WORDS AMY HALE
DEALING WITH life’s challenges as a young person can be difficult. School, work, relationships, friendships and family usually provide more than enough to cope with. put the extra challenges HD brings on top of all of this and it’s no wonder kids and young people affected by HD have a much harder path to navigate. New research tells us that these kids are more than twice as likely to struggle with coping and emotional wellbeing than other young people.
Two really important factors to being OK in life are coping and resilience. Coping is anything we do that helps up manage stress or feelings associated with hard situations.
Things we do to cope can be both positive and negative. positive coping strategies often include things that are going to work in the long term such as finding and building good support networks, self care, exercise and taking care of your health. Negative coping strategies involve things that might feel like they are helping at the time, but usually make the situation worse in the long run. an example of a negative coping strategy could be using drugs or alcohol to escape from difficult emotions.
Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt to and get through difficult experiences in a way that allows them to be OK, or even better afterwards. It is often described as the capacity to recover. Resilience is what allows someone to move forward in life and get back on track after hardship and trauma.
The good news is that facing and coping with challenges builds resilience.
When we work through a hard situation, stretching ourselves to find new positive ways to cope, we build new emotional skills and stronger support networks. These experiences increase resilience, allowing us to be bigger and stronger and more able to cope the next time life gets hard. The difficulty here however, is that HD can bring multiple challenges one after another, requiring kids and young people to continually dig deep and build more and more resilience. This can be exhausting and sometimes feel overwhelming.
If you are a young person dealing with HD and struggling to find positive ways to cope, you are not alone. living with hd can be too much for one person to deal with, but with the right support, you can get through each and every one of these challenges, learn new positive coping skills, build resilience and be OK. Support can come from family, friends, and teachers or from us at Huntington’s NSWACT. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more coping strategies, talk about things that are hard or meet other kid and young people going through similar things. We are here to help.
If you are a child, parent, young adult or teacher and would like more information on our youth program, please call Amy on 9874 9777 or 0499 031 231 or email [email protected] .