Making Peace With the Inevitable: 10 Little Things That Will Help You Cope With Chronic Illness
Everyone strives for health and happiness, but what are you to do if a chronic illness diagnosis gets in the way? Unlike other health conditions, chronic illnesses don't go away overnight. Most of them are life-long. However, that doesn't mean life has to come to a screeching halt. Here are some things you can try to improve your quality of life.
- Find the Best Health Providers
Most people have a primary care physician. However, if you have a chronic illness, you may need to add a few more names to your health provider list. Find specialists who can help manage your treatments. For example, neurologists specialize in treating multiple sclerosis, while pulmonologists are experts in COPD. You may even want to hire At Home Health Services to ensure you have the highest level of care around the clock.
- Build a Team of Experts
Building a large team of medical experts is crucial. Doctors are extremely busy and not always the easiest to reach. That's why it's best to have other people you can call in a pinch. Choose your team wisely. Look for people who are experts in their field. For instance, a nurse may help you manage side effects from your medication. If you want to eat better or lose weight, adding a dietitian to your team may be a good idea.
- Let Yourself Mourn
A chronic illness diagnosis is the last thing anyone expects. It's only natural to mourn the life you once had. Instead of keeping your emotions bottled up inside, let yourself cry. Depression is common after a life-changing diagnosis. Nearly one-third of patients experience depression. If you find yourself feeling hopeless or lost, speaking with a therapist may help. Anti-depressant medication may also help.
- Take Control of the Situation
Treating a chronic illness starts at home. As a patient, consider monitoring any changes on your own. Track your blood pressure, check your pulse, monitor your blood sugar, or weigh yourself. If you notice any changes in your body, notify your doctor right away. You may spot something before it becomes a bigger issue.
- Make Lifestyle Changes
Sure, medications can help improve your quality of life. However, simple lifestyle changes can do the same. How can you get healthier? Patients who quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol, and lose excess weight feel better than those who don't. While these changes won't cure your disease, getting healthier may give you more energy, improve your mood, and help you feel better about yourself.
- Learn Everything
Modern medicine changes daily. Scientists are always looking for new ways to treat existing conditions. Learn everything you can about your chronic illness, and stay current with recent findings. Knowledge is power, and the more you understand your disease, the better you'll feel about managing it.
- Take Your Medications
Remembering to take all your medications can seem like a full-time job, but it's important to take them at the same time each day. Keep track of your prescriptions and schedule refills before you run out completely. It's also a good idea to monitor any side effects. Report anything out of the ordinary to your doctor.
- Involve Your Family
Your family wants the best for you. That's why involving them as much as possible is a great idea. Are you ready to eat better? Try cooking healthy meals as a family. Do you want to stay more active? Consider exercising with your family. Even talking as a family will help you feel less alone when dealing with a chronic illness.
- Make New Friends
Sometimes it just feels good to talk to someone else who understands your illness. Look for local support groups, and try to meet new people who have the same diagnosis. If you live in a remote area, try searching for an online forum or group. These new friends will be able to provide support and suggestions throughout your journey.
- Prepare for End-of-Life
Death is a natural part of life, but a chronic illness may have you thinking about death sooner than you ever imagined. Before your condition progresses, begin discussing your end-of-life wishes with your family. Do you want aggressive care, or would you prefer to have a do-no-resuscitate order? It's also smart to create a will.
Life Goes on Even After a Chronic Illness Diagnosis
Although a chronic illness diagnosis may have caught you by surprise, you are still important. Learning how to cope with a sudden, life-altering diagnosis will ensure you always live your life to the fullest. Implementing these tips may help give you peace of mind during the most challenging times.