How to Support Yourself When You’ve Been Diagnosed With a Chronic Illness

How to Support Yourself When You’ve Been Diagnosed With a Chronic Illness

Hearing that you have a chronic illness like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, or an ongoing mental condition can be a terrible blow. If you recently heard the news, you’re probably reeling, with a whole spectrum of emotions going on in your head. However, learning to manage these feelings is key to living a fulfilling life.

Here are the essential self-support steps to helping yourself through the diagnosis and beyond.

Find All the Information

A big part of a chronic diagnosis is feeling like you’ve had to relinquish all control. You may feel helpless or like you didn’t have any agency in the proceedings. One coping mechanism here is to research – find anything and everything you can about your illness. This will help you take back the narrative, not to mention give you all the tools and tips to manage your disease better. Be sure to discuss your learnings with your doctor, who can help you face your new reality from a nuanced medical perspective.

Find Unique Coping Strategies

According to PsychCentral, a long-term diagnosis is similar to grief in that you may experience symptoms like denial, bargaining, anger, and sadness. The best way to manage this flood of emotions is to have a setlist of strategies that you know will make you feel better. Whether it’s working out, eating clean, making candles, practicing mindfulness, or baking – you need to know how to pull yourself up when you feel down.

Sit down and list out what makes you happy and what doesn’t. This will help you get familiar with your feelings, and you may even notice some patterns there that you didn’t quite catch previously. For example, if all your negative emotions revolve around your home, which makes you feel uninspired, lazy, or sad, you’ll be able to tackle the problem head-on. This could also be triggered if your home isn’t accessible or isn’t meeting your new needs. You’ll then be able to use your coping strategies to make the change. 

In such a situation, making a move might be the best option for some. Be sure to research how much you can afford, the best neighborhoods, and how to get preapproved for a loan. You can do this by searching for a home on the internet or enlisting the help of a real estate agent. Once you’re ready for the move, contact local movers in your area. Start by reading reviews online (be sure to get a written estimate, not an over-the-phone one) and discuss your needs before deciding on a moving company. Remember, legitimate movers will typically conduct at-home inspections before giving you a final cost estimate.

Find Support

According to Mayo Clinic, having a healthy support system is essential to getting through the more considerable challenges in life. Build a strong community around you, filled with people who you can rely on consistently. Be sure to communicate your needs with them and help them help you manage your disease! Remember, your condition will be a stressful time for your loved ones too. Try to see things from their perspective and be open and encouraging. 
A long-term health condition means that there’s a lot that’s going to change in your life. Your lifestyle, treatment, and mental makeup are going to dictate how you live, see yourself, and relate to others. Take each day as it comes, take small actions to pull yourself up, validate your emotions – and we promise, your internal strength will grow leaps and bounds.

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