Coming to terms with a chronic illness can be a long drawn out process. You are in the position of not feeling like you have any control over the situation, and that can make you feel hopeless. Learning that you have a chronic illness can impact both your physical and mental health, and also affect your relationships, your ability to work, and your finances.
Here are 5 ways to help you during this difficult time.
Set a goal
Your first step to regaining control is to identify achievable goals. You may wish to lose weight, or perhaps you need to make changes to your diet to be able to manage your symptoms of your illness better. Whatever the reason, think about ways that you will be able to measure your success – it may be pounds that you lose, but equally, it may be your ability to walk an extra hundred meters unaided. Do not be put off by how far away that goal feels at the moment; you need to have a goal to work towards, and it will help motivate you to keep on track.
Your goal will feel unachievable on its own, but work backwards from it and document steps that you can take to help you achieve your goal. Think of the steps as mini goals, and you will be able to see the natural progression from your baseline to the target – just make sure that they are realistic and achievable, you do not need to apply more pressure to yourself!
There will be things that you can use to help you achieve your goal. You are not alone. There are options available to you that you can access to help you. Talk to your doctor, and see what they advise. You may require input from an occupational health therapist, or a physiotherapist to help guide you; there may also be additional medications that you can have to help you. You may be daunted by the finances needed to fund your medication, but have a look on the internet for alternative sources, for example, ePharmacies provides a comparison tool for pharmaceutical products that will lessen the financial burden.
Whatever your diagnosis has been, you can bet your bottom dollar that there are others in the same predicament, or further down the diagnosis journey. Seek support from groups that have been formed to offer support, guidance and assistance to people with the same illness. Having a safe space to share your concerns and worries will give you a great sense of the landscape that you are now part of. You will be able to communicate freely with people who understand exactly what you are going through.
Celebrate the positives
Your mental attitude is going to be the one thing that either helps or hinders you. There will be times when you are mentally in a dark place, which is why you need to celebrate all the positives in your life that you experience. It can be incredibly hard to express gratitude for what you have when you are faced with a diagnosis, but there is always something positive that can be celebrated. Revisit your goal, and the steps that you need to go through to achieve it, and strike them out when you have achieved one. Having a visual prompt will bring you back to the here and now, and motivate you to look forward.