Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about some of the ways that you can cope with your chronic illness. Since these are illnesses that are not going away, it is important that we develop skills that help get through the though times.
1. Make time for yourself
Making sure you have time for yourself throughout the day is very important in managing your physical and mental health. Take some time to do something you love, like painting, going for a walk, or watching a movie. Doing this every day is a great way to help you manage your stress levels and remind you that there is more to your life then your chronic illness. This is also a great way to reinforce the idea to yourself and those around you that you and your needs are a priority in your life that deserve to have time.
2. Connect with a support group
Dealing with a chronic illness can be very isolating. Having a supportive group of people can help you feel understood and to not feel so alone. It gives you a place to talk about the things that are going on in you life with others who are likely to be having similar experiences in their lives. This is also a great way to remove some of the pressure off your loved ones for emotional support. Having a chronic illness comes with a lot of emotional stuff that takes a lot of time and effort to work through. Your friends and family shouldn’t be the only people that help you through that process.
3. Learn as much as you can about your condition
Researching your condition will help you better understand what is happening with your brain or body. The more that you know about your diagnosis, the better equipped you will be when it comes time to make choices regarding your treatment. Additionally, this knowledge will help you decide the best way to live your life with your illness. Everyone is different and has different priorities in their treatment. When you are research your condition you give yourself a chance to decide what you want those priorities to be when you are receiving care.
4. Find a doctor you trust
It is essential that which ever medical provider you are receiving care from is one that you trust. It can be a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner or a doctor. There are often several licenses that are qualified to care for the same condition. What matters more is that you believe that they are knowledgeable in your illness and that they have your best interests in mind. If you don’t trust them, you will never be able to receive good care from them despite how qualified they might be. Trust is essential in the patient / provider relationship.
In this category, I will also encourage you to find a psychiatrist or mental health provider that you can trust, even if your chronic illness isn’t a mental disorder. Having a chronic illness means that you will have grief and that you will go through some pretty heavy emotional work. There will be times that this process will be easier if you have a professional who is familiar with chronic illness and the grieving process. Never be ashamed to ask for help.
5. Be an Advocate for Your Own Health
Make sure that you or someone with you at every appointment is willing and able to advocate for whatever it is that you need. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or to tell your provider that you don’t understand what they have explained to you. Take notes so that you will be able to reference them later.
6. Be proactive about managing your symptoms
Prevention is always better then treatment or cures. Whenever possible, prevent problems because this will keep you as healthy as possible for as long as possible. This means that you will need to research your condition. You’ll need to learn what things are common problems and what kinds of measures you can take to prevent those problems. Make sure that your medical provider and your partner are aware of your efforts so they can help you.
7. Build a support network of family and friends
Having adequate social support is the single most important factor in determining if someone will have a good outcome, regardless of what it is that they are facing. The importance of social support simply cannot be over stated. Focus on creating quality relationships rather then on meeting a bunch of people. Having a small group of people that you feel close to and that you can depend on is much more important then knowing a lot of people.
8. Celebrate everything that you can
Embrace joy in your life. Celebrate the small victories and the little moments in your life. Don’t wait for the special occasions to have a party. Life is a special occasion. Make sure that you are doing something every day that gives you a little bit of joy.
9. Accept That Some Days Will Be Better Than Others
Because that’s how life is, whether you have a chronic illness or not. Life is like the ocean’s tide. Sometimes our symptoms are severe and we feel like we are drowning in them. But in those moments, know that nothing can last forever. Remind yourself that it will pass. The tide will go out. It always does. Coping with the bad days is more about surviving the moment and staying focused on the promise of the good days.
10. Find What Works for You
This will take time. It is a process of trial and error. Give yourself time. Know that what works for you will be a unique mix of things that is different then what works for others with the same condition that you have. Don’t worry about that. If it is working for you, that’s all that matters. You do you.
Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!