The past few months I have been dealing with a situation that completely drained me. My energy and empathetic abilities were lost. My mental, physical and spiritual well-being was suffering. Everyone and everything irritated me and I was unable to communicate like normal. Assurance and guidance from family or friends had no value to me anymore. I had fallen ill. I didn’t know what to do.
I had suddenly become quite ill and had lost a whole lot of weight. Deciding to see what was bothering my body I sought medical advice. Upon inspection, the results of my tests indicated my blood cell count was out of the ordinary and more testing was required. A week went by and I was informed there may be cancerous cells in my system and I would need to go on steroid treatment to see if anything would develop. The treatment went on for two weeks.
It started with a small bump in my jawline. At first, I didn’t give it much thought, however, as the weeks passed the bump continued to grow. Pain started to form in the region where the bump had formed, and nausea came into play. At this point I became worried. Stress and anxiety set in and I didn’t know what to do. Not being able to go to a private hospital, I had no choice but to visit the government healthcare system. The waiting period to be seen took a very long time. I had to put a whole week aside to sit in queues the entire day, only to receive advice from a first-year student.
Sent away with only painkillers in hand, I felt lost and hopeless, slipping further into depression. The pressure became too much for me. All I wanted to do was lock myself in my room, never to leave the house again. I rejected the support of friends and family— I didn’t need sympathy! I felt ugly. How would I be able to work or even be in the same room with others, all staring at my disfigured face? I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror.
This was one of the lowest points in my life. I had no idea how to manage my feelings and how to deal with all these pressures. Time passed and things became worse. I stayed in bed and almost never went out of my own space. At this point, I knew the cyst was taking over my life and something must be done about it.
How I Coped with Illness
Those dealing with sickness face many challenges, and there is often a lot of uncertainty about what the future might bring. People usually have to cope with a whole range of medication, including the associated side-effects. They might worry about the impact of their illness on family and friends. Long-term illness can cause people’s lifestyles to change quite dramatically. People may feel frustrated because they can no longer do the things they used to, including the ones that gave them the most enjoyment.
Confront Your Illness
Consider how you view your illness. What are your fears? How does your illness create stress in your life? How do you react to that stress emotionally? In what ways is the illness changing your life? Try to accept adjustment as a normal part of life and learn to cope with the changes the illness brings. Remember that, every experience you have becomes a part of you. Recognise that you are not alone. Try to avoid personalising the illness. Instead of making the goal to be cured, it might be worth asking yourself how you can learn to live with your illness and improve the quality of your life.
“Personally, I have learned to rest when my pain gets worse. I take time out for me, which never happened before and I now have a different outlook on life. I realise now that relaxation and acceptance play an important role in allowing me to get on with life, rather than just focusing on my pain and distress”
It is important to keep a positive attitude and strive for satisfaction in life. You might want to practise turning negative thoughts into positive ones. Spend time doing things that you enjoy. Adapt an old hobby or try a new one. Keep in social contact with the people you care about. Identify your personal strengths and weaknesses, furthermore, try to make the best use of your strengths while compensating for your weaknesses. Consider ways in which you could make positive changes to your daily structure and functioning.
“Now, I have a renewed confidence, which is allowing me to take on new challenges and I’m very happy with myself and life. Paragliding is my next goal! There are a lot more interesting things to think about and do, rather than simply worrying about my illness. Life is so much more pleasant when you make the most of what you still can do.”
Having a long-term illness is often very stressful. It is therefore important to try to minimise stress and anxiety in your lives where possible. This can be achieved by reducing the demands that are placed upon you (by yourself and others) and by increasing the resources you have available. Don’t be afraid to accept the support of the people around you. Talk to others about the kind of support you feel is most helpful to you. Learning to relax more can often be beneficial, using formal relaxation techniques or other methods such as prayer, visualisation, meditation, stretching or yoga.
“Connecting with my body and inner being through meditation and prayer let me lift myself out of a deep dark place. I never knew how capable I was of doing things differently. I suddenly realised this sickness will not stop me from living a fulfiled life!”
Once the diagnosis is made or the onset of chronic illness is evident, relationships may change. Not only may it be a time of stress and adjustment, but it may also be a time when you require an increased level of care from those closest to you. This may be a time of extreme anxiety for you and your family. Because of the intense emotions for all involved, people sometimes try to avoid friction and pull away, but it is important not to wall yourself off.
While physical illness may be personal to you, the medical crisis is shared by all those close to you, so try to keep communications open. It may help them to know how you feel, and vice-versa. It is normal to experience a whole range of emotions such as; anxiety, depression, anger, fear, frustration, resentment, shame or even guilt. Talking about these emotions will help you discover the best methods of dealing with them, furthermore, it will help you accept the changes to yourself and your significant relationships.
“I recognise my diagnosis has actually been life-altering, however, I am learning to be happier with my lot and I am finally moving forward with my life. It took some time, but I am now feeling more able to cope with the ups and downs. This is largely due to those who have helped me when I needed help, and those who realised that the best way they could support me was to treat me as they did before”
Tackling the difficulties posed by long-term illness and making positive changes is by no means easy, but can improve the quality of your life. As with any change, try to keep expectations realistic and goals achievable. It is also worth bearing in mind that tackling difficulties one by one and by making gradual alterations to your life, is likely to be more effective than trying to solve everything at once. Praise yourself each time you successfully deal with a new challenge. Above all, do things that you find rewarding. Enjoy the moment. I am sending you my thoughts and prayers. Draco x
A Message from Draco.
“With over 10 years of experience, my readings have helped people with their circumstances and to acknowledge how to better understand themselves. I am very intuitive and my life experiences have pushed me in the direction of spirituality and alternative healing. I mainly specialise in Tarot Readings focusing on love and relationships. If you would like to chat with me please click HERE and you will be directed to my profile. Love and Light. Draco x