Finding Your “Yes” When Chronic Illness Says “No”

Posted by on Jun 19, 2015 in Chronic pain | 0 comments

succulent gardenFor those who suffer from a chronic illness, even the day’s smallest tasks can feel unbearably difficult. If you or a loved one is currently dealing with this challenge, you understand the feelings of pain and defeat that can accompany everyday life. In the midst of this physical and mental anguish, it can seem daunting to attempt the search for hope and strength—but there are ways to move forward and press on.

Below are several suggestions for finding your “yes,” when chronic illness says “no.”

Take care of yourself

If you suffer from a chronic illness, the most important thing is to take care of yourself, first and foremost. It may sometimes be difficult to find your “yes,” but things will be that much harder, if you are trying to cope with extra and unnecessary pain. You may not be able to completely control your illness, but you can control many other aspects of your health.

Make sure to always stay on top of your medications, your doctor appointments, your therapy, your diet, your exercise, and any other areas required in your individual situation. Stick to your schedule, and always follow the recommendations of your doctor to help maintain the strongest, healthiest you possible.

Maintain the strongest possible support team

No matter your circumstances, you can find hope and courage from having a steady support system in place. Your chronic illness will inevitably impact multiple areas of your life, and you may find yourself struggling to accept, and cope, with these changes and disruptions. When you are feeling weak and unable to go on, you will need to pull strength from others in your life.

Seek to assemble the best support team available to you. Reach out to trusted loved ones, and surround yourself with individuals who can help fill your life with optimism, laughter, and hope.

Distract yourself and seek positivity

It will not always be easy to find your “yes,” when your chronic illness is telling your body and mind “no,” and you may often feel like you are fighting a losing battle. In order to combat the feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, fear, and hopelessness that can accompany chronic illness, it is essential to try and distract yourself from the negativity each and every day.

As much as you are able, fill your life with activities that can distract you from your pain. Travel, attend classes, take up new hobbies, visit with friends and family, get involved with your community, attend church activities, volunteer—do anything possible to raise your mood and to lift your spirits. The more vibrant, positive energy you can fill your days with, the greater power you will have over your chronic illness, and the more alive you will feel.

Strive to gain perspective and remain positive 

As you combat chronic illness, it can be extremely tempting to give into your negative thoughts, and spend time dwelling on things you cannot change. While it is okay to acknowledge the bad, and to wish your situation was different, self-pity and negativity will ultimately only leave you feeling worse. Strive to remain positive and to gain perspective on what’s happening.

Things may not be ideal, but they could always be worse—and chances are, you still have much to be thankful for. It may be helpful to keep a positivity journal, and to verbally express your gratitude to others daily. While you may indeed be limited by your illness, remain grateful for the abilities and opportunities you do have. Your attitude has the potential to make a world of difference, either for better or for worse.

Moving forward and finding hope 

Struggling with a chronic illness will change your life forever, and it is normal to feel afraid and uncertain of what may lie ahead. Remember that you never need to face this fight alone, and that you always have people and resources that can help you. If you are uncertain of how to find your “yes” in the midst of your suffering, do not hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional today.

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