Note from Kristine ~ “Today’s guest post at ALWR comes from British writer, Sam Socorro. I would like to thank him for the following piece where he shares with us thoughts and suggestions on coping with chronic illness & depression”…:
It is often assumed by many that the pain caused by an illness is visible, limited to a certain period of time, and can be treated with ease. From common illnesses such as the stomach flu to the more serious mononucleosis virus, the process of taking the time off of work or studies to receive proper treatment for these illnesses is dreaded by most, but a very possible task to complete. Chronic illnesses, on the other hand, can be easily separated into their own category. According to the Human Disease and Conditions Forum, a chronic disease is one that persists for a long time, typically three months or more. These illnesses tend to never completely go away, even when the symptoms are controlled by medication. They can be present at birth, or developed overtime due to bad habits or genetics (Human Diseases and Conditions, 2016). These illnesses can be tough to cope with, and it is important to fully understand the two categories and how they differ before figuring out how to deal with the presence of a chronic illness
There are two categories of chronic illnesses. The first one consists of diseases that affect mainly one’s physical well-being – worsening the condition of vital organs and impeding the person’s ability to live a normal life. Examples include Cancer, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and Cystic Fibrosis, just to name a handful. Taking Cancer as an example, abnormal cells grow into a tumor. Depending on how fast that tumor is detected, the overall physical health of a person, their age, and a variety of other factors, the individual’s condition could be potentially curable or dangerously life-threatening. The treatment involves long, grueling processes such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy, which can cause many side effects, such as hair loss, anemia, urinary problems, and extreme fatigue, according to the National Cancer Institute (National Cancer Institute, 2016).
Dealing with this treatment, or having a loved one who has to bear it, can be a tough process. The number one thing to remember as a family member or caregiver is to always stay positive around the chronically ill person. Focus on moving forward and doing your best to make the future sound bright. This typically involves make sure the patient is always updated and congratulated on positive progress, taking the time off of work or studies to care for the individual as needed, and staying educated on the illness to help picture yourself in the person’s shoes. As a chronically ill individual, it’s also very important to find out as much as possible about the illness and constantly be kept in the loop. Spending time with loved ones and thanking them for their help and company is a great way to temporarily distract you from the illness.
The second category of chronic illness consists of illnesses that mainly affect one’s mental health. Unfortunately, as a mentally ill person, it is much harder to get the treatment and recognition needed to have a swift recovery than a person who is physically ill. A chronic mental illness, much like a physical one, can persist for months, or even years, without being properly treated. The everyday life of a person is crippled by this condition, as any mental illness can affect how one interacts in social situations, completes work at their job, or pursues lifelong goals. There are many different types of chronic mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. Each one, although generally less accepted and understood by society than a visible physical condition, can potentially be life-threatening if left untreated.
Depression is a common illness that appears in several forms. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five adult Canadians will suffer a mental disorder in their lives, with depression and anxiety being the two most common (Canadian Mental Health Association, n.d.). Symptoms of depression can include a persistent feeling of sadness occurring daily, feelings of worthlessness or guilt interfering with normal activities, and loss in pleasure from hobbies and outings that were once enjoyable (Human Diseases and Conditions, 2016).
Coping with depression can be done in a variety of ways. Firstly, it is important to seek help from a professional. The type of help available ranges from therapists to psychiatrists, and can include verbal counseling as well as medication. Medication usually involves anti-depressants in the form of a pill, and can be a larger or smaller dose depending on what the professional thinks is best. Secondly, surrounding yourself with caring friends and family members can serve as a temporary, but positive, distraction from the illness. Other positive distractions can include starting a new hobby or setting goals for the future – both of which give you activities to look forward to and work towards. Finally, it is important to keep your physical health in check while coping with a mental illness. Making sure you are getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating the right foods to fuel your body will make you feel better overall and help lead to a better mood.
Article by Sam Socorro, a guest writer from Steam and Shower UK. Sam is a specialist writer and has extensive knowledge in everything related to steam showers, saunas and hydrotherapy benefits.
“Cancer Treatment – Side Effects.” National Cancer Institute. N.p., 29 Apr 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
“Chronic Illness.” Human Diseases and Conditions. N.p., 2016. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
“Mental Illness in Canada.” Canadian Mental Health Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
Thank you again Sam for your thoughtful and informative contribution. Everyone have a safe and blessed day. See you back here on Thursday! ~Kristine