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Understanding Emotional Paralysis: A Challenge for Those Living with Chronic Illness

woman despairing
Chronic illness can be difficult but it doesn't mean life is over

Do you feel emotionally paralyzed by living with your chronic illness? It can take a big adjustment to live with a chronic illness, and it's natural to get emotional at times. You may get angry, sad, anxious, or feel grief about your chronic illness. Many people feel paralyzed after receiving a diagnosis of chronic illness because they imagine their how awful their lives will be like going forward. If you feel emotional about chronic illness, you're not alone.

The truth is, none of us really knows what gifts or curses will come with a chronic illness. We think we know and we project that onto the future. Sometimes this has very frightening and disheartening results. Depending on the diagnosis, a person might also think about how they feel now with all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience that comes with what they’ve been experiencing, and think that this is their new normal.

crying woman at store
Grief is part of accepting the limitations

What people may not realize is that many chronic illnesses can be successfully managed and you can learn how to reduce stress, pain, and the impediments of the disorder over time. Human beings are extremely adaptable and with enough research, digging, and help from others, you can still have many of the things that you want from life. Is it more difficult sometimes to achieve this? I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t take creativity, resilience, and ingenuity to make life enjoyable with a chronic illness.

What can you do when you're emotional about your chronic illness?

Things you can do to develop creativity, resilience, and better coping with chronic illness:

1. Learn as much as you can about the illness and how to manage it;

2. Have an open minded approach to healing modalities and options;

3. Remind yourself that you are not the illness or difficulties that you face.

It takes time to adjust to your new body and you might have good and bad days, Don't give up hope. Grief over what you lost can be processed and worked through. Yet it need not be the whole of your life, and you can focus on what IS working in your life to counterbalance the negative emotions.

hands extended and gratitude words
Life is not all bad now; what are you grateful for?


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