Living a Full Life with Chronic Illness

If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness, there are likely many emotions and changes taking place.  It is normal to want to throw in the towel and surrender to the illness, but will some patience, love, and adjustments it is possible to live a fulfilling and happy life with a chronic illness.

Be Patient and Gracious… with yourself.

You may find that you have limited energy, mostly because your body is spending its energy to support you.  Follow your body’s cue and prioritise yourself. Self care will be your new mantra. Making sure you sleep when you are tired, eat healthy and nourishing foods, and doing things that you enjoy will be important to establishing a strong foundation in your new life with a chronic illness. It may be tempting to spend your limited energy on loved ones and friends, but remember, you cannot care for others if you are not taking care of yourself first and foremost.

It takes time to adjust.

There is a natural transition period as you mentally process what life is going to look like with your diagnosis. Family and friends will also most likely experience a period of transition. This period of time is usually highly emotional for everyone involved. There will also be a time of trial and error, where you realise that you can’t quite do the things you are used to doing, and figuring out what alternative better suits you. Let go of expectations that things will continue as usual and try to keep an open mind to changes. Be proactive about looking for alternatives to things you may not be able to do, if you can’t take your grandkids to the park anymore, perhaps a swing set in the backyard will be a good alternative.

Ask for help.

We are often ingrained with the idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but really it is a sign of confidence and strength.  Understanding your limits and needs is a powerful tool.  Ask others for assistance when needed.  Oftentimes friends and family want to help but are unsure how.  Asking for help will not only help you, but it actually helps your friends and family understand your needs.

Talk to a professional.

It is common with life transitions like living with a chronic illness to see an increase in anxiety, depression, and other mental health complications. When you may be experiencing these struggles, talking to an unbiased professional can provide you with support.   A psychologist can look at your lifestyle and help you brainstorm ways to boost self care and incorporate things you love into your life. They can help you manage conflict with family and friends.  Living with a chronic illness can be challenging and overwhelming especially as you transition into life with a diagnosis, but know that support is available can help you navigate these changes.  Living a happy and fulfilling life is possible with a chronic illness with support and creativity.
To book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.

Related reading:

For Better or For Worse: Keeping your relationship strong through a crisis
Turning Towards: Facing Problems Together
Cure Vs. Management of Disorders

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