- Grieve your losses AND make adjustments to embrace a new normal given how your life has changed now. Grieving is actually a healing process and can help you face reality with renewed perspective and hope. Talking with a mental health professional can help you in this process.
- Care for yourself by setting appropriate, healthy boundaries. This is no time for rugged individualism where you must prove yourself against unhealthy and unreasonable societal norms about what it means to be acceptable and lovable. Instead practice self acceptance and have compassion for yourself when and where you are not, and cannot be, like others.
- Learn the value of human-being. We are socialized to think that our value is derived exclusively from our doing. If you can be kind enough to yourself, chronic illness presents an opportunity to be grounded and real in ways not likely beforehand, and can create the capacity to transcend temporal and limiting perspectives.
- Educate others as to what you need from them. Look up videos on YouTube about your specific condition to share with them. This way you don’t have to be preachy about it. For instance, https://youtu.be/YoRe6JnNQu4 is a link to a video that explains the difference between being sick and chronically ill.
- Develop and nurture good relationships with your medical team, as well as other caring and helping professionals in the commuinty. You are not called to bear your experience alone. Get help. Talk to someone.
Suffering from chronic illness is both a physical and psychological experience, with accompanying emotions that range from fear to anger to anxiety and depression. At its worst, chronic illness can induce a sense of isolation and aloneness, which is fertile ground for distortions in thinking to occur. One such distortion would be to believe the idea that we are totally helpless to make quality of life decisions for ourselves in the middle of a flare up or an exnteded period of illness.
Here some ways you can empower and care for yourself if you suffer from chronic illness: