Living With a Chronic Disease
Chronic illness is the phase where the suffering of an individual is far more than the assumption of everyone. At times people suffer from bad days, but these days are not infinite, these are limited, as we sometimes have a bad day, or a bad few months, which comes and goes away and life again comes back on track as per our expectation and as per we want our life to be.
But people with chronic illness have to suffer and struggle every day really hard, from the day of their diagnosis until the last day of their survivial. It’s actually like a war which these people do every day with their soul, mind, and body and with the everyday situations which demand from them to act normal and fulfill all the given tasks.
Though many people are very resilient and quickly learn to face the challenges and discover innovative ways to deal with their everyday routine without experiencing much hassle, but there are still many who assume themselves in a big dark room from which coming out is impossible for them.
Since the day they realized that they are suffering from a chronic illness whose cure is impossible, they start feeling unmotivated and depressed and assume that every door of success, fun, and leading a normal life is now closed for them and they don’t even try to open it again.
This is where they get wrong. I am sharing here some very useful tips which are easier to execute in life and are really impactful for making you believe that life is not that hard, and when there is one door closed, try to find another one which is surely there for you and you might find something better in that another door which otherwise you never find unless you didn’t suffer from the chronic disease.
And this is not just a motivational phrase, I actually mean it and stating it with full assurance.
So, before going further, let’s discuss a bit about what chronic illness is all about.
What is a Chronic Disease?
Unlike the short term seasonal diseases like flues and viruses, chronic illness is a medical condition when the disease of a person has no cure. It’s a lifelong condition which sometimes gets worse over time and can also take the person to the stage of disability in some cases.
The one harsh fact of dealing with it that the life of the person defines with a single word, which is “limitations”. The person will no longer be able to participate fully in the usual and common activities which he used to do before his diagnosis. The sections of his life which are hugely impacted due to chronic illness are social life, work, and traveling.
But once the treatment is running successfully it can control or stabilize the symptoms and you can be able to lead a normal life somewhat without facing many restrictions.
Here are a few examples of chronic diseases –
- Multiple Sclerosis.
- Parkinson’s Disease.
- Depression and other mood disorders.
- Heart disease.
- Alzheimer disease.
- Crohn Disease.
- Cystic Fibrosis.
What do we need to do?
The betterment and the leading of quality life in the chronic illness phase demands a drastic change in the lifestyle of people. These changes include their dietary schedules like what to eat or when to eat, timely medications, attending timely appointments with the doctor, and including exercise in their routines. These certain changes are highly required to lead a quality life.
And the foremost among all, don’t skip your medications, as medicines are the only source for not letting the chronic disease overpower your life. Medicines are the major way to control your symptoms and can make you feel good. The treatment lasts for a few months or might take a few years but make you able to live with your disease by managing the symptoms.
Apart from your treatment, some steps need to be taken for not letting the chronic condition disturb your life. Have a look below.
Steps to be taken for living a quality life with Chronic Disease
Acceptance – I know it’s very hard to accept the awful reality of being diagnosed with a chronic disease that is going to be a lifelong condition. But we are having 2 options – either accept it and let the innovative thoughts and further lifestyle plannings for your life come into your mind or either don’t accept the reality and stick to that assumption that life is miserable to you and there is no option left instead of being sympathetic to yourself.
Think wisely about which thought will be best and then reach the most preferable decision.
Consistency is the best practice – now if you accept the condition, the next step is to bring a consistent routine that might be missing yet. Make a routine of doing everything at a similar time every day. It helps you to set a routine that will motivate you to get out of your bed every day.
Lifestyle changes – adopting healthier activities in life and quitting the wrong ones is essential for every individual. But it’s more crucial for chronic disease patients. Their wrong habits impact their body a lot more than other people. So, quit smoking, alcohol, packaged and junk foods, avoid being too tired, consider taking a few naps in the day, and take proper 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
Don’t lose hope – if you’re unable to do your full-time job due to the illness, so don’t think that this is the end of your career. Maybe this is the perfect time to try something new, something which you are passionate about but didn’t get a chance yet to fulfill that dream because your previous job didn’t let you do it.
Yes, it’s true, we sometimes just let go our passion and continue our full-time job due to the responsibilities on our head. Because we never got the chance and time in our whole life to do what we actually want.
You can start a low investment business, or can start freelancing, can provide services to people as per your skills. Can also develop and polish your skills by doing any certification course and can be able to freely work from your place even for the whole life.
Nobody wants to bear the bossy environment and work targets in the companies, but they have to live like this the whole life because maximum people afraid of quitting their job which they consider as a “safe” source of earning.
But people with a chronic condition have to live by keeping their health first in their mind, so they can utilize their time by working on this productive future plan.
Be fully informed about your specific disease – ask your doctor about your condition and explore the ways over the internet that help you manage your symptoms more effectively. Do the research and find a relevant diet plan for your condition, this will make you feel good.
Learn to say “No” – don’t be too hard on yourself. If there is anything you can’t do, just say it. Don’t hide your problem or difficulties in doing certain activities just for taking others into consideration. Open up and share as much as you can with your family or with the people around you so that they can know your limitations and understand your illness and can help you out when it’s required, or can expect from you accordingly.
Take or accept help from people around you whenever it’s required- it’s fully justified if you take or accept the help if you really need it. If the people around you really care for you, they are surely concerned about your chronic condition as well, so whenever you ask them for any help, they would love to do so. So, nothing is embarrassing in it if you need their help in even minor things. Don’t hesitate to ask or accept their help.
Do not stop being ambitious – working with a chronic disease is really exhausting. As the tasks, you were used to fulfill easily earlier now seem difficult to accomplish. Lots of challenges and obstacles come in the way which makes it really hard and makes people think negatively that they might no longer be able to do their full-time job.
Thinking negatively is quite obvious as per the situation, but here are a few steps you can take to balance your work life. But before proceeding further, I would suggest that if you’re performing a stressful job profile, then rather than making adjustments, you should consider quitting it. As work is undoubtedly important, but health is more important than anything else in the World.
Working with Chronic Illness: steps to balance both
- As mentioned above, avoid being hard on yourself. Be clear about what you can do and what you can’t. Recognize the particular point of time when it will be difficult for you to perform the task anymore, and after recognizing it quickly give yourself a break, don’t be overwhelmed in doing work.
- If your body limitations could impact the work, then the management team of the organization or certain important people in the company need to know about your illness. So, be comfortable in sharing your medical reason with the employer or HR, and feel free to discuss your requirements with the company.
- Must spare some time for your self care. Though it’s important for everyone. But people with chronic diseases are highly required to prioritize their health first. Don’t be so engrossed in your work life that you hardly get time for your self-care. Avoid being tempted for performing overtime work schedules.
Reach home at a specific time daily and make a consistent routine of doing healthy activities like performing exercises, meditation, listening to music, dance, taking rest, preparing food, or do anything you love.
- Don’t hesitate to demand sick leaves whenever it’s required. My suggestion of sharing your condition with the employer was only linked with the cause so that you won’t be overloaded by the burden of work life.
So, you can freely request for the leaves or for doing work from home for a few days. And if it’s possible to permanently or for a few selected days in a week you can work from your home then it is highly recommended in the case of chronic disease patients.