Being ill for any period of time is always going to affect your mood and bring you down. But when you are chronically ill, it can feel as though you are losing your sense of self as well. Having a chronic illness changes your life in such a way that it is common for people to go through a period of mourning after their diagnosis because they know they won’t be the same again.
But here’s the thing. While you might feel awful right now, your personality doesn’t have to be eclipsed by your illness. By finding ways to cope and new ways to live, you can find a new meaning and recover the most important parts of yourself – your humor, your capacity for friendship and your love for life.
Find Ways to Feel Better
While a full recovery might be beyond you, there might be things you can try to help you feel a little better. For example, if you have access to skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, it would be well worth your time exploring any therapies that could lead you to feel better. For example, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy could help with a wide range of illnesses that include chronic pain.
But feeling better isn’t just about medical solutions. Doing things you love often has a positive effect on your overall sense of well-being because they boost your mood. Sometimes, a good distraction is as good as a painkiller. So, if you’re feeling down, watch a funny YouTube clip, sing loudly or whistle to yourself, read a book, watch a film, focus on taking some deep breaths. Do anything that makes you feel better.
Come to Terms With Your Illness
When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, it is totally normal to grieve for your former, healthy self and feel devastated by your loss. Going through any huge change is never easy, so give yourself time to come to terms with what’s happened and take it slowly.
Learning to love your body and self as it is now will take time but you can start being kind to yourself right away. Similarly, while accepting and owning who you are can take time to get used to, you should turn to your friends and family who will be able to guide you through.
Discover New Ways to Be Joyful
Your illness might have prevented you from achieving your dreams, but this doesn’t mean that your life no longer has purpose. A major part of rebuilding your confidence is rediscovering the essential parts that make up the ‘you’ you know and love. For most people, attributes such as kindness, a sense of fun and friendship aren’t altered by any chronic illness.
One way that you can take control of your illness is by learning to joke about it and be a bit more light-hearted when you talk about it. This is a hard thing to do but as you gradually and gently tease about your illness, you’ll begin to see that it isn’t who you are – it’s merely a part.