Learning that you have a chronic illness can bring up many different feelings.
Learn about common emotions you might have when you are diagnosed and live with a chronic illness. Learn how to support yourself and where to go for more support.
It can be a shock to learn you have a chronic illness. You may ask “why me?” or “where did it come from?”
As you learn more about your illness and how to take care of yourself, your feelings may change. Fear or shock may give way to:
You may feel like you are not a whole person anymore. You might be embarrassed or ashamed that you have an illness. Know that, with time, your illness becomes part of you and you will have a “new normal.”
You will learn to live with your illness. You will get used to your “new normal.” For example:
You may be overwhelmed by:
Know that it takes a lot of energy to manage your chronic illness every day. Sometimes, this can affect your outlook and mood. Sometimes you may feel very alone. This is especially true during times your illness is harder to manage.
You may sometimes feel some of the feelings you had when you first got the illness.
Know that your range of feelings is normal. Stress can make it harder for you to take care of your chronic illness. You can learn to cope with stress to help you manage day to day.
Find ways that work for you to decrease stress and that you may even enjoy. Here are some ideas:
Finding healthy, fun ways to cope with stress helps many people. But if your stress lasts, talking with a therapist might help you deal with the many feelings that come up. Ask your doctor or nurse for help finding a therapist.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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