Managing Long-term Chronic Illness
“Long-term conditions are chronic illnesses that can limit lifestyle, such as diabetes, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There are 15.4 million people living with a long-term condition in England. Numbers are expected to rise....” Department of Heath 2016.
What is Chronic Illness?
Chronic illness is a long-term health condition. Examples include asthma, lupus, migraine, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, diabetes, heart problems, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and memory problems.
Your illness may affect your appearance, physical abilities and independence. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or have been managing your health condition longer term, it can take time to adjust to and accept the realities of a long-term illness.
“Almost half of all people with chronic illness have multiple conditions...”
This can mean that during your regular doctor and hospital visits, you may feel there’s ever only enough time to quickly summarise how you’re experiencing the worst aspects of your condition which may leave you feeling rushed and frustrated.
“As a result of your chronic illness you may be constantly tired and in pain...”
Feeling pain and experiencing unnatural levels of tiredness can increase your stress levels, and higher stress hormone levels can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of chronic illness.
Living with any long term chronic health condition can, understandably, cause ongoing stress, anxiety and anger. If they do, it is important to seek help.
Counselling can provide you with support to help you to cope with a long term illness or condition, and help you develop strategies to regain a feeling of control.