Coping With an Invisible Disease

While some diseases are clearly visible to people, others such as depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue disorder, (CDF) thyroid disease, and Chron’s disease are not immediately apparent. Living with any of these disorders is a challenge, but one of the biggest challenges is dealing with people who don’t understand how the disease affects your daily life. Here are several ways to cope with an invisible disease and with those who misunderstand it.

Educate Your Spouse and Children

If you are diagnosed with an invisible disease, the best way to help your family understand it is by educating them.

Have your doctor explain the symptoms and effects to them. Read short articles with your spouse so that he understands the causes of your affliction.



Reflect Unwanted Advice Calmly

Several of these disorders can cause a variety of symptoms, such as weight gain and lethargy. As a result, people will want to give you unwanted advice such as “you just need to lose weight” or “You need to get fresh air.”

While this might make you angry, lashing out will only cause you more stress. Instead, explain that you’re working with your doctor to minimize your symptoms and those are the guidelines under which you are getting healthier.

Don’t Let Your Disorder Define You

You might feel that your disorder runs your life on some days, especially when your symptoms flare up, but that doesn’t mean it has to define you. Accept it as one facet of your life and remind yourself that you’re always working toward being healthy.

Don’t focus on your symptoms every day: accept good days and work through bad ones as you garner support from friends and family.



Work Closely with Your Doctor

Your doctor can help you discover ways to deal with daily symptoms such as overall vague body pain, panic attacks, or lethargy that can wreak havoc with daily activities.

Keep a log of your symptoms and notify your doctor if they seem to intensify. Never be afraid to call him or her in between appointments if you feel something is wrong.

Attitude is Important

While living with an invisible disease can be difficult, attitude has a great deal to do with how well you manage your symptoms. Make sure that you follow the medical advice your doctor has given you and make an effort to live a lifestyle that will improve your symptoms.

For example, if hypothyroidism has caused a weight gain, try to cut back on sugary foods and fatty foods to enhance the effectiveness of your medication.



Work Toward Small Goals

When you work toward small goals with your disorder, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment when you reach them. If you get overly anxious in social situations, start going to small gatherings at first instead of large parties.

If you’re trying to lose weight, set a goal to lose ten pounds initially, not thirty or forty. Reaching smaller goals will keep you on the path to being healthier.

Keep an Open Mind

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about new treatments for your disorder. There are a number of herbal and non-medicinal treatments for a number of these problems that have proven to be effective.

You should always discuss any treatment with your doctor before you begin them on your own. Don’t reject an idea before you’ve had a chance to look over the options—it may be just the thing to help you cope with your symptoms.

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