New Normal of Chronic Illness/Chronic Pain
It has been said Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Those words can be tough to believe if you are dealing with a chronic health condition. Clients with chronic illness report their lives being altered, and the change in lifestyle is typically felt in a negative light. Understandably so! Life has been irrevocably changed and without seeking permission.
What do we know? Of those who have long-term health conditions, 30% also experience a related mental health concern. This number can be even higher when speaking specifically about depression. Depression is not the only mental health concern associated with chronic illness; anxiety and substance abuse can also show up with chronic illness and pain. Why? Because chronic illness and chronic pain can influence life in such a way that we feel robbed. Robbed of social engagement, comfort, exercise, sleep, and even our happiness. In addition, our mental health struggles influence our physical health and can increase pain, which in turn can lead to more mental health struggles. Such a dreadful cycle!
But there is help…
What can you do if you are experiencing any of these concerns?
- Seek support. Having a wide net of connection along with a few deeper friendships helps us endure.
- Separate your condition from your identity. For instance, a friend with whom you don’t talk about the condition. Establish some moments during the day when you distract yourself from thinking of the pain, the illness, treatment, or concerns about the future.
- Create a life that is worthy of living, with chronic illness. Pursue enjoyable activities (as mild as they need to be). Offer service to others in ways that you can.
Therapists at Envision can help with each of these goals. They may use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to adjust responses to the illness and pain, or they may use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help build patterns to help work with and around the illness. You may also be challenged to use mindfulness, which has been shown to be a benefit in pain management.
If you are experiencing any mental health symptoms related to your chronic health condition or find yourself lost on navigating this new altered life, call the clinic today. Book an appointment and start creating a future based not in despair, but in hope.
- .Life is not over…life has changed.