Chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD, heart disease, anxiety, multiple sclerosis (among others) require ongoing medical treatment and challenges. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed and depressed, and that can cost a lot of relationships and careers.
It's natural – and difficult! – Fight feelings of self-pity and resentment when you first hear of a chronic condition. Life becomes undeniably more complicated when one lives with a chronic illness. The good news is that there are many more things you can do to enjoy life.
- Move towards acceptance; Stop thinking about "Why Me?" And think, "What can I do now to work with the new normal of my state?"
- Empower yourself by doing as much as you can about it Learn your diagnosis. This can help change your mindset as frustration and anger make way for new life adjustments … and you take your time. Look for online tools and apps that let you monitor, track, or adjust medicines, diets, or other metrics as needed.
- Focus on what you can, not on what you can not. Love to read but can not anymore? Listen to audiobooks and you can still join your favorite book club.
- Adjust your expectations and activities. This is part of your new normal. A person newly diagnosed with diabetes needs to monitor their blood sugar levels and eat healthily. However, this does not stop you from continuing to enjoy eating.
- Focus on your motivation: What drives you? ? Spend time with loved ones? Voluntary work? Grab your motivation and use it to look beyond your grief.
- Be Action-Oriented: Take Small Steps. It's not easy to make a bigger adjustment to life. Consider membership in a support group or online community.
- Practice PMA: Positive mental attitude can change everything. Nobody's life is perfect, but you're here and thankful to be alive. Think about the good in your life.
- Maintain an attitude of gratitude ̵
- Think about what makes you happy and look for it. If you like to run, but now use a walker or a walking stick, you are still moving forward. Do not give up – create more of what you long for.
- Take a courtesy like "How are you?" Not as an invitation to a long recitation of your condition. Find one or two safe and compassionate listeners (a therapist or other person in a support group) so that your status reports do not overwhelm you with interest, not to despise. Do not talk about your illnesses without interruption.
- Fight it with humor, humility and determination: Laughter is the best medicine. It's okay to see the humor in your condition, in fact it's important.
- Do not be put off by the insensitivity of others: they do not know what it's like to walk in their shoes and express impatience and lack of empathy. That's their ignorance, not yours.
Do not let a chronic illness stop you from living your best life. Happiness takes work. We have to choose happiness and fight for it. Our physical limitations and medical conditions limit what we can not, but we focus on what we can do. Embrace your new reality and do not look back. We all have scars, seen and invisible. They make us what we are. But it depends on what you do with them.
Biography : Sherry Saturno is the Executive Director of Gramatan Village. She has a dual license as a nursing home administrator and clinical social worker and holds a Master's degree from the Universities of Columbia and Long Island. She is a Fellow at the National Academies of Practice. She is the presenter and producer of the Reimagine aging podcast.
Photo: Tim Marshall for Unsplash
Would you like more information on how to deal with chronic pain? Take a look at this helpful guide in our archives … and tell us what works for you in the comments!