If you have been diagnosed with a long term (chronic) health condition, you will probably be feeling frightened and concerned about the future. In many cases, people who have been told they are seriously unwell will also be feeling stressed, and this stress can also become chronic if measures aren’t taken to deal with it.
Stress can be a dangerous condition if left untreated, leading to any number of other chronic illnesses, including high blood pressure and depression. It can cause heart problems and insomnia and many other problems that, when you are already sick, can really be extremely detrimental to your health. Here are some of the ways you can cope with a serious illness so that your stress doesn’t get serious too.
Understand Your Condition
The best thing you can do when you are feeling stressed due to being told you have a serious chronic illness is to understand your condition. The more you know about what is happening to you, the more in control you can be of your own life and how you cope with your disease.
To begin with, speak to your medical professional and ask as many questions as you need to. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you have been diagnosed, so if you need to go away, gather your thoughts and come back to ask your questions, take the time to do so. Write the questions down so that you don’t forget and make a note of the answers too.
You can also do a lot of research online, but be careful. Not everything you read on the internet is accurate, particularly when it comes to health. Alternatively, you can find forums and online groups to join so you can talk about your condition. Being with like-minded people is a good way to get more information. You might even be able to go to a physical meeting or support group if that’s what you prefer.
When you are diagnosed with something serious, your mind is going to be moving fast, unable to settle, and you can feel completely out of control. This will certainly add to your stress levels, and this needs to be confronted before you can even think about dealing with the condition itself.
One way to calm yourself down and be more focused on what is happening is to be organized. If you can break your problem down into smaller areas to deal with, everything becomes much easier. Start with how your condition is going to affect your working life, for example, and put measures in place to help financially. You will also need to work out what equipment is going to help you at home; you can order everything you need online, including ostomy supplies, some medication, and other medical items. Find out what is going to help you cope best and make sure you have the items you need around you.
A serious illness can take its toll on many different relationships, and it is the stress associated with your illness that causes the problems. Symptoms of stress include irritability, not wanting to go out, difficulty sleeping, and more. These can all affect relationships.
Remember that your relationships are going to be more important than ever when you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness; the more you can be with friends and family, the less stressed you will feel. Take the time to manage your relationships, let people know how you are feeling, and ask them to understand. This will help you considerably.
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