Lonely path of chronic illness

The Road of Chronic Illness is (Sometimes) Lonely

Lonely path of chronic illness
Take these steps to stay motivated in the care of a chronic illness.

Have you experienced this? You have new symptoms, so friends and family are concerned and checking on you. You get a new chronic diagnosis, and friends and family are concerned and supportive.

Then, the ‘new’ wears off. The condition continues. The treatment continues. But, the concerned and supportive people have moved on to other issues.

How do you stay motivated to stay on your therapy? How do you stay focused on the necessary steps to control your medical condition? How do you maintain your resolve to stay healthy?

Chronic Illness can be Silent

Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, asthma, or arthritis? Have you had a stroke or a heart attack? There are so many types of chronic medical conditions.

Some of these conditions you don’t feel. Your blood pressure can be high, and you feel completely fine.   The same is true with your cholesterol. Even with diabetes, it can get pretty far from normal with no symptoms for many people.

Then, there is the fact that all medications can cause side effects. So, sometimes people feel worse on their medicine than they do when they don’t take it. Talk about hard to stay motivated!

Chronic Illness requires Understanding

One of the key factors in taking care of yourself is really understanding your condition and the treatment. If you have a chronic illness and you don’t fully understand it, please talk with your doctor, your pharmacist, or call us at Meds MASH. It is very hard to know how to take care of yourself if you don’t understand the what, why, how, when aspects of your condition. And it is VERY hard to stay motivated without this understanding.

In addition to the condition itself, you need to really understand the therapy that is prescribed. This can be medication, exercise, diet changes, physical therapy, counseling, or many other kinds of therapy. You need to know why, how this therapy can help, and what you can expect. If there are common side effects, you should know that. If it will take a month to work, you need to know that.

Chronic Illness is Easier to Manage with Support

I was talking about this with some friends who are in recovery from substance abuse. Addiction is one of many types of chronic illnesses. It is also an area that has repeatedly proven the value of support when conquering chronic illness. The 12-step program of recovery is built around the need for community, accountability, and belief in a higher power.

There are support groups available for most medical conditions. Some are groups that meet in person. Some are led by a health professional, others are peer led. Some are groups that meet and interact online.

It can be helpful to know that you are not alone. Most people benefit from sharing their experience, exchanging tips of what works and what doesn’t for them, and just supporting each other. We all have our good days and bad. In a group, someone will be having a good day and be able to help you through your bad day. Next time, you can be the helper and supporter.

If we can help you find a support group or help you to REALLY understand your condition and treatments, please contact us at www.medsmash.com or 410-472-5078.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

The path of chronic illness is easier to walk with support – family, friends, and a support group of people with the same chronic illness. Likewise, the path of spiritual growth is easiest to walk in community with other believers.

Having other believers around you helps in many ways:

  • Work through questions
  • Share ideas and insights
  • Hold each other accountable
  • Comfort each other
  • Celebrate with each other
  • Pray together
  • Live life together

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Hebrews 10:25 ESV

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I like the way God created us to work together through life and support each other.

Jesus promises he is with us always. So, no one is ever alone. Having friends, small groups, teachers to remind us of that and share their never alone stories can be very helpful.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Hebrews 13:5 ESV

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

One of the verses that I always find most comforting, especially when I’m feeling lonely, self-conscious, or insecure is this next one.

Romans 8:35-39 ESV

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You and I are never alone. We are unconditionally loved!

Blessings,

Michelle

 

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Life Transitions = Depression Risk

car-clip-art-879As my son returns to college I am fighting tears and happy at the same time. It is such a big adjustment to be away from him for several weeks at a time. I am sitting here thinking about the big impact of life transitions. We all experience them.

It is common knowledge that loss of a loved one and tragedies can increase risk of depression.

Moving, marriage, child moving out, job loss, retirement, and functional changes can increase risk of depression.

Diagnosis with a chronic illness can increase risk of depression.

As age increases, these life transitions can become more frequent.

When not recognized and addressed, depression can make you feel tired with too little energy, make it hard to concentrate and cause you to lose interest in things that you used to enjoy. It can also lead to you feeling sad and hopeless.

Depression is NOT a normal part of aging.

You do NOT have to just tolerate it and think this is your new normal.

Depression does NOT mean you have done something wrong.

There is help, and there is hope! Effective depression treatment usually requires support from people and medications. Medications that treat depression take about 8 weeks to work, so please be patient and take them every day until they work.

To further complicate things, depression is common in someone experiencing memory decline. As stated above, depression makes it harder to concentrate and remember. Cognitive or memory decline often leads to depression as the decline is recognized. Professional diagnosis and treatment is imperative to sort through what is causing what symptoms and the best course of action.

Remember, you do not have to live with depression.

If you’re interested in a depression screening, contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

If you are depressed, are you a bad person? NO!

Are you a weak Christian? NO!

Have you done something wrong? NO!

Throughout the Bible there are stories of people dealing with difficult situations, life transitions, illnesses, chronic problems. These include David and Paul and Joseph. You are not alone.

Also found throughout the Bible are messages about joy and hope. You have an eternal source of this joy and hope.

I believe part of God’s design for helping you through these difficult times is medical and psychological treatment. God gave these abilities and resources to your treatment team for your benefit.

Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

The Lord is my strength and shield.

I trust him with all my heart.

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.

I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Hebrews 6:19 (CEV)

This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain and into the most holy place.

Romans 12:12 (NLT)

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

I’ll be praying you find the eternal joy that is yours in Christ. And I encourage you to seek God’s blessing through treatment by your healthcare providers.

Blessings,

Michelle