If you are joining my blog for the first time, then I urge you to go back and visit my first post, “Achieving Mental Health While Chronically Ill.” In that post, I shared a video by LCSW Amanda Pratt from Imagine Life Therapy. She shared with us lots of helpful tips on dealing with the mental anguish that comes along with chronic illness. We are wrapping up this 3 part series today with discussing, “steps toward healing.”
Amanda discussed that one thing that is important to do is focussing on what you CAN control. The following are examples of this:
- Self Care- this includes things we do on purpose to ourselves, to address physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological needs.
- Nurturing Relationships- relationships with people can be paramount to help you mentally. From a personal note on this: I have not had many friends in my life to lean on, nor have I had a lot of family to fall back on. I don’t want loners like me to feel lonely and helpless in this area. For me, I learned I did have someone I could trust and develop a relationship with. This relationship for me was with Christ. I know there were times in my struggles I would have never survived if it were not for this relationship. So remember no matter how alone you feel there is someone who loves you and won’t judge you.
- Social Support- Amanda made a great point here and I couldn’t agree more. She said to keep in mind who you are surrounding yourself with. Are they lifting you up or sinking you? Get rid of all mean people you have on social media.
- Change beliefs/thoughts: you need to get rid of any unhelpful beliefs or thought patterns that are hindering you. I am personally super critical of myself, and I always make myself feel guilty that I am not doing enough for my family. In reality, my family doesn’t really feel that way. It is just undue stress I put on myself. Try to be your own friend instead of an enemy.
- Self Awareness- let your mind and body tell you what it needs and respond accordingly.
- Track Symptoms-Amanda had a great tip. There is an app you can download called, “My Symptom Tracker.” This tracks not only physical symptoms but mental symptoms as well.
- Set Goals- they can be any goals, big or small. Could be something like, “wash dishes today.”
- Adjust/Change Our Expectations- We can’t expect to do everything the way we use to and that is okay. Nothing is impossible we just have to change our expectations on HOW it is possible.
- Spend time in nature
- Focus on your strengths
- Improve Communication With Others: use I statements
- Set Boundaries
- Use Self Expression: find creative ways to express self it can be a distraction of pain, it can be healing, meditative, and stress reducing. For example, I started this blog to express myself
- Support Groups: I love support groups! They help us feel validated in what we are going through and not judged. It is great to be able to share stories online through disability help groups. I am on a number of support groups on facebook. I am on two email support groups and follow many disabled people on Instagram. It is nice to be able to relate to others so you don’t feel so alone.
- New Roles: once you make changes, you find new roles to find a sense of purpose. A sense of purpose is important, it helps you re-invent yourself. Remember these things:
. Everything is a new opportunity. Everything has a purpose, Life is precious, I chose to live it!
I hope you have found this three-part series helpful. I also pray you always keep your hope and remember your life matters and you are not alone! Also If you are looking for additional help from Amanda Pratt she can be found @ http://www.imaginelifetherapy.com God Bless!