When you have a serious illness, you can feel isolated, frustrated and helpless. Life can feel like it’s consumed by the illness and you struggle to find something “normal” that you can enjoy again. There are many kinds of therapy available to help you find that space. With a little help, you’ll find something you can be passionate about that helps you cope with your condition.
For some people, meeting with a support group is a way to break the isolation. The odds are that other people nearby have the same or similar condition. Meeting with people who share your struggles can be a healing activity. You can share your frustrations and learn how others cope. You’ll also provide a valuable service to others who will benefit from hearing how you manage your illness.
Most illnesses have a local or national organization where you can find a support group. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has local chapters that meet to discuss how to deal with depression. The American Cancer Society lists groups for cancer survivors or those fighting long-term symptoms. United Cerebral Palsy lists affiliate groups that you could visit. You won’t feel as alone when you connect with others who share your condition.
An illness disrupts all facets of life. Your family, job, school and recreation time can all feel the effects. When the frustrations pile up, you can feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. A life coach such as Laura Posada listens to your struggles and helps you to put the pieces of your life back together again.
A life coach can help you break down those frustrations and find something you can work on. Maybe it’s finding a part time job or a volunteer position. Or a sitter to watch the kids one evening a week so you can spend time with your partner. They can offer you ways to improve your body image and how not to see yourself as the illness. A life coach is interested in the complete “you” and how you can live with your illness.
You may be so focused on the illness that you forget to take care of your body and enjoy simple pleasures like a massage. The American Massage Therapy Association notes that treating yourself to a massage with someone who understands your illness can help you feel more positive about yourself. You may find this a great way to “step out of the illness” and into a place of peace and relaxation. A weekly massage with a trained therapist becomes something you look forward to and a deserved break in your routine.
It’s easy to believe that an illness will keep you from doing anything creative. The International Art Therapy Organization feels this kind of thinking leads to depression and a feeling of helplessness. Art therapy may teach you something about the creative forces in you. You may find pleasure working with clay or doing water colors. Sketching, found-item collages and paper art are some of the many ways your creative forces can be unlocked. Until you find the perfect medium, you’ll just enjoy the activity of creating art.
Take One Step Toward Better Health and Coping
There are so many types of therapy you can tap into to find peace and release from the stress of coping with your illness. A phone call or an email will get you started moving away from isolation. When you find the right activity, you will have found life-long support and many new friends.