Being chronically ill or in pain can feel like a full-time job| | PATIENT | KevinMD.com
Suffering from chronic pain or illness—or, as is often the case, both—can feel like a full-time job. One reason for this is that we must constantly assess and evaluate if we’re managing our health and our relationships as skillfully as possible. This ongoing decision making makes up a major part of the workload in this full-time job—a position we certainly never applied for!
Here are five tough choices we continually face:
1) Do we talk openly about our health problems or do we keep them private?
If we talk about our health problems, some of them may respond judgmentally or even turn away from us
On the other hand, if we keep quiet about our health issues we risk leading others to misunderstand what we can and cannot do
2) Do we ignore a new symptom or have it checked out by a doctor?
On the one hand, it’s not good for us emotionally to be overly focused on every little ache and pain in our body.
What to do when a new symptom appears necessitates making another tough choice: wait or act immediately?
3) Do we follow our doctor’s treatment plan or do we try alternative and unconventional therapies?
There’s no right or wrong course of action here, but it’s a choice that, for me, has been costly, both to my pocketbook and, at times, to my health
Treatments-for-sale can be packaged to sound very seductive. People spend thousands of dollars on false cures. I know because I’ve done it.
On the other hand, I’ve also read about people who’ve been helped by alternative or unconventional treatments, so it may not be wise to decide to disregard them entirely.
4) Do we push our body to the limit or do we always play it safe?
Sometimes, the desire to be like healthy people is so strong that we can talk ourselves into pushing our body to do what it cannot reasonably do
On the other hand, I find that if I always play it safe, my body gets so used to the strict regime I put it on that I lose my ability to be flexible at all
5) Should we aggressively fight to regain our health or should we accept our fate?
Constantly fighting to regain our health is also exhausting, physically and mentally. But the alternative of passively accepting that this is the way we’re going to be for the rest of our lives doesn’t feel like a wise choice either.
It wasn’t until I began to accept—without aversion—however I happened to feel on any given day, that I was able to begin looking for ways to enjoy my life again
And, working to gracefully accept how I feel at the moment, while at the same time continuing to be proactive about my health is…you guessed it—exhausting