Chronic illness is BIG—really big—and as such, can wreak some serious havoc on your mental health. A good attitude certainly isn’t going to cure you, but it’ll help you stay engaged with your life and treatment, and make everything a lot easier. So, as you work on physical health problems, be sure to take some time to tend to your feelings as well.
If you’re sick enough to have sought out this guide, please start by looking into your options for counseling. A lot of people assume that counseling is for people with diagnosed mental conditions, but that’s not true—it can be helpful to anyone who needs to think something over or process something that’s going on in their life. Setting up regular appointments with a counselor (at least for a bit) can be very helpful; it forces you to “check in” with yourself at regular intervals, and gives you a space where you can focus on problem-solving of a more personal and internal nature.
There are many mental health services available regardless of your financial situation, so put out some feelers and see what you can find for your particular needs. Calling your health insurance provider can help you determine whether counseling is covered, and many counselors offer sliding-scale rates if you need to pay out of pocket. Keep in mind that if you’re in school, there should be a counselor on campus that you can work with at no charge. Finally, there are quite a few more informal options available online—check out the Resources section at the end of this zine for more information.
As for what you can do independently, be sure to research “self care” and put together a list (mental or written) of things you can do to take care of yourself when you’re going through a rough patch. This is a great concept that’s really becoming popular right now, and there are lots and lots of ways to practice it. Definitely take a look!
This post was excerpted from the informational zine Chronically Badass.
About the Author:
Diane is a newly-diagnosed spoonie living in Portland, Oregon. She runs a blog Spoonie Living (spoonie-living.tumblr.com), and has also published a free, informational zine for spoonies called Chronically Badass (https://gumroad.com/l/chronically-badass).