Why I Dislike Being Called ‘Strong’

Alexus Jones avatar

by Alexus Jones |

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In my previous column, I talked about the day I received my diagnosis. I got through the following weeks by telling myself that nothing in my life had changed, and that I had no choice but to move forward. I knew time was not going to stop even if I did, and, besides, I had too much to do. 

To keep functioning, I packed my schedule. I’m not great at dealing with free time on a good day, but when I’m sad, I can’t stop moving. If I’m too busy to think about whatever is wrong, I don’t have to deal with it. Occasionally, I’d slow down and consider the things I was upset about. I would cry for a while before pulling myself together and returning to my day. This allowed me to compartmentalize my feelings and deal with it at my own pace.

During this time, my friends and family marveled at my strength with handling the news. While technically my avoidance coping worked for me, I don’t think my method of coping is one anyone should emulate. 

Every time someone called me “strong,” I thought that my ability to avoid breaking down didn’t make me strong. I disagreed with the implication that if I had broken down, I would have been weak. To me, strength would be the ability to face my diagnosis and my mother’s. But I had no desire to try.

I have trouble allowing myself to feel sadness when I’m happy, or things are going well. However, if I watch a sad movie or TV show, I start to think about all the things in my life that I haven’t fully processed. Eventually, through confronting sadness incrementally, I come out the other side feeling … not happy, but at least at peace with my situation.

I am inclined to concede that writing about my diagnosis requires strength. However, I still don’t think that I’ve adequately dealt with my feelings about my mother’s diagnosis. I am probably going to continue to defer that one for now. I don’t believe that my lack of strength with this issue is a failure or a bad thing. I am simply a person, trying to live my life in a way that works best for me. Eventually, I will find the strength to process that fully. Just not today.


Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.


Rick Jones avatar

Rick Jones

Your columns have been a real blessing to me. My wife has Huntingtons and we were blessed that it didn't show up till she was 63. My two daughters(43&33) have decided not to be tested, for now. Thank you for your insights and willingness to share.

Alexus Jones avatar

Alexus Jones

Hi Rick! I am happy that these articles are able to help, that is my goal with every article that I write. Thank you for your comment.

Natasha Littlejohn avatar

Natasha Littlejohn

Thank you Alexus for your post it's nice to know of others that is dealing with the disease this very helpful.

Alexus Jones avatar

Alexus Jones

Hi Natasha, I am glad you find my articles helpful. That is my goal with every one I write.


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