For many people, the news that they have a chronic disease such as hypertension, diabetes or cancer is not as devastating as the fact that most or all of their life may be overshadowed by this single entity, causing them to make necessary adjustments for a very long time. Imagine having to take drugs for years on end. It’s never pleasing to the ears.
As soon as the initial news of a diagnosis settles in, it’s imperative that one learns to cope with the daily adjustments that arise as a result. One never truly adapts totally to a diseased state, but learning to cope may even take years. However, it’s important to understand that the chronic diseases leave one vulnerable to a lot of additional stress.
In addition to one’s daily challenges, one might need to learn to cope with pain as a symptom, or the discomfort from other symptoms. One may need to adjust to a routine of pill swallowing, the large, bitter and numerous. One certainly needs to adjust to the restrictions that may be placed on diet, movement or even one’s career. Of course, managing a chronic condition comes with increased financial responsibility, a reality that’s never delightful. These and many more are sure to take a toll on the individual’s mental health, requiring the need to cope with feelings of frustration, confusion, or isolation.
There’s really no textbook method to deal with the situation. We do know that it’s always helpful to gather enough knowledge about one’s condition. It’s not surprising that many people become experts on their conditions after years of battling it. It’s simply a mechanism to cope with the challenge. Ask your doctor about everything possible. Do not hesitate to employ resources, both offline and online. Of course, your focus should be on symptoms and treatment options available, both orthodox and even unorthodox. It’s okay to know.
One also needs that feeling of control over the situation. This requires attending scheduled health appointments, observing diet restrictions, taking prescribed medications among others. These actions may boost feelings of positivity about the current situation.
Also very important is dealing with one’s emotions. It’s really a wide range of possibilities. You do need to find something that helps you relax, preferably an activity. Music, dance, reading, writing, visiting friends or cooking, anything that keeps one off the edge. One’s relationship with friends and family matters a lot. Keep the close ones even closer. Let go of the stressful ones. It’s less baggage to deal with.
Keeping up a positive attitude is crucial too. The psychological reflects on the physical and it’s a well known fact. If you need to reconnect with your spirituality, please do. Talk to others in the same shoes you are. Seek advice from survivors. You can be one of them someday!