Regardless of what stage in life that one is in, there is not one person who anticipates hearing they have a chronic disease that will debilitate them for the rest of their lives. With all of the advances in medical science it can be hard to comprehend that you have been afflicted with a disease for which there is no cure, just a lifetime of symptoms that will haunt and challenge you each day of your life.
Most people recoil at such a diagnosis, but recoil even more when they recognize that the situations they have been facing have just become a permanent part of their reality.
Depending on the type of chronic disease that you may suffer from, this sentence may mean a life time with a caregiver such as someone who faces paralysis from Parkinson’s, or may mean a life time of new physical limitations, such as someone that suffers from COPD and cannot breathe properly.
Either way, the adjustment period of realizing that your life has been permanently altered without the hope of a solution can be hard to face, which is why many therapists actually describe the process of coming to terms with the change as similar to the process of coping with loss; simply dealing with the loss of life as you know it.
Most people do experience the classic five stages of loss when faced with a diagnosis of a chronic health condition, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many people find themselves lost in the stage of depression due to the fact that suffering from a disease that makes you different from the rest of the world can often be alienating. Adjusting to a life that limits your day, possibly your ability to interact, and forces you to abandon your routine, can make it very easy for depression to set in.
Of course, these are just the mental problems associated with facing a chronic disease, because at the same time that you are struggling to accept your new life you most likely are struggling to live your life with the many new challenges that are now a consistent part of it.
Even more challenging about a chronic condition, is that in most cases the behavior of the condition is not predictable making each day a new experience filled with many more challenges to your health and lifestyle. This may include new medical treatments, medicines, procedures, and plenty of other unwelcome additions.
However, there is no need to fight through both the physical and emotional adjustments on your own, because there are millions of people like you who are facing or have faced the same problems. due to this fact there are thousands of online forums and support groups that are non-profit and set up to unite people who face chronic illnesses so that they can inspire each other.
While it may seem odd to contribute at first, most of these communities are quite open and welcoming and can offer you the understanding and support that you need to change your daily outlook for the better.