Living with Chronic Illness: How it Can Affect your Mental Health

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Finding a healthy balance in life while living with a chronic illness can be overwhelming and stressful. Managing medical appointments, dealing with symptoms, and prioritizing the demands of everyday life isn’t always easy. Another aspect it can have a major effect on is your mental health.

Here are some ways that your mental health can be affected by having a chronic illness:

Anxiety and Depression

Chronic illness can lead to developing anxiety and depression. The constant worry about your health and future can be frustrating and the physical limitations of the illness can cause feelings of hopelessness and uncertainty. A guilty mindset can occur too. That in turn can make your anxiety intensify and deepen a depressive state. 

Social Isolation 

Living with a chronic illness can make it difficult to maintain social connections. You may not have the energy to attend important events or may feel self-conscious about your illness. Withdrawing from these interactions can have a negative impact on your mental health to the point that your self-worth might have you de-grading yourself. 

Loss of Identity 

You may no longer be able to do the things you once enjoyed, such as hobbies or sports. This can be difficult to come to terms with. It’s not that you’ve lost interest in this aspect of your life, you’ve just reached your limits either physically, emotionally, or mentally. Not having that portion of your life be prevalent anymore can make you question your whole understanding of life and your sense of self.

Financial Stress

Medical bills and the cost of treatment can add up quickly, and you may not be able to work as much as you once did. Anxious thoughts racing through your mind about how you’ll be able to afford a stable future can take a toll emotionally and mentally.

You are not alone though. Whether it’s seeking help from others or finding beneficial coping strategies; you can work through any venture thrown your way. There are resources available to help you manage your mental health and cope with the challenges you may face as well.

Coping Strategies

  •  Seek support from friends and family
  • Connect with a support group for people with similar illnesses
  • Practice self-care, such as yoga, meditation, or being mindful when your body needs rest
  • Talk to a mental health professional
  • Inform yourself with research articles and science-based studies on life with chronic illnesses 
  • Stay engaged in activities you enjoy, even if you must modify them to fit your abilities

Even though having a chronic illness can be taxing on your mind, body, and emotions, we here at West Michigan Psychological Services can help you live your life fully and mentally healthy.