Chronic illness affects more than your physical health. It affects your emotional health as well. Those that struggle with chronic illness often find that the illness itself doesn’t ruin their life as much as the depression, anxiety, and stress do, because living with chronic illness is notoriously difficult, and often leads to the development of emotional struggles that can be hard to shake.
As a Long Island psychologist, I see many clients that have developed mental health struggles as a result of their chronic illness diagnosis – including those that were perfectly content before the illness occurred. Though understandable, it’s important to regain control of your mental health, and not let your illness take away something that it should have no involvement in: your happiness.
How to Cope with Chronic Illness
- Be Social – Many of those that struggle with chronic illness end up shying away from their friends and family, and yet significant research has shown that that has the opposite effect on wellness. It’s important to be social as best you can. Spend time with friends, see people, have conversations and more. Social support plays a key role in physical and mental health, so getting out there is the first step.
- Be Proactive – The more you are in control of your illness and the less you give up, the more effective treatment is and the fewer mental health struggles you’ll experience. Even incurable illnesses have “next steps” and you should be taking those next steps to improve your health, prolong your life, and prove to yourself that you care about your wellbeing.
- Work with a Psychologist – The idea of working with a psychologist for managing chronic illness can seem silly to those that have never done it before, but research into mental health therapy for people with depression and anxiety confirms that if you want to control your emotional health, a psychologist is a great tool to do it.
- Care About Your Day to Day Health – Your day to day lifestyle habits do have a very powerful effect on your mental health as well. Make sure that you are eating healthy, exercising, and following basic healthy lifestyle habits. You’ll find that you’ll feel better physically and mentally when you take care of your health.
- Discover Your Spirituality – When you’re struggling with chronic illness, it’s a good time to reconnect with your spiritual wellbeing. That does not necessarily mean following a specific religion, or even believing in God. But it does mean getting in touch with your spirituality and belief once again, and accepting your place in the world.
Chronic illness will always be a challenge, and there will be setbacks along the way. But you only have one life to live, and no matter your health you deserve to enjoy it the best you can. To find out more about my psychotherapy services in Long Island, contact me today at (516) 732-0273.