Emotional Impact of Chronic Illnesses

We often think of going to the doctor as a way to solve our problems. We describe our symptoms, we get a test, we take a pill, we get better. For those struggling with chronic illness, a visit to the doctor is the start of a long-term relationship — one with many ups and downs over the years. This isn’t the only area of our lives that are disrupted, though. From relationships with family and friends to dwindling bank accounts and a diminishing work-life balance, the emotional impact of chronic illnesses is widespread.

More Than Frustration

The word frustration doesn’t seem to really capture the full range of emotions that go along with a disease that will last your whole lifetime. Every little disruption in your daily life can bring with it the feeling of dread that this frustration, no matter how mild, is how things will be forever. It’s easy to see how that can send a person struggling with a new diagnosis into a downward spiral of negative thoughts.

Just because you may not be able to do something today doesn’t mean that everything is in a permanent downhill slide. It’s okay to feel frustrated and angry and downright livid, but the important thing is that you also learn to let go of those emotions when they come up (which they inevitably will again).

The Disconnect

So many people struggling with a chronic illness are guilty of this one. They feel like they’re being left behind in their friend group, or a burden on their family. That impulse to disconnect is neither useful for you, nor what your loved ones want — no matter how much you convince yourself otherwise. It’s going to be a process for them as well as you, one filled with learning and acceptance and compassion.

More Than Just a River In Egypt

Okay, pardon the bad joke there, but we’re talking about denial. If you’re grappling with a recent diagnosis, you might be tempted to ignore things. Your symptoms. Your limitations. Your doctor. Do yourself a favor now and just nip that impulse in the bud. Your body and mind deserve better, and it’ll save you a whole lot of heartache in the future!

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Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

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