When you are first diagnosed with a chronic illness, you don’t know how much your life will change. No one can truly know what it is to be chronically ill until after they’ve been diagnosed. But, here are 5 things to keep in mind when you’ve just been diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Your mental health is important too
Maintaining your mental health shouldn’t be overlooked. Being diagnosed with an illness that doctors can’t cure tends to increase the risk of depression and anxiety because there is a lot of fear and uncertainty with one’s future.
Having a mental health professional part of your care team needs to be considered just as important as your cardiologist. If you find that you are unable to visit a therapist there are many mental health professionals who will do home visits, connect through video chats or phone calls. There are also apps that will connect you to a licensed counselor or therapist through instant messaging as well.
Relationships will change
Your relationships with your employer, loved ones, and yourself will change and evolve.
Life with a chronic illness involves a series of ups and downs where some things will work and others won’t.
It’s hard being a good friend, employer, and partner when living with a chronic illness and many will just expect you to get better. And when they see that you aren’t they may resent you. You will see that some relationships will end and others will grow stronger.
Everyone will give you their advice
You may start to notice that everyone will try to offer you advice about living life with a chronic illness. People will give advice because most of them feel that a fix must exist. You may even find that some of their advice is actually great to go along with your treatment plan. But it’s important to be cautious of the advice that suggests a cure.
Educate yourself and everyone else
After being diagnosed with a chronic illness, it is normal to feel out of control which can be scary for many people. However, research is a great way to regain some of that control. Research can help you come up with questions to ask your physician and help you explain what your illness is to friends and family.
More often than not, some may feel ashamed to a certain degree about their illness and will keep to themselves when it comes to this subject matter which can be more harmful to themselves than they realize. By starting a public conversation with your friends and family will help you adjust to your life with chronic illness.
Having support is everything
Being diagnosed with an illness such as pulmonary fibrosis can be a lonely experience. Your loved ones will try their best to be supportive but no one will understand what you’re going through unless they are going through it themselves. Nowadays there are many support groups both online and offline.
The feeling of loneliness may not be eradicated overnight but over time you may start feeling more comfortable and supported. Many support groups will help connect you to resources gives you a safe place to ask questions and share your story without that feeling of shame.
The future is unpredictable. But it’s important not to let yourself feel overwhelmed. Live each day the best that you can and take it one step at a time and one day at a time.