The Coping Cliff

020914In this article, Lucy Watts writes about how she copes day-to-day living with a life-limiting condition and the importance of having someone to talk to. She introduced the concept of a “coping cliff” and explains it as “When I am struggling, and the problem(s) I’m dealing with are pushing the limit, I call it my coping cliff. Each problem/combination of problems takes me one step closer to the edge, and one problem or a combination of all my problems may push me off the edge.”

Suicide happens when people reach their coping limit. They fall off the edge, and they can’t get back. They can’t see an end to the pain/problem, they want to spare their family the burden of their illness and/or the problems they’re facing, and they want a way out; and they see the only option as suicide. This is why it is so important that we don’t let problems build up. We need to find things that work for us, find an outlet for our emotions and frustrations, find someone we can talk to, and find ways of coping.

If you are a friend or carer of someone who is ill or going through a hard time, and they confide in you, please listen and let them talk freely – whether you want to hear it or not. There often is not a solution to their worries, particularly when someone is ill – you are not being asked to solve their problem, but to listen and care. It is an honour that they have chosen you, because it takes a lot for them to make that step and be truthfully honest. Try to understand. Don’t tell them that they can’t think like that, they’ve got to be positive, or that they’re being dramatic…read more

From ehospice