The pain and fatigue associated with chronic illness can be emotionally draining, strain your current relationships and leave you feeling isolated when those around you are not understanding. Dealing with the psychosocial aspects of chronic illness is equally important as taking care of your physical needs, and this article will give you some tips on how to do this.
You may face lack of sympathy from others, purely because they do not understand your illness. Finding reputable literature on your illness in the form of website links or pamphlets may help. If you are uneasy about confronting the problem, share links on your social media accounts or send an email to people you know. The people around you may be curious enough to read the information, and this may open a dialogue about how your illness affects your life.
Chronic illness can make you unreliable. You do not want friends or family to think you are intentionally changing plans, so you need to be upfront with them. It can be difficult to make plans with others when you cannot predict how you will feel from day to day. If you want to go out with friends and make plans, be honest with them. Tell them you may feel bad and have to cancel at the last minute. If possible, see if your friends have a couple of days free to go out and if you can make plans early on one of their free days.
It is often easier to keep plans when they are made on shorter notice than many days in advance. See if your friends are willing to make alternative arrangements. For example, you may want to go shopping with your friends, but cannot do too much walking. Look around to see if the store has another location inside a mall, even if it is further away. You will have more places to sit and rest inside a mall than a strip mall or a stand-alone location.
Depression is common among people with chronic illnesses, and proactively combating depression can help prevent a downward spiral. Counseling can be useful during the initial phases of chronic illness to help you come to terms with your diagnosis and deal with the changes you may face in your life and body. Your counselor can also help you find ways to talk with your friends and family about your illness if you feel they are unsupportive.
Antidepressants can be effective if you are struggling with feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Some antidepressants also help with chronic pain. For example, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can alleviate depression and reduce pain associated with fibromyalgia. Depression can make dealing with the physical aspects of chronic illness more difficult and can exacerbate fatigue.
Indulge In Art
Chronic illness can be isolating and many people indulge in art as a form of therapy. If you used to do artwork or a creative hobby, but abandoned your craft due to illness, now is the time to restart. You may need to find new ways to stay creative if pain or physical limitations are a problem. For example, you may have enjoyed crochet or painting, but your hands can no longer tolerate a crochet hook or paint brush.
Look for cushioned grips you can add to supplies to make them more comfortable. Art and craft supplies with a larger diameter can be easier to use if you have dexterity issues. Adult coloring books are a popular option among people with chronic illnesses. You can purchase coloring books or print coloring pages at home, and it requires little preparation. Adult coloring books can help you relax, and you can use the medium of your choice, such as colored pencils or crayons.
As part of managing a chronic illness, you need to address all aspects of the illness. Proactively coping with the psychosocial aspects of chronic illness can help you prevent or manage depression and help those around you adapt to your changing needs. If you need help addressing this aspect of your illness, work with local counseling services to meet your needs.