Coping With Arthritis
As soon as the diagnosis comes in, you begin coping. Your mind and your body start to absorb the information and you begin to develop a plan of action to get through the coming days, weeks, months and years. Coping with osteoarthritis does not happen overnight.
Coping with arthritis takes time, effort and patience on your part and on the part of the people around you. Positive coping involves making tough choices and passing up instant gratification while holding out for deferred gratification.
The worst kinds of coping happen quickly and chaotically. They seem to be helping the situation when, in actuality, they are making things worse in the long-term.
Rather than waiting for coping to “just happen,” decide from the beginning that you want to take an active role in way deal with your diagnosis.
Think about the level of commitment you can devote to the cause of positive coping. Consider how you will respond when things are stacked against you. Lastly, ponder the risks and benefits of positive coping versus negative coping. Does the decision seem difficult?
Here’s a break down of positive and negative coping that can help your decision-making.
Negative coping is:
- Easy because it takes no effort, energy or time.
- Focused on the short-term because you only do what is best for today without regards for what the outcomes will be.
- A completely selfish process or selfless process. There is no sense of balance. You are only doing what feels good in the moment.
- Interested in emphasizing negative emotions like depression, anger, frustration and denial.
- Interested in emphasizing negative behaviors like overeating, oversleeping, impulsivity and self-medication in the form of drug use and an excessive intake of alcohol with osteoarthritis.
- Setting yourself up for a crash later in the coping process.
The lure of negative coping is the ease and lack of effort needed to cope negatively. Once it pulls you in, it has you trapped because turning negative coping into positive coping later feels very trying and uncomfortable. You might be better off starting with positive coping.