Do you ever feel like you are in an episode of The Walking Dead? One where Rick goes out on a supply run. You are out in the wilderness, wandering, hoping to find what you need, or someone to help you or your loved ones? Or maybe just someone to talk to? You are in search of something life changing, but you are finding nothing around each turn. Sometimes it’s worse than finding nothing – there are more monsters around that corner.
Those feelings are how it goes when you, or a loved one or child, have a chronic illness. Or maybe you don’t even know what it is yet. You are just searching for answers.
You want to know why this is happening to yourself or your loved one? How come there aren’t any professionals who can provide you with answers? Where is the doctor who is supposed to help you? Or maybe even the question, how can I seem to know more than all the physicians we have seen?
Why Do We Need Support?
Feelings of isolation can lead to depression. They ultimately affect your disease, or how you handle your loved one’s disease.
Tip 1: Seek Out Others In the Same Situation
The National Institutes of Health recommends seeking out support groups, and other individuals with chronic illness or the same illness. Finding people for support helps you realize you are not the only one feeling fear, isolation, exhaustion and more. It might not be easy to find a group or others with your illness. Looking locally as well as online groups are some options.
If you have a rare/hardly talked about illness (like my Bubba), it’s a long road finding others. I started writing about our disorders to share, and maybe find others like us. Finding friends and family that understand is next. Those people who can be sympathetic and helpful are the best.
Tip 2: Talk to Your Loved Ones & Friends
Talking about you or your loved one’s illness is so important. It’s also very difficult if nobody understands where you come from. I have found the more I share about it, the more people I can help through my experience.
Not sharing your situation only leads to more fear and misunderstanding about you or your loved one’s illness. Our fears about what others might say or think also keep us silent. Autoimmune and auto-inflammatory disorders are unusual and are hard for ourselves. Very few people understand.
Sharing with caring friends and family can be incredibly helpful in your journey to balance.
Tip 3: Educate Others About The Illness
Sharing your story will only increase awareness. Our own fears of judgment and bias often hold us back. We want to connect and for someone to understand us, but we don’t want to feel worse than we already do living with the illness.
Educating others creates understanding, less fear and more support for anyone living with illness and disease.
Tell us how you get support. What works for you?