“It’s exhausting to simply exist.”
Living with a chronic disease can feel very lonely, and very frequently exhausting. You constantly face the daily dilemma of which things to do because you only have so much energy, and taking care of your health is a full-time job. Depression, isolation, and doctors appointment may be a scary part of your life now.
If you’ve been injured, or diagnosed with a chronic illness recently, or even a while ago, you’ve experienced a big blow that has taken a lot of time to wrap your mind around, and you may even feel traumatized by it. It’s hard enough to know how to take care of your health, much less live a life that feels meaningful.
If your injury or illness is hidden or invisible that might make things even harder. It’s exhausting to try to explain to others how you feel, and why you just can’t do x, y, and z at the drop of a hat. You may not even “look” sick. The brain fog and insomnia that often accompanies chronic disease may make it difficult for you to work, pay attention to conversations, or plan. You may have lost friends or family members who can’t cope with what you are going through.
Mental Health and Chronic Disease
It’s not uncommon for people living with a chronic illness or physical injury to feel a range of emotions about their health, relationships, and their life. Fear, betrayal, sadness, grief, anger, peace, hopefulness, hopelessness, anxiety, stress, resignation….all of these emotions are common and may come and go over the course of days or even just a few hours. For many, mores significant mental health problems develop, such as insomnia, depression, and/or anxiety disorders. Although understandable and common, developing a depression or anxiety disorder adds to the vicious cycle of chronic disease and research has shown (and you have probably experienced yourself) that mental health disorders exacerbates the course and treatment of a chronic illness.
Treatment of Mental Health Problems and Chronic Disease with Counseling
If you are struggling with how to live a meaningful life, through therapy I can help you navigate the cycles of relapse and recovery of chronic illness so that you can find more meaning and joy again; to help you find the “real you” again. Over the course of your therapy, we’ll talk about how you view yourself, and how others have responded to you. We’ll gain a better understanding on how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors positively or negatively impact your coping. We’ll discuss your relationships and practice assertiveness so that you can feel connected with people again while respecting yourself and what your body needs. We’ll figure out ways to organize your daily tasks (e.g., medication regimen, daily movement or exercise, special care needs, taking care of your home and people who rely on you) so that you won’t feel so overwhelmed or tired.
As therapy progresses, you’ll feel more in control, you won’t blame yourself so much, you’ll have fewer bothersome thoughts, you won’t live in denial about your illness, you will have a better sense of your physical and emotional boundaries, and you’ll connect with others who support and love you for who you are. Essentially, you’ll learn strategies to help you regroup faster and easier when you have a relapse. Towards these goals, we use a variety of evidence-based therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Call us today at 918-505-4367 for an appointment and we’ll get started on this journey to help you get your spark back!