5 Ways to Cope in a Crisis When Living With a Chronic Illness
Taking a little time to come with ideas for how to handle a crisis is a valuable exercise for anyone living with a chronic invisible illness.
After all, to live with a chronic illness is to know that a crisis will come your way at some point. This list comprises the things I’ve learned about how to cope when life throws you a curve ball. As I’ve matured and had to learn how to deal with changes brought about by chronic illness, it has become easier and easier to cope with things I never thought I could handle.
By focusing on breathing I can keep myself in the moment and stop my brain from running wild with all the “what ifs.” It’s always the best place to start when something goes wrong.
(2) Focus on being rational and maintaining perspective
It’s in my nature to start flipping out during a crisis. It takes a concerted effort to keep myself thinking rationally. I do my best to keep reminding myself that I can handle whatever has been thrown my way and that freaking out does nothing but make me upset. The older I get the easier I find it to do this. I used to completely lose it and go into hysterical crying with any crisis. I still do that sometimes, but much less often.
In addition to my husband, parents, and closest friends, I’m part of a fantastic, close knit message board of women who provide the most amazing support both day-to-day and in a crisis. It’s like our own little Internet family. I don’t know what I would do without them. The online migraine and chronic illness community is an incredible source of support, too.
Discussing your situation with people who truly understand because they are living the same thing is amazing. Turning to other people also often helps me discover options and solutions I would never have thought of on my own.
(4) Ask for help
This is hard for me. I don’t like to need to ask for help. I want to be independent. But when push comes to shove sometimes it would be downright stupid to suffer silently when someone who loves you could do something to make things easier for you. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a supportive family or group of friends. Since I do, I should let them help me. They want to.
I have a scary tendency to chastise myself for any part I think I might have had in bringing about a crisis. For instance, if I’d only tried harder I wouldn’t have lost my job. Never mind that I was dealing with three years of constant migraines when I quit working. It’s much easier to deal with a crisis if I can have compassion toward myself and remember that most crises are just a fluke rather than something I deserve for being a bad person.
In conclusion. . .
Coping with a crisis is and probably always will be hard. But with a better idea of what helps me push through I have more confidence in my ability to survive just about anything. You can do the same by coming up with an approach that suits your needs and tendencies before you need to cope with your next crisis.
About the Author: Diana Lee lives with chronic migraine disease, occipital neuralgia, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and depression. She blogs about living with chronic pain, migraines and depression at her site, Somebody Heal Me, and interacts with other patients on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
She is a licensed attorney, but is currently on disability because of the frequency and intensity of her chronic intractable migraines. She is married and mommy to two furbabies, Felix the cat and Maisy the Jack Russell Terrier. She loves reading, mindfulness meditation, watching college football and basketball, reality TV, laughing and being an advocate for other patients.