Which came first? Chicken v. egg question.

  1. 3
    I've noticed that a significant proportion of those I care for who suffer from long term, chronic illness often demonstrate impaired coping ability.

    This has led me to wonder, which came first? Does the very nature of chronic illness wear down a person's ability to cope, or were there coping deficits already present in that person's makeup that are simply accentuated by their circumstances?

    Is this a statement about our society in general and how little support is available to these individuals and families, leading to impaired coping, or is there some sort of correlation (like Type A personality having increased risk of MI) between poor coping and an increased risk of developing chronic illness?

    Is it more complex than that?

    I don't mean to be insulting, as I know there are several members here on AN who deal with chronic illness, and I can imagine that it is very difficult. That's why I posted this question here on AN, just to see if anyone else has wondered this same thing, and if so, what conclusions you have drawn?
    Altra, GrnTea, and threelittlebirds like this.

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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 4
    I think some folks can handle stuff, and others can't. I personally believe it has alot to do with upbringing, etc. I also believe that some people enjoy the sick role, or at least the attention it brings to them. Maybe they could cope at one time, but NOT coping got them a reward?

    I wouldn't say most of mine are "impaired". I think I see plenty of troopers.

    This is all assuming I understand your question.
    DarkBluePhoenix, roser13, canoehead, and 1 other like this.
  4. 4
    I think it also goes in waves. Sometimes I'll cope better than others (like just about anybody, I'd imagine). If it's been a bad run with one disorder, or everything is being annoying, there are days when just getting through it is the only goal. Since I'm alone, nobody has to deal with those days (there are a few here who PM, or do a morning thread where those who post there give a rundown about how things are going, among all of us).

    I agree with lack of support resources. I live alone, and struggle to keep things in running order here. But at the same time, I want to do all I can on my own- so when I shop, I usually go in the middle of the night- with better handicapped parking, and fewer people running their carts up my backdoor. Then, unloading my stuff is all I can do for the day- and I'll need pain meds. I can't afford to pay someone (prescription co-pays are going up- will be about 650.00 every 3 months - along with 450.00 in insurance premiums. I'm going to have to rearrange those schedules and break up the delivery times to split the amount I pay for the meds in any ONE month.

    That causes stress. Just wondering how I'm going to get by. I do have a part of my budget set aside for something enjoyable (has to be something at home, since I'm VERY limited at how much I can go out, and where I can go.

    I avoid the "worst" situations (going to someones home, where I have to cope with their thermostat; I have heat sensitivity, and that leads to cardiac symptoms that ruin being there- and if it goes too far, I'll pass out- then that's a rigamarole for whoever I'm around- and I refuse to put them, or myself in that position. At home, I can just lie down and turn on the AC- even in the winter.

    Oh well, just my

    I've met the professional chaos magnets.... I'll give someone the benefit of the doubt for a while. I'll be supportive if I can- but if I sense something not right, I'm done.
    Quark09, ~*Stargazer*~, Ruthiegal, and 1 other like this.
  5. 6
    Yes, the very nature of chronic illness can wear someone down and create issues with coping.

    Imagine 10 years of sticking your finger multiple times a day, adjusting your insulin, watching your diet and still developing multiple complications - at some point you may simply throw up your hands and say 'why'.

    I recently had a variety of depressing things happen in my life, and I simply stopped doing my fingersticks and injections. Needless to say, my sugar skyrocketed, I developed a miserable vag itch, went to the doc who sent me to the ER - my BS was 472. Had chest pain in the waiting room. Took two days to get my sugar under control. Had an echo and a chemical stress test.

    Some days are better than others, but some days it just takes every ounce of energy just to stay on track.
  6. 3
    I guess I also perceive a difference in folks that are really wrung out and exhausted and those folks that are probably whiners whether they are sick or not.

    "chaos magnets" I like that.
    ~*Stargazer*~, GrnTea, and xtxrn like this.
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    I think it's a case of the two things each accentuating the other, if I get what you mean by poor coping skills. In other words, you can make bad choices for a long time and sort of get away with it if you have good luck with your health - but once you start to have some bad fortune with your health, then your bad choices magnify and accentuate it and make it more difficult to either deal with or recover from, the illness.
    A couple of perhaps somewhat related thoughts:
    Back in the latter part of nursing school we had psych and public health in successive semesters. During the public health part, I spent a lot of time with very poor families who were not dealing well with life in various ways. I also spent some time with the correctional nurse at our county jail. During the psych semester, we spent time in both inpatient and outpatient mental health settings. I was struck by the fact that the folks I saw in all those settings were largely the same people and came to believe that what they all had in common was an inability to deal successfully with life. The folks I saw in the mental health system also were poor and usually had some brushes with the law. The folks I saw in the jail were also poor and had some mental health issues - etc. Whether they were labeled as mentally ill, or criminal, or simply chronically poor was largely an accident of what system they came in contact with first.

    Second thought: I've studied some history. During a great deal of human history, the vast majority of people had very few choices available to them. Most people lived in smallish communities and made their living in the same way everyone else did around them, often in the same way as their father and grandfather. Most people saw relatively little cash. If you were at the low end of the economic ladder, you worked as a farm laborer or as a workman in a shop owned by someone else. You did simple repetitive tasks and typically got your pay in room and board and a very small amount of cash. If you took your weekly pay and spent it all on drink on Saturday night, you still had a place to sleep and food to eat and a job to go to the next day.
    Now, even the poorest, lowest paid people have to cope with a lot of choices, make a lot of decisions, often in the face of very sophisticated advertising trying to get them to make bad decisions - buy things they can't afford, spend their money on gambling or alcohol, etc. And a certain percentage of folks are just not equipped intellectually to cope with the choices that modern life presents. They aren't bad people. In a simpler society they would have gotten along fine. But they can't handle the modern world. And, as the world continues to be more complex, the social safety net continues to erode, as wealth becomes ever more concentrated and as the value of simple jobs declines, their lot is not going to get any better.
    xtxrn, DarkBluePhoenix, hoopschick, and 2 others like this.
  8. 1
    BTW there is no chicken vs egg question. The egg came long, long before the chicken.
    dthfytr likes this.
  9. 2
    I think it's similar to the nature vs. nurture argument. We will never quite know for certain and there are strong arguments either way.

    We have all seen inspiring stories of individuals who have suffered extreme setbacks and/or disabilities, yet have managed to not only survive but lead productive lives. They usually are quite positive individuals, who will often say that their trials and tribulations have significantly added to the meaning of their lives.

    We've also seen (nurses perhaps more than the average Joe) individuals who, by all rights, have had many positives in their lives: good health, good parents, economically secure, yet who manage to make their lives miserable. Sometimes they appear to actually bring illness and adversity upon themselves.

    I don't have an answer, but I'm enjoying this thread!
    xtxrn and ~*Stargazer*~ like this.
  10. 2
    Have 2 chronic illnesses on top of arthritis it's not easy to cope some days. I liken it to having at least 2 full time jobs on top of your regular 40 hour per week job to earn the money to try to keep things going, pay for doctors and medications, try to poke, plan and rest... 24 hours in a day just are not enough, so yes sometimes I whine, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I get lucky and have a good day. I try to stay positive, but when it's hard to breathe, keep blood sugar stable, and your joints are killing you every time you move, you just don't care what others think, and coping is out of the question, you just want to go back to bed from the fatigue...
    xtxrn and ~*Stargazer*~ like this.
  11. 4
    Quote from PMFB-RN
    BTW there is no chicken vs egg question. The egg came long, long before the chicken.
    I actually looked this up. Last year some researchers published some evidence that it was the chicken. Their position is that there is a protein in chicken ovaries that accelerates the calcite process and hardens the eggshell. This protein only exists in mature chickens - not eggs - so the chicken came first. So only until that first "true chicken" created the protein to quickly make a hard shell, there were no eggs.

    That "first chicken" obviously arose from *some* type of egg (like we all do), but its parents did not have the mutation that creates the protein to made a chicken egg as we know it. The first chicken did have this protein and after maturing used it to create the "first egg."

    They weren't trying to answer this question, they were simply studying how chickens make eggshells and discovered a protein that makes eggshells crystallize faster.

    I suspect the real answer is that neither came "first." Chickens and eggs evolved right alongside one another along with everything else. You only get a "first" when you put a stake in the ground as the recent researchers did : "No fast crystalline structure formation - no egg."
    xtxrn, DarkBluePhoenix, ktliz, and 1 other like this.

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