Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can come as a blow. Far too many people these days are dealing with chronic underlying concerns, such as autoimmune conditions, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic Lyme, and other difficult-to-diagnose, challenging-to-live-with issues. Counseling for chronic illness can help you manage the emotional and social impact that may come with your diagnosis.
Stress and distress
If you are dealing with issues like these, you may feel like you have lost your life as you knew it, and may be struggling to adjust to your “new normal,” or rebelling against the very idea of a “new normal.” It can be scary and isolating.
If you have a history of stressful life events or depression, you may be at increased risk for emotional upset when you get diagnosed. But even if you have had relatively few life stressors, you may be shaken by your diagnosis. Frustratingly, the stress that so often accompanies diagnoses like these can make your symptoms worse.
The support you deserve
One of the most challenging parts of having such a diagnosis is that you look, on the outside, like everything is OK. People in your support network may have a tough time understanding what you are going through. Unsupportive people may tell you it’s all in your head. Combined with your inability to do the things you used to do before, this can leave you feeling isolated.
And the supportive people in your life need to make sure that they have time to themselves so their identity does not get lost in yours. If they don’t they will be at risk for compassion fatigue and caregiver burnout. You want to lean on them, and they want you to lean on them. But there are limits to what is healthy.
Counseling for chronic illness
A qualified therapist can really help. I have been working with individuals and families dealing with chronic illness for more than a decade. Together, we will work to find ways to be at peace with what is, and to harness the mind-body-spirit connection to address the underlying stress that can exacerbate symptoms. If you want to learn more, contact me.