Are You Feeling Overwhelmed By Chronic Illness?

Have you been newly diagnosed with a disease? Do you have an acute illness? Are you concerned about taking medications and wondering what your options are? You may be concerned about how managing your condition will impact your life plans and future goals. Do you worry about how stress is impacting your ability to fight your illness? Are you concerned about how your illness might affect your partner and family? Do you feel overwhelmed and anxious when you think about having to live with a chronic or debilitating health condition for the rest of your life?

If you live with serious chronic illness, you know that it is not only a physical challenge, but a mental one as well. You must learn how to navigate the healthcare system in a new way and learn to deal with the social aspects and implications of your illness. You may not be able to participate in certain activities or do the things you once enjoyed. On top of all this, living with an illness can change the family and interpersonal dynamics you may be used to.

Living With A Serious Illness Changes Everything

Receiving a diagnosis of a serious or terminal disease can disrupt your entire lifestyle and your self-identity. For example, if you have always been the breadwinner in the family and are told you can no longer work, you may question your self-worth and ability to provide for your family. If you are an athlete who develops a chronic or debilitating illness, it can challenge your identity as a healthy, active person. You may have to live with pain or not be able to take certain medications that could help your illness because of side effects or risk of infertility.  

Then, there are more external factors to think about. You may be concerned about how your illness might impact your partner or dating life. If you have children and your condition is hereditary, you might worry about passing your illness on to them. Or, your family may not understand your disease and think you are overexaggerating, which can be frustrating and very hurtful. Diagnosis of an illness can change the entire dynamics of a family system.

Fear is another big part of adjusting to a living with a serious illness. You might worry about having to depend on people or the potential of becoming disabled. Stress can also suppress or activate your immune response. Anything that is causing you stress can trigger your illness to flare up even more. You may be unable to sleep, or vice versa, feel constantly drained. The relationship between stress, depression and anxiety is intricately connected, and can affect not only your health status, but your mental fortitude and willingness to engage in treatment.

Living with an illness can be demanding, but the good news is that there is help available to help you cope.

Counseling For Chronic Illness Can Help You Navigate The
Challenges Of Living With An Diagnosis

Chronic or debilitating illnesses and diseases are a lot more common than many people realize. People with physical issues may not think about seeking therapy, but in fact, they many need it just as much as someone with a chronic mental health issue. Counseling for Chronic Illness is a very individualized process since no two people will be dealing with the same health circumstances, but addressing and lowering stress is always a top priority.

At Philadelphia Assessment & Counseling, you will receive compassionate support and nonjudgmental understanding from an experienced therapist who specializes in working with people with Chronic Illness. You can begin to feel more emotionally balanced and learn how to manage triggers such as invalidating relationships or not respecting personal boundaries. You can learn about sleep hygiene and how it can help your body rest more peacefully and operate more efficiently.

You can also become empowered when it comes to advocating for yourself with your medical team. In sessions, you can learn how to discuss treatment options, alternative therapies or pain management with confidence. Communication is an important part of counseling for chronic illness, whether that be with your doctors, family, coworkers or friends. Most people want to help and support you however they can, they just might not know how, or feel rude about bringing up the subject. Counseling for chronic illness can help you learn how to express your needs, fears and concerns about the future in a healthy way.

A diagnosis of a disease or chronic illness can be scary—not just for you, but for your loved ones, too. Counseling for chronic illness can help you navigate this myriad of challenges and figure out ways to live life as fully as possible. You might not be able to do everything you once did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have many more wonderful and meaningful life experiences.

You may be curious about how counseling for chronic illness can help,
but still have some questions or concerns…

I can’t afford counseling.

Therapy is not only an investment in the your self-care, but also in your future. People with chronic health problems can benefit by prioritizing consults with their medical teams—and counseling for chronic illness is an important piece of that puzzle.

I’m nervous about making another commitment. This is one more thing I have to fit in.

The kind of clients we are looking for are ready to make a strong commitment to their physical and mental health. If these issues are affecting all aspects of your life, is it well worth it to find one hour in your week that may give you some tools that help in long run.

A psychologist works with people with mental health issues. My problems are physical in nature, so how does counseling for chronic illness help me?

Emotional health is very much tied to physical symptoms. Stress, lack of support, poor boundaries and mental/emotional challenges are just a few examples of the kinds of issues that can affect your physical health. Your skilled and compassionate therapist can help you work through these issues on the mental side so you can use your energy to fight your disease.

If you still have questions about counseling for chronic illness, please call for a free 15-minute consultation.* We’d be happy to discuss your therapy needs and our practice.

*all new clients must complete a consultation before being seen for an appointment