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Getting Support and Finding Lessons: Ways to Cope with a Chronic Illness

Chronic illnesses are health conditions that sometimes feel like they are death sentences. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, the quality of life of the patient takes a sharp turn.

How Can a Chronic Illness Affect One’s Lifestyle?

In the physical aspect, aside from the symptoms of the disease, a person may feel pain and fatigue. Some weight loss may also occur.

These physical changes serve as a hard hit to one’s psychological state. Anxiety and uncertainty about the situation could plague the patient. Depression is another common effect. Due to the drastic changes in one’s routine and capabilities, very low self-esteem can also manifest.

The effects of a chronic illness also touch the people closest to you. As they cope with the changes, stress and frustrations may arise. They may also need to make some changes in their routines.

How Can One Cope with a Chronic Illness?

When dealing with a chronic illness, a person must be aware of the help available to them. Help in this sense is not limited to improving the health condition per se. It can also come in the form of increasing the quality of life despite the presence of chronic illness.

  • The patient must have some say with the kind of healthcare that they receive. Some opt to coordinate with compassionate home health agencies. They prefer hospice care at their respective homes. They still want to surround themselves with the familiar.
  • The rise of social media platforms made more support groups available. People are more open to find others who share the same situations as them. Having a caring support group can make a patient feel understood. They can get coping strategies from others who are experiencing the same illness. In return, they can be a source of encouragement for others. Physical support groups can also work for people.
  • Aside from physical health care, patients can try one-on-one counseling. Some professionals deal with patients that suffer from chronic illnesses. They can walk the patient through their frustrations and fears.
  • It is also important not to neglect the family of the patient in this scenario. Loved ones may experience a degree of stress and uncertainty with what is happening. Family counseling could help address these negative emotions. It is important to maintain good family relationships.

What Good Things Can Come out of a Chronic Illness?

sleeping concept

Chronic illnesses are not life-threatening. But, they can put some limitations on your lifestyle. Also, as hard as it may sound, they may shorten a person’s lifespan. Is there any good that may come out of this? The answer is a definite yes. There are lessons that only people who have chronic illnesses may grasp. Here are some of them.

1. A Certain Amount of Fear is Healthy

People who live with a chronic illness have to deal with many fears. Some of these are the fear of death and of not being able to function as well as before. Yet, patients who learn to deal with their chronic conditions do not deny this emotion. Instead, they embrace it. They see fear as part of the package. It is not something to put them down, but to stretch them out of their comfort zones.

2. You Have to Trust Your Body

Medical professionals may tell you the effects of the illness on your body. You have to respect that. But, it does not mean that you would stop moving altogether. Do not condemn your body to a state of immobility when you can still do some productive things. You have to find ways to motivate your body to recuperate and regain more strength. You must also learn to listen to it when it is telling you to rest.

3. There is Always Something to Be Grateful For

Experiencing a chronic illness can make a person more grateful. Things that people take for granted can mean big things for somebody with a disease. Every day is a day of small wins. They do not punish themselves if the only thing that they do for the day is to survive. Chronic illnesses can give you back the wonders you have as a child. It is when every little milestone such as walking is worth celebrating.

4. Acceptance is the Key

Chronic illnesses can make a person question everything. But, it can also make a person practice unparalleled resilience. When a person learns to accept their condition, they can deal with the situation better. They realize that recovery is not the goal. Rather, it is improving the quality of life. These improvements come in different forms. It could be an extra health supplement, a self-care routine, or time spent with loved ones.

A chronic illness does not only affect one’s body. The effects that it can have on a person’s other aspects could be more far-reaching. Learning to find support and finding the lessons in the situation could help a patient cope well.


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