Even though it may feel like it, having a chronic illness doesn’t have to be the end of the story. If you carefully examine your current situation when your head is clear, you’ll begin to see that. You can take back control of your life, and here’s how.
It’s Important to Have Support
By keeping old relationships and forming new friendships, you’ll be better able to cope with your illness. Having someone around that cares for you (like, actually cares about you) may turn out to be your number one motivator in life. That person has the incredible ability to bring you to your full potential, in spite of the obstacles that relentlessly stand in your way. You’ll often find yourself facing a difficult task or dilemma that makes you just want to give up and stop trying altogether. However, your supportive loved one will be there at every turn to help you get through these tough times. A friend or a loved one can make all the difference in the world when it comes to effectively managing life with a chronic illness. Don’t try to do this on your own. Life’s better together.
Be Upfront About Your Needs
No matter what your chronic illness is—whether it’s an autoimmune disease or even an STD—after learning of your diagnosis, you should make a special effort to inform your loved ones about your needs. Tell family and/or friends how crucial it is for you to have someone you can confide in when times get rough. If you clearly explain this to them ahead of time, it will go a long way toward helping them realize how serious your situation is. They’ll be much more receptive and take your words to heart.
Furthermore, you’ll want to mention to your loved ones that you’ll be needing lots of words of encouragement. An occasional remark probably won’t be enough to help you during the difficult times ahead. You’ll need a lot of support from those around you to get you through the illness.
At the beginning, remind your loved ones that you need them to be flexible. With all that anxiety already floating around in your mind, you may feel like doing something one day and then change your mind shortly after. Those around you need to understand this and not take it personally.
You’ll want to remember how important it is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” It’s best to start developing this habit long before you get any results back from STD or blood tests. Before long, it’ll become more natural. This is particularly helpful when your mind is more prone to wander. Typically, these thoughts are irrational and will do all in their power to bring you down. By living in the present moment, you can fight off the negative thoughts that would otherwise draw attention to your illness.
A chronic illness can be a big challenge, but don’t let it stop you from being happy. By having a solid support network and practicing mindfulness, you can achieve this. You are strong, so believe that.