Dealing with Chronic Illness
There are many challenges you will have to face when dealing with chronic illness. If you have been diagnosed with having a long lasting health condition, then understanding it and learning what you can do yourself to manage it, can help greatly.
Having a chronic illness doesn’t have to mean that it is dangerous or deadly, asthma, diabetes and arthritis are all classed as chronic conditions that can be kept under control with medication and supervision. Providing you take care and have the proper treatment, people with these conditions can lead a normal life and are healthy for the majority of time. Although the underlying condition won’t go away and is always there, it can be controlled successfully.
Many people who have conditions such as asthma don’t consider themselves as having a chronic condition as they feel relatively well most of the time and think of their illness as more of a condition. However, a few people are affected not only physically but also emotionally, socially and for some even financially. The severity of the way it affects you is based on the severity of your condition and the treatment involved in your particular condition. However you are affected by your condition it will take time to accept and adjust to your chronic illness.
There is a certain process that everyone will go through whatever their illness, this is known as the coping process. When first diagnosed with chronic illness the person may have many different feelings, anger, worry, confusion and vulnerability are some of the most common feelings. The next stage to the coping process is the want to know and learn everything they can about their illness, by gaining insight and knowledge into their condition it makes it less frightening and they feel more in control.
The third stage is developing confidence in the treatment they have been given for their condition. Realizing that their medication or treatment will help to relieve symptoms and attacks such as those associated with asthma and low blood sugar levels. Over time managing the condition becomes second nature and worry and fear drop off as the person becomes more confident with their self-management.
Everyone will go through the stages of coping at their own rate, recognizing the various feelings and thoughts as you go through different stages is important and are all part of the coping process. To help you get through the coping process you should remember these tips.
Accept any feelings and thoughts – there are many emotions you may go through during the coping stage, it is important that you just let them come and go without giving them too much thought. Letting the feelings out by talking with someone can be a great release.
Ask questions and play an active role in self-care – make sure that you know everything about your illness that you possibly can, the unknown can be frightening, but what we know we can deal with much better. Learn what you can do to help your condition and what to do during the bad times of it.
Talk about your condition – remember other family members or loved ones will probably be going through similar feelings as you are after the diagnosis. Talk with family members and loved ones about your condition, don’t leave them out of the loop
Keep a perspective – when first diagnosed it can be easy to let your illness take over your life and become the most important thing, keep things in perspective and carry on living your life just as you did before.