Being ill is difficult. You have to cope with the illness itself, the effects of the illness, the side effects of medication, failure to get support and difficulties of obtaining treatment. Illness can interfere with relationships, employment and personal independence and may lead to anxiety, anger and depression. Illness is worse when it is chronic. It means that the problems mentioned above become long term and life becomes a daily battle for survival. Luckily there are ways to cope. Here are the tips for coping with illness.
1. Deal with the Emotions
The impact of the illness can be so hard for you that you may become depressed, and even angry, at the temporary or prolonged loss of independence and employability. Because depression and anger lead to negativity and loss of hope, it is better to seek psychological help in order to cope.
2. Accept the Illness
The illness is there, so denial will not help and it may contribute to anger and depression and increase stress. Accept the illness and do what you can to live your best life possible and to look for ways to overcome it.
3. Be Involved in Your Treatment
There is a lot of stress involved in dealing with illness especially if it is chronic. To reduce stress, it helps to be involved in the treatment. Instead of being a docile recipient of treatment, research the illness to understand it, explore available options and get to know treatment providers. Ask questions, and give your opinions based on your understanding. This does not in any way mean self-diagnosing of any new conditions. It means you get to understand better what is happening to you and why you are getting particular treatment.
4. Change Your Diet
Good nutrition is necessary for recovery. If you are given special dietary instructions by your medical service provider, it is wise to follow it. In the absence of any instructions, you will benefit from increased intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for better nutrition.
5. Get Support
Illness is not necessarily the end of life. There is always a good chance of recovery. Do not isolate yourself. You need people now more than ever. Share your feelings with family and friends and accept their support. People who do not understand your illness may not be aware when you need help so ask them for help and explain clearly why you need help.
Reach out to a support group for people with similar illnesses where everyone shares their experiences and hope. Knowing that some people live a fulfilling life despite the illness, or learning that some people do overcome the illness, will give you hope. If you are too shy to share openly, you can still join an online group where you can remain anonymous.
6. Focus on Your Spiritual Side
Illness tends to stop people in their tracks by keeping them in bed. It also reminds us of our mortality. During the inactive days do not waste time on regrets and worries. This is a great opportunity to focus on your spiritual growth. Develop a relationship with the higher power or, if you are already spiritual, strengthen that relationship. If you like being alone, then spend a lot of time in meditation. If you prefer being with others, get involved in a congregation or a spiritual group to learn more and to share. The faith in a higher power that you develop and maintain will reduce your stress and your physical symptoms. Also, meditation provides physical, emotional and mental health benefits.
7. Develop Gratitude
What you focus on grows. Do not focus on the disease and everything that you dislike and hate. Focus on what you have and love. In your journal, write down the names of people in your life who genuinely bring joy in your heart and the things that you have that you are happy to have. Read the journal every day to remind yourself of what you have. Then gratitude will develop naturally. Gratitude will influence your attitude. With time you will find that you are more peaceful and less stressed and even happy despite your illness.
Often people can be tempted into self-diagnosis and to self-medicate, however this can be dangerous especially when buying online. For example, lately in India there is an initiative by Pharmeasy, to help consumers to avoid pharmacies that are not registered. This means that when buying medicine for home delivery, consumers can be connected to a registered local pharmacy, thereby avoiding any bad experiences.