When you’re diagnosed with a long-term illness, your life changes in ways you could never have expected. The impact on your mental health can be devastating, and it’s not uncommon to feel isolated and alone. So, how do you support your mental health when facing a long-term illness? The stress that comes with being unwell can be overwhelming and leave you feeling trapped in your own body. There are many factors to consider when dealing with an extended time being sick. It is essential to understand the scope of this challenge but avoid letting it take over your life. Here are five ways to support your mental health during a long illness:
Talk to a Counsellor
If you cannot bear this burden alone, you must reach out and talk to someone. Mental health professionals are trained to listen and help you navigate the extreme emotions of long-term illness. Talking to a professional can help you process your feelings while removing the shame and stigma that often comes with mental struggle. Finding the right counselor can be challenging because so many options exist. Choosing someone you feel comfortable with and who understands the unique challenges of living with an extended illness is essential.
Connect with Family and Friends
Some of the most effective support you can receive will come from the people who know you best. Let your friends and family know what you’re going through and how they can best support you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. You might consider hosting a support group for the people closest to you. This can be a great way to connect with others who are going through a similar experience. You can also utilize social media to connect with other people living with long-term illnesses. Try joining an online community where people can share their stories and offer each additional support.
Living with an extended illness is all about being realistic. While you might be unable to get rid of your symptoms, you can learn to manage them. There are many ways to support your mental health with healthy coping mechanisms. One of the most powerful techniques is called mindfulness. This type of meditation can be beneficial during a long illness. Being more aware of your thoughts can help ease feelings of worry and anxiety. It can even help improve your sleep by lowering your cortisol levels. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, so find the one that works best. You may want to try a guided meditation app or attend a class in your community.
Seek Expert Help or A Second Diagnosis
Depending on the type of long-term illness you’re living with, you might need extra support. Support can come in many forms, from working with an occupational therapist to regain mobility to seeking alternative therapies to help you manage your illness’s pain and symptoms associated with your illness.
For others, especially work-related incidents, it can be worth getting a second opinion to help you see the bigger picture and learn more about your illness. However, if you think you’ve been exposed to AFFF, for example, you need to look into legal advice to help you with the ongoing effects on your health.
The journey of living with a long-term illness is full of ups and downs. There will be moments of extreme sadness and disappointment, but you will also find moments of incredible strength and courage. You deserve to feel supported and loved through this challenging time. While there are no magical solutions that will make this journey easier, there are ways you can support your mental health when you’re living with a long illness.