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  • Writer's pictureAila Health

How to Manage Depression in the Face of Living with Chronic Illness

Dealing with a chronic illness can be an enormous challenge, and when coupled with depression and anxiety, it can feel like a never-ending struggle. It's important to recognize that living with a chronic illness is not just a physical experience but an emotional one as well. Fortunately, there are strategies that you can implement to manage your mental health while living with a chronic illness.

Seek professional help from those with experience with chronic illness patients- It's essential to recognize the legitimacy of depression and seek help from a mental health professional if you're experiencing symptoms such as hopelessness, fatigue, and a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed. A mental health professional can provide you with the tools you need to manage your depression and anxiety and develop coping strategies.

Engage in regular exercise if you are able to - Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. Work with a physical therapist or personal trainer to develop an exercise plan that is safe and effective for your specific needs. Exercise may need to be modified to accommodate physical limitations, but it can still be an effective way to manage depression while living with a chronic illness.

Create a gratitude journal for the positive things in your life - People living with chronic illnesses often say they struggle to stay positive. However, engaging in activities that bring you joy can help you maintain a positive outlook. This could be anything from spending time with loved ones to pursuing a hobby you enjoy. Remember to take small moments in each day to notice these things.

Prioritize self-care to manage depression and anxiety - Take time each day to engage in activities that help you relax and de-stress, such as meditation, positive self talk or yoga.

How can I talk to my loved ones about my chronic illness and help them understand what I'm going through?

Talking to loved ones about how your chronic illness impacts your mood can be challenging, but it's important to remember that you don't have to go through it alone. Sharing your experience with those closest to you can help them understand your situation and provide better support.

When approaching the conversation, it's helpful to start from a place of empathy and understanding. Let your loved ones know that you appreciate their support and that you understand that your chronic illness may be difficult for them to understand. You might also want to provide them with resources or information about your specific illness so that they can educate themselves and better understand what you're going through.

It's also important to be specific about the kind of support you need. Whether that means help with daily tasks, emotional support, or just someone to talk to, letting your loved ones know how they can best support you can be beneficial for everyone involved.

Finally, keep the lines of communication open and be open to questions. It can be uncomfortable to talk about your illness, but allowing your loved ones to ask questions and understand your experience can be helpful in building a supportive network.

Aila Health is dedicated to providing compassionate care and support to individuals dealing with mental health challenges and chronic illness. Schedule an appointment with our care team today!

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