Chronic Illness Survival Guide Author: Kristy
Learn about your condition:
The more you understand about what is wrong with you, the better prepared you will be when things go wrong. Remember to keep informed; information about conditions can change over time as more is learnt about it.
Teach your friends and family about your illness:
Not everyone is willing to learn, but the more your friends and family understand about your illness, the more supportive they will be. If you’re unsure how to teach them, show them some easy to follow websites about your condition, and leave them some light reading material (e.g. a simple pamphlet) to peruse in their own time. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have afterwards, some of the questions may make you uncomfortable, if you feel this way it is within your rights to say you don’t want to talk about that.
Develop a supportive network:
This may not be your current friends and family, getting in contact with a support group can be very beneficial. You can join an online support group or find one in your local area. If you cannot find a support group, maybe start one up yourself, remember all support groups that currently exist had to be started by someone at some point in time.
Get your Doctor on your side:
Some people feel that their GP/specialist is not supportive, or perhaps not working hard enough to help them get better or manage their condition. If you feel this way it is time to either find a new doctor, or get your current one working harder for you.
Develop a sense of control:
For many people a chronic illness can make them feel as if they have no real control over their health or their life. Getting that control back or at least the sense of it can be very challenging, but it isn’t impossible. It is important to find some way to feel in control, even if it’s controlling what and how you eat, or perhaps designing your own exercise program. Another method is to keep records of everything that happens to you, writing down what happens to you, what’s scheduled for when, what your goals are, some plans of attack, can make you feel as if you are controlling your illness and not the other way around.
Create time for you:
This seems a simple idea, but it can be very hard to do. It is especially difficult when your illness impacts on all aspects of your life. Find a hobby or a pastime that has nothing to do with your illness, and find time for it regularly. This could be something creative, like scrapbooking, playing music, writing short stories, whatever makes you feel content.