Finding yourself in the middle of a battle with chronic illness can feel like sinking in a bog of quicksand. Yes, your body suffers, but your emotional state is also at risk for a hard hit. This happens over the course of time when life can’t be lived as it had been prior to the illness. That said, there are some ways to successfully navigate chronic illness.
Understand that we are more vulnerable during illness as well as sensitive to outside stimuli and substances. Awareness is imperative for successfully navigating this type of challenge. It’s also important to have go-to coping mechanisms or comforting tools in place for tougher times. Let’s take a look at some helpful strategies.
Do Your Own Research
Being knowledgeable about your particular condition helps to keep you on top of your own treatment and recovery. I recommend learning all that you can about medicines, natural treatment options, and anything that could help you feel better. Our health and treatment plan is our responsibility. And, yes, we need healthcare practitioners to help guide us, but don’t take anything at face value. Ask a lot of questions and don’t stop until you get the answers you need.
Know what Brings Comfort and Relief
Though there may be physical and emotional suffering with chronic illness, that doesn’t mean you have to bear the full brunt of it all the time. You are allowed to find comfort and relief. There are medicines, natural remedies, and therapies that can help to ease pain, anxiety, and stress. The key is to know what works and have it available.
Simple things like having products and tools like pain relievers, ice packs, heating pad, Epsom salt, and natural supplements can make the pain bearable. Additionally, I recommend using natural therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic, or massage done regularly to ease stress and pain.
Consider minimizing the pain and stress of things like getting labs done by using lidocaine cream beforehand. If you’ve never used it, seek out support to help you apply it correctly. Most doctor’s offices and labs offer it as an option for sensitive people and children. It also helps to drink calming tea or taking a supplement like L-theanine before appointments to reduce anxiety.
Tell Your Doctor Everything
As your healthcare provider, your doctor should be aware of everything you take, including all herbal supplements. Your pharmacist can also help to make sure that your medicines do not clash with anything else you want in your health protocol.
If something doesn’t feel right or you have weird (even embarrassing) symptoms, tell your doctor. He/she can’t help you if you aren’t honest and open about the state of your body and mind.
Chronic illness, whether it’s curable or not, has a way of eating at your life and psyche. Without emotional support, your chance of keeping your head above water is minimized. We need someone to talk to and help us to see the good in our lives, that we have something to look forward to. We also may need physical support to take care of tasks that are too difficult.
Your support team may consist of many people, including doctors, therapists, friends, family, paid staff, as well as online and local groups. I say, the more people you have in your corner the better! Try to stay in touch with close friends and family through your illness so they know how to help you. Be honest about your struggles and ask for help!
Navigating chronic illness is not for the faint of heart. It’s likely one of the most difficult things anyone can ever face. Above all else, it’s crucial to keep your head clear and spirits up. Whatever you have to do to lighten your emotional load, do it. Try to keep your sense of humor as you walk through the fire. There is always something to be grateful for in the midst of struggle. Be well, my friends.
**** This post is strictly informational and is not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Women’s lifelink, it’s owners, administrators, contributors, affiliates, vendors, authors and editors do not claim that this information will diagnose, treat, or improve any condition or disease.