Mental Wellbeing and Chronic Illness

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Maintaining one’s mental positive mental state can be quite troublesome throughout periods of chronic illness especially  when we’re talking illnesses that can take months, years, or even that cannot be cured or brought into remission. The prospect of dealing with a difficult situation for the majority of one’s life can be daunting and scary to even the strongest of people. Any chronic illness no matter what the severity adds strain to one’s life making it harder to live comfortably. Today I want to share a few tips I’ve learned as I’ve fought my own depression and sense of misery whilst dealing with my own mortality one of the worst situations someone with chronic illness can be confronted with. So you can be sure that these methods will be helpful to someone else especially those with chronic migraines and other non-life threatening conditions because while these conditions are very stressful they don’t require you to begin writing a will at age 23, they don’t require someone helping you shower or go to the bathroom, and most chronic illness doesn’t entail one losing muscle function as their organs get progressively worse. Unfortunately my unique combination of illness does all of that and far more which is why I struggle so hard to find the words to describe my situation at times. It isn’t easy to share your life with the world, I am sacrificing job opportunities by revealing exactly how sick I truly am. However I understand that I have given a voice to many who had nobody to represent them before and that is more important to me than avoiding the swelling in my hands that is the result of all this typing.

  1. Get a psychologist, therapist, social worker, or psychiatrist these people are invaluable to us as sufferers of chronic pain. One thing I must mention is DO NOT QUIT even if your first few experiences are terrible I assure you there are credible and very understanding psychologists out there. I go to one myself every 2-4 weeks to help maintain my sanity. My psychologist understands my plight and even allows me to keep my appointments over the phone if I’m too sick to be driven into the city. I highly suggest going to conferences concerning your specific illness and finding a therapist there as you may find one who is a specialist in your field like I did. That’s how I found my psychologist and she’s an expert in migraine and headache disorders. Through her meditation CD and publications as well as our visits I have learned to deal with significant amounts of pain on a daily basis. Similar to how some people walk over coals without wincing I can network with people while crying behind my sunglasses due to a level 10 migraine without the people I’m conversing with ever even knowing I’m in pain. I can now subdue those facial expressions that show my pain and smile through it conquering my illness mentally though I cannot stop the physical aspects.
  2. Write a journal or blog to keep yourself occupied. It doesn’t have to be public you can keep this all to yourself in fact most patients do! I only write for the public as motivation to keep myself thinking of new topics and to help others. I will admit it’s soothing to know in my head that I am helping others. It also keeps your mind swift and flowing well with a good vocabulary and prevents that mental deterioration that happens should you simply sit on the couch dormant all day long. The writing doesn’t have to be about your chronic illness either heck my first blog was about space and flight so choose a topic you’ll truly enjoy writing about whether it be fashion, television, video games, sports, and even history. Whatever your choice is keep changing it up until you find something you’re content with. It doesn’t matter how big your audience is or even that you have one what matter is that you’re content with what you’ve done each and every day.
  3. Join a local or online club, forums, interest group, or fraternity that is supportive of you and will surround you with friendship. I’m not talking about a cult which will ask your undying loyalty and for funding in return for your membership. I am talking about a group of people who share a love for a hobby or a talent and get together weekly or biweekly somewhere nearby so you can make it to meetings. Try to do something creative perhaps an arts and crafts or model building club that’ll allow your creativity to flow freely and where you can easily make new friends. These groups should accept you despite your illness and be amenable to helping you out in life through fundraisers or even grants for your education etc.

Those are my 3 recommendations to you in keeping your mental faculties sharp during a time of chronic illness. I personally believe keeping your mental state in good condition is absolutely a necessity! I honestly hope my short article has helped you somehow or got your mind wandering as to more ways to help yourself stay strong mentally. I strongly suggest you try hard to keep in contact with your good friends as you will inevitably lose some to chronic illness just as I have. Thank you for your time and please leave feedback if you have any have a happy Friday and a fun weekend!

2 thoughts on “Mental Wellbeing and Chronic Illness

  1. These are good tips and oh so true. I have seen a psychologist when I was younger, but not recently. I should probably look into it, but your second tip has been my saviour these past six months. I write about all the things that are important to me and I work thoughts out on my blog. I do my best to show any readers who might stumble upon my blog that I can write well and speak up for myself, just like anyone else, despite my being born blind. I used it to help me work through loss of a relationship and heartbreak. I use it to speak on causes that are important to me like chronic pain, organ donation, and infertility. Not just writing a blog helps me, but reading other blogs like yours. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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