When you are first diagnosed with a long term or chronic health condition, it can be difficult to accept, to begin with. People think they are being helpful by telling you ‘it could be worse’ or ‘look on the bright side’, and while their intentions might be good, it can make you feel angry and disheartened. However, technology and the many adaptions that are available these days may make it feel a little easier to deal with. Many health conditions can be managed enough nowadays to enable you to live a normal or at least near-normal life.
Whether you have hearing loss, diabetes, arthritis, or anything in between, here we look at some of the ways that you can learn to live a normal life with a long term health condition.
#1 Live in the now
Having a long-term condition or having one or more imposed on you will alter your life. You will be a different person afterward, and it is better for your long-term physical and mental well-being to acknowledge this than to pretend that nothing has changed. This may entail you grieving for some aspect of your former self, body, or life that has passed you by. It’s okay to be frustrated; in fact, it is probably a good thing. And, as with any other trauma, acceptance comes with time, so don’t fight it.
#2 Take the time to learn about who you are
Many people who have learned to live with a long term health condition have gotten to know and understand themselves better as a result of looking inside themselves to come to terms with their health conditions. Greater self-awareness has given them the ability to be stronger, more confident, and make smarter choices for their own happiness. This may involve looking deeply at some things, which can be a little unsettling at times, but keep at it and seek professional support if you need to.
#3 Reach out to people in the same boat as you
There are now volunteer groups and organizations for people with every health condition that you can think of, thanks in large part to the internet. Join in with them – it can be an important part of not denying your condition, but of accepting it as a part of who you are.
Your condition also gives you something very important in common with the other members of the group, allowing you to get to know each other more quickly and deeply than in everyday life. It has the potential to result in you making some excellent long-term friends who truly know you and understand what you are going through.
#4 Stop worrying about what other people think
Many people look at whether there is a solution to your problem. Because of this, you may find that people you know have an interest in how you can be treated. If they find there is no solution or treatment, their interest may well wane. This is why it is important to reach out to people who are experiencing the same things as you.