Being diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease or arthritis can be frightening. While processing how this diagnosis will affect the rest of your life, it is common for you to go through a range of unpleasant emotions from fear to anger to sadness. However, there are ways to come to terms with this diagnosis so that you can get on with living your life they way you want to.
Let your emotions out
It is perfectly normal to go through a whole range of emotions when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. It is important not to add additional stress by worrying about these feelings or beating yourself up because you feel unhappy, angry or scared. Allow your emotions to take their course and keep reminding yourself that what you are experiencing is a natural reaction to the diagnosis you have received.
Speak to people
Talking about your feelings with other people may be a useful technique for dealing with a diagnosis of chronic illness. Speaking about the diagnosis will help you to face your diagnosis head on, rather than denying or ignoring it. Talk with family and close friends, your doctor or a professional psychologist. Choose people who are positive and who you can be sure will be supportive. Seeking professional support is a particularly effective way of coping. During your sessions, you will come up with techniques and develop a plan of action on how to deal with your health going forward.
Understand your condition
Some people find it helps to cope with a diagnosis of chronic illness if they understand it better. If you think this is a strategy that might work for you, write down all your unanswered questions and raise them with your doctor. Although chronic illnesses are long-term, there are often a number of treatments available that help to deal with the symptoms and progression of the disease. For example, there are treatments for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), diabetes and many others. Ask your doctor for the information on all the available treatments for your condition. It should be noted that it is not always a good idea to look up information on the web. There can be a lot of false information and scare mongering online.
Although a chronic illness can result in elements of your life that are now outwith your control, it may help to focus on areas that you can control. For example, you can take measures to improve your overall health like eating a balanced diet, taking part in regular exercise and giving up smoking and drinking. Investing time and effort in improving your health can have a positive effect on how you physically and mentally deal with your illness. By taking control of these, you will be in charge of your life, not your condition.
A diagnosis of chronic disease can be very upsetting. However, with the right support and research you can start to take control of your life and live it.