Emotionally Manage Your Illness | Medical Community
Feel Better About Feeling Bad
Being ill is not easy. A lot is going on, and very little of it is fun. Being asked “how are you feeling?” might be nice the first few thousand times, but eventually it seems either redundant (I feel terrible! Still! But thanks for asking…) or like a sham (I’m falling apart at the seams, but I’ll beam a smile and say “fine” because I don’t have the energy to entertain pity).
It may also seem besides the point, because you are ill, physically unwell, so what else is there to know?
But, connecting with how you feel is actually one of the most important parts of having and managing a disease.
When we’re ill, we may sometimes forget to stop and take our own pulse, and ask, how am I feeling? What is going on with me?
This is important because it helps us remember who we were before we were ‘a patient’ and that’s the unspoken part of being unwell. It may strip your other identities, erode them, and leave you scared, confused, angry, lost, and in pain. But inside, you know that’s not the real you or at least, not the only real you.
For most of my career as a researcher, I have chosen to focus on medical decision making, feeling that it's the one thing I can do to make the world a better place, if only marginally. This is what this course is also trying to do – to make your world (if only marginally) a better place.
Obviously, emotionally managing your illness won’t magically make you better. It won’t make the disease disappear, the maladies subside, nor the doctors wrong. But that’s not the aim. The doctors have the best chance at helping your body, but only you can sort things out emotionally and find your own strength to best play the (perhaps somewhat crappy) hand you’ve been dealt.
The illness didn’t just happen; it happened to a person, it happened to you. And the feelings you’re dealing with right now may not be logged in your electronic health record, and may not receive as much attention as your physical symptoms, but they really do matter.
You’re a brave guy. And a lucky one too. How do we know that? Because you survived your heart attack. And now, you’re ready to move on. Maybe you think the best way to do it is to forget it ever happened. But how far will that get you? Chances are, not very. To really move on you need to first deal with what you’ve gone through and then start re-structuring the pieces of your life. That’s a tall order even for the bravest and luckiest among us. You need – and deserve –the best tools to help get you there. We have gathered these tools for you right here, in the ‘Recovering from heart attack’ community. This is the no-nonsense place where men like you come to learn how to process what they’ve gone through and move on. It’s where they share their experiences with one another and practice the steps that support and sustain their recovery. In fact, it’s the only place where you can access all these tools within the framework of our uniquely effective approach to recovery. Just for brave, lucky guys like.
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