Chronic Illness and its Impact on Your Life
If you suffer from a chronic illness, or are diagnosed with one, you are no stranger to the many ways that your symptoms and treatment impact your life.
People with chronic illnesses often miss out on important and enjoyable activities due to flares. They sometimes feel misunderstood by loved ones and the medical community. Maybe they also worry about the many medical obligations and expenses associated with their conditions.
On top of doctor’s appointments, medications, and daily symptom management routines, therapy can feel like just another added responsibility that you don’t have the spoons for. Yet, taking care of your mental health is an essential component of your overall well-being. This is especially true if you suffer from a chronic illness.
Chronic Illness and Mental Health
People with chronic illnesses are significantly more likely to have or develop mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
You might be skeptical that a therapist can help you when traditional medicine could not. Or, you may worry that a therapist will suggest your symptoms are “all in your head.” Those fears are real and valid. Yet, therapy for chronic illness is less about managing your symptoms and more about dealing with the emotional toll of having a serious medical condition. If you suffer from chronic illness, here are just a few of the ways a therapist can help you cope.
If you suffer from chronic illness, a therapist can…
Remind you that you aren’t alone.
Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be a lonely and isolating experience. You might find yourself growing distant from family and friends who don’t understand what you’re going through. You may not know anyone else who suffers from the same or a similar condition as you. However, chronic illness therapists who work with individuals with chronic illnesses know that you are not the only one dealing with these concerns. A therapist can use the insight gained from working with others like you to put your worries into perspective and remind you that you aren’t alone.
Help you manage your illness.
A therapist is not a medical professional and cannot offer treatment for physical health conditions. Therapists are skilled at helping people find new ways to cope with the challenges before them. This includes tackling the many responsibilities that come with chronic illness management.
Your therapist can help you determine what does and doesn’t work for you when it comes to keeping track of your symptoms, attending regular medical appointments, and managing life with limited energy. Together, you can create a plan for organizing your life around your diagnosis, without letting the chronic illness run the show.
Chronic pain is not “all in your head.” It is thought to be a biopsychosocial phenomenon — meaning that instead of being attributed to one direct cause, your pain is influenced by physical, mental, and environmental factors. Whether or not you suffer from chronic pain, the way you think can deeply influence the way you feel physically. While changing your thoughts may not cure your chronic pain, unlearning negative thought patterns can help you refocus your attention elsewhere and learn to thrive despite it.
Additionally, therapy techniques like brainspotting and pain reprocessing therapy have the power to retrain the nervous system, having a tangible physiological effect on your experience of chronic pain. Not all therapists are trained in these relatively new therapies, but many of our chronic illness counselors have both personal experience and extensive training in managing chronic pain through therapy.
Distinguish yourself from your illness.
Receiving a chronic illness diagnosis can trigger a wide variety of feelings. Some people feel angry and hurt, while others are relieved to have a name for their suffering. Regardless of the specific emotions you feel, it can be easy to get caught up in your diagnosis and treatment, forgetting all the other wonderful qualities that make you unique.
Life may begin to revolve around doctor’s appointments and daily management routines, as can conversations with others in your life. Working with a therapist can help you carve out weekly space for yourself and your emotions, separate from the symptoms of your disease. It can also help you identify who you are and what you value, distinguishing you as a person from the diagnosis you were given.
Life with chronic illness is hard, but it is also manageable — especially with the right team of professionals to back you up. When living with a chronic illness, a therapist can be a valuable part of your care team, helping you look beyond your illness and live life to the absolute fullest.
Contact us today if you’re ready to discover how virtual therapy can help you thrive with your diagnosis, not in spite of it.
Start Chronic Illness Counseling in New Bern, NC
Remember that you aren’t alone in this battle with chronic illness and pain. Furthermore, that relentlessness, irritability, and sense of dread you feel can be eased. Our online therapists can teach you how to not give power to those unhelpful negative thoughts through chronic illness counseling so you gain regain control of your life. We believe that you deserve it. Get started with therapy at our counseling practice in New Bern, NC with these steps:
1. Fill out this consult form.
2. Read about our skilled chronic illness therapists.
3. Begin living a life with less anxiety and more joy!
Other Services at Renewed Wellness
At our New Bern, NC-based therapy practice, we offer more than just therapy for anxiety and stress. Our therapists specialize specifically in anxiety and addiction counseling. For those going through a life change, we also offer life transitions counseling. Let’s work together to get you to a good place!