Importance of Maintenance Therapy for Mental Health with Chronic Illness
Last updated: June 2018
I try to be as transparent as I can when I do find myself actively blogging, but there will always be things that I choose not to share, for many reasons. I'm working on this, while at the same time maintaining my privacy.
Without help from friends and professional counseling and therapists, I would not be where I am today. Please do not be afraid to ask for help... before you really need it.
Part of my advocacy work is dedicating time to making our patient needs better known by our care providers that we need more of an action plan when it comes to mental health. It will NEVER be easy for any patient to walk away with a diagnosis that changes your life immensely and say "alright, well now I can move on with my life." It's just not reality and, many times, social media(s) are not our reality either. As a public health advocate, I choose carefully what I put on my feeds, to be as sincere and honest as possible. Within the last year, I've struggled. A lot. And that is OKAY. I'm receiving help, I'm on my way back to "normalcy," and re-acceptance of what makes me who I am.
"Don't take this all on by yourself"
Let something be said for all people here, ill or not: it's more "normal" to see a therapist than it is not to and that is nothing to feel shameful about. In fact, there are many dedicated therapists that devote their practice to people living with acute and chronic illness. Illness never comes without hardship and having help to process a lot of the obstacles we face helps many in the long run. It should never just be you and your illness. It should always involve you, your care team, and your illness. Don't take this all on by yourself. Ask your GI or GI Nurse how you can better manage your stress and anxiety through the help of a therapist. You would be surprised at how many benefits you'll find (and how this affects your relationships as well!).
Bottom Line: Everyone living with a chronic illness should have the option of being offered someone to talk to about their mental health. This is crucial for their physical health and overall well-being. If your doctor has not talked to you about your mental health and you think it's a good idea to be proactive, rather than ask for help in crisis (which is important too!), ask and express your concern that you think it would be a good idea to talk to a therapist. You should never feel ashamed for wanting to walk through your problems in order to have a better quality of life.
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