collaborative guest post
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be scary so, for some top tips on how to feel happy, and reduce anxiety when suffering with one, read on…
Living with a chronic illness is never easy. Whether it be fresh diagnosis, or something you’ve lived with for a while, taking each day as it comes is the best any of us can do.
Whether you’re waiting for your treatment, are awaiting your delayed treatment claims, or you simply have to live with your illness, the path ahead may seem daunting. That said, there are a number of ways to still live a happy life, with or without your illness.
By checking out these tips and tricks for coping with a chronic illness, hopefully, the day by day will become easier. Take a look…
What is a Chronic Illness?
Chronic illnesses are diseases or afflictions that affect the mind or body. In most cases, these illnesses cannot be overcome, and are something this person has to live with. Below, I’ve provided a list of some of the most common chronic diseases which you have heard of before:
Common Chronic Illnesses
Alzheimer’s: memory loss, and deterioration of muscles.
Asthma: this affliction of the lungs can be truly debilitating for many, and can alter peoples’ ability to be active.
Chronic Pain: this can be caused for any number of reasons, for example, a trapped nerve somewhere, but often the source is unknown.
Crone’s Disease and Colitis: bowel diseases which affect intestine function.
Diabetes: this is a problem with blood sugar, meaning you either have too much or too little, and it must be regulated. Whether you’re born with it, or develop it over time, this is something that must be kept on top of at all times.
Multiple Sclerosis: this illness takes power over the nervous system and can leave you bedridden.
These chronic illnesses are just a short few of many out there. Some will be more severe than others, and others a lot more debilitating. But, for whatever illness you may have, at least one of the tips below should be useful for you in some way.
Impact of Chronic Illness on Individual
The causes of chronic disease are rarely known, which means that treatments can be difficult to come by. So, sufferers must live life knowing they may come across some of the following symptoms at any point:
Pain is a common side effect of many chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, this pain can become chronic too, which can lead to a poor quality of life.
Discomfort can also come from having a chronic illness. For example, if your illness affects your digestion, it may not necessarily be pain you’re feeling, but a general feeling of awkwardness within.
Anxiety is a common side effect of chronic illnesses; the anxiety of when the next flare-up or bout of pain may come can become debilitating.
For severe chronic illnesses that affect your body physically, the inability to go about your daily business can be a real difficulty. Things like cooking, cleaning, writing, and scrolling through your phone can become almost impossible.
Death is a very real symptom of some chronic illnesses, which is why a number of the tops tips below are so important; to keep mind and body on track.
10 Ways to Feel Happy When You’re Living with a Chronic Illness
Your happiness isn’t defined by your illness, but it sure can get you down some days. With all the side effects that can come from having a chronic illness, it’s beneficial to stay on top of it all.
Finding a cure for chronic illness is unlikely, in most cases. This means that learning to live with your disease is the best way to live as much of a happy and healthy life as possible. Here are some top tips for doing just that, despite the obstacles you may face…
1. Keep Your Mind Active
Many chronic illnesses out there come down to bodily functions. This can lead you to become housebound, or even bedridden, during flare-up days. This means keeping your mind active has never been more important.
Whether it be reading a new book, playing games online or on your phone, keeping up to date with social media, or getting on with work from home, the options are endless. By keeping your mind off of the reality through doing things you love, you’ll feel instantly more positive.
2. Be Honest with Those Around You
Your illness may stop you from going out with your friends as often, or restrict you from attending family gatherings too. Naturally, this could cause friction, and may lead to peer pressure, which can all be avoided through open discussions.
Your friends and family should be there to support you, no matter what. So, once the diagnosis comes in, don’t be afraid to be open and honest about it from the outset. This way, you can help them to understand it better, and they can do their best to help you in any way possible.
3. Build a Support Network
Once you’ve been honest with those around you, you can start to lean on them for support. Be it mental support, like coming to visit you when you’re down, or physical support, like picking up your shopping, they’ll be there. Over time, these friendships may become the key to living a happy and fulfilled life, so don’t take them for granted.
4. Change Your Lifestyle
A great number of chronic illnesses can be combatted through diet and exercise. It really is amazing what a bit of nutrition can do.
For example, chronic acne could be solved through removing dairy from your diet. Or, colitis could be flared up by certain foods and drinks. Listen to your body, hear it out, and adjust accordingly.
5. Get a Pet
As we’ve seen, many chronic illnesses can keep people from going out and about. So, what’s a great way to ensure you’re not alone at home? Get a pet!
This, of course, may not be for everyone. However, studies show that people who own pets are much more likely to lead a happier and more fulfilled life. So, if you think you have the capacity to care for another being, this could be just what you need.
6. Lean on Medical Support
Your doctors and nurses, as well as those who can provide you with mental and physical therapy, will be at hand from the very beginning. Don’t be afraid to ask them for advice, and get in contact with them if you have any questions.
Obviously don’t go crazy with ringing them up, as I’m sure they’re busy people. But, if you really have a burning question, or need somebody to talk to, that’s what they’re there for.
7. Stay on Top of Medication
If you’ve been assigned medication for your illness, be it combative or pain-reducing medication, don’t forget to take it. This could be the difference between a good day or a bad day, so make this a priority.
Some ways to remember your medication could include setting a timer on your phone, or investing in a pill box. Also, make sure you leave your medication somewhere where you won’t forget it, like in your work bag. This way, you can keep on top of everything in the most responsible ways possible.
8. Keep a Diary
Living with a chronic illness will be difficult, and will certainly require a different way of life to what you may be used to. One of the greatest ways you can cope with this is by expressing your thoughts and feelings through words.
This way, you can not only keep your mind occupied, but you can also focus on your emotions behind everything that’s happening. This can be a great medicine in itself; relieving your mind of the weights on your shoulders.
9. Start a Blog
In a similar way to the point above, writing down your experience online could also be a great way to cope. Not only is this a brilliant medium to explore your own mentality behind your illness, this could help you to build a solid community.
There will be hundreds and thousands of people in your boat, who may be looking for comfort from someone who understands. Your blog could become the pillar of this community, bringing help to others and, thus, happiness to you along the way.
10. Find an Organisation who Supports Your Illness
It may seem impossible, but there are hundreds of chronic illnesses, which means millions of people in a similar boat to you. Because of this, charities and organisations which provide support for chronic illness are not so far and few.
My final method for coping with your diagnosis is, therefore, to look online for professional support. You may think you can do it alone, but it’s important that you seek this communal support.
For example, Chronic Illness UK is just one of hundreds of charities available, providing advice and funds. So, whether it be to provide you with more ways to cope, help with your finances, or just something to help you feel less alone, there’ll be something for you.
Do You Have a Chronic Illness?
As we’ve seen, dealing with a chronic illness is no fun. That said, it’s important to learn to live a content and fulfilled life despite this challenge.
Right now, it might seem like it’s too much to handle. So, by utilising some of the tips above, and making sure to follow through with leaning on your support network, the foundations will be there.
Have you got a chronic illness, and have anything else to add? It’d be fantastic to get some comments down below, and perhaps the support network for many could begin here.