Living with a severe illness can be discouraging and stressful. It not only has a physical impact, but mental, emotional, spiritual, social and financial impacts as well. However, the good news is hope and help are available. Here are a few ways to lessen stress and get you started on your path to a more peaceful life:
Programs to assist with physical care vary greatly depending on your location and your needs, but you could be eligible for home health care, hospice services or other programs. Ask at your hospital or doctor’s office to speak with a social worker or liaison that can help you locate resources. Getting the support you need to help with the physical demands of life can leave you with enough energy to do other activities you enjoy and help ease your stress.
Mental and Emotional Support
There is grief and loss associated with a change in health. Make sure these things are not ignored. Talk to friends and family members and surround yourself with positive people. Talk to medical providers about how you are feeling, since there may be medication that can help. Seek support from counselors or social workers who can help identify ways to help you feel better. Think of things you enjoyed prior to your illness. Can you make modifications? If you enjoyed gardening, but are no longer physically able, perhaps container gardening could be an option.
Maintain what has been important to you as you are able. Whether it’s visits with clergy, prayer or sacred readings, finding spiritual strength can help you overcome the degrading weight of severe illness. Think about ways you found peace in your life. Was there a place or thing that brought comfort? Look for ways to incorporate that into your life now and think of new activities that will give you a sense of peace, like yoga. Ask yourself what things gave you a sense of meaning, and how you can still make a difference.
You may find yourself feeling isolated when you are suffering a severe illness. Maybe you can no longer get out or maybe people are avoiding you because they don’t know what to say. Don’t be afraid to make the first move. If you feel lonely, pick up the phone and call a friend. Invite them to come to you for dinner parties or movie nights. Acknowledge that they may not know what to say and reassure them. It’s also important to find support through others who are experiencing what you are, or who have dealt with similar problems in the past. There are many chat boards and support groups online for people who have similar health problems. They will be able to understand you and give you support in a way that no one else can.
A serious illness can be financially draining. You may qualify for benefits from social security or other programs. Contact an attorney who specializes in disability or elder care like to see if you qualify. The social workers at your hospital or clinic are another good source of information on available resources.
While living with severe health issues is difficult, there is hope and help. It may feel as if you have lost control of your body, but there are ways you can maintain some control. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be afraid to receive it.
Author Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She writes about health, family, home and business. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family when she isn’t writing. Informational credit to Robert K. Kolber, Inc.