Other good methods of coping are: problem solving, decision making, seeking info and setting goals.
- Remember to engage in pleasant activities --things that make you happy or bring you joy. Not everything should be about your disease and limitations.
- We often deny ourselves positive experiences and happiness by almost-instantaneous irrational thought processes. It is good to recognize them for what they are so that we do not isolate ourselves and limit our chances for support and enjoyment.
- How to differentiate between rational and irrational thinking:1. Is it based in fact?2. Is it/does it bring an emotion I want?3. Does it help me reach my goals?
I have to say, despite all the stress and exertion it took for me to get to the convention (I had a lot of travelling on my own, plus an MRI and doctor's appointment) and the heat and humidity that made me feel ill while there, I am BEYOND happy that I went. I plan to NEVER travel alone again, maybe for life (ha ha) because of how sick I felt the first few days, BUT it was worth it all. I cannot truly explain how it felt to be there. I had a decent understanding of my disease and the endocrine system (not perfect, just decent) before I went. I did learn a lot of valuable information, and it was so validating to hear it spoken by national experts from large, recognized hospitals and institutions. Still, what I most cherish from my time at the Magic Convention is the time I had with others like me. They are "my people" as my friend JennyZ would say. I cannot express the immediate bond that I felt with those fighting this disease just like me; we really are like family. I felt safe and comfortable with them and that is a HUGE deal. I didn't have to put on pretenses, deal with dirty looks or judgment, didn't have to pretend I had more energy or was happier than I really was, didn't have to stand up for myself and explain my illness...They just got it. I've met my best friends on the internet via Cushing's support groups --and they are a very, very real part of my life. Now I've been able to meet some of them in person, and I pray they will forever stay part of my family. I could talk about this for hours and still not get across the immense feeling of acceptance, friendship, companionship, even relief that I felt there this weekend. I am not alone.
Some funny tid-bits from the convention to shed a little light on what I mean:
- The convention was changed from 2 full days of presentations to 3 roughly half days of presentations because it was too exhausting for us patients in attendance...That tells you something right there!
- It was COMPLETELY normal and acceptable to go take a nap between lunch and dinner. It was NOT considered being antisocial or lazy, but "necessary" to be able to get up for dinner and function the following day.
- Every day (often multiple times a day), we would have to re-ask others' names. It wasn't considered rude --EVERYONE did it. And yes, we wore name tags. LOL!