There Is More Than Just the Lungs With COPD
When we get diagnosed with COPD, the discussion is always around the lungs and a bit around the heart. Tests are then carried out and you are bombarded with information. If you're lucky, you'll be given suggestions on how to go forward with exercise and eating healthy. You can sometimes leave that doctor's office feeling like you have a death sentence hanging over you (I certainly did).
The emotional side of COPD
Nothing is mentioned about the emotional side of suddenly being diagnosed with a life-changing illness. Your mind goes into overdrive and Dr. Google certainly doesn't help (keep away from internet searching). Not a good feeling and certainly not helpful. Things get overwhelming and you start to feel anxious, scared, and alone - it's certainly a horrible feeling for so many people.
You are not alone in this feeling
I can tell you hand on heart that you definitely are not alone in this feeling, thousands of people will feel this way, left in an anxious and emotional state. Life can feel like a rollercoaster - ups and downs and nothing in the middle. I'm no doctor and have no qualifications on paper for anything medical. I am qualified in my life and how I feel, as it's me and it's my life. I've gone through all that I'm writing about. I can remember sitting in the doctor's room at the hospital (on my own) when she bombarded me with COPD facts and discussed the possibility of surgery. I asked her to stop but she didn't. By the time I left, I was so scared I wanted to walk under a bus.
I've learned to embrace the day
My anxiety was at an all-time high. I still get anxious, but I've learned to manage it. My cooling mechanism is exercise and pushing myself to the limit. I've gained my life back and I'm now in control of my own being. Yes, I have bad days, but on those days that I'm not well enough to do a workout or clean the home, I've learned not too beat myself up over it. Rather, I embrace the day with reading, art (new hobby), or knitting. If you think about it, even healthy people have off days.
It's not easy at times as COPD affects so much of our lives and yes, it can make you depressed. I take antidepressants for that, though not the answer, they do help quite a lot. Learning to accept and work out your new life takes time. Sometimes we get it wrong but we learn from the mistake. Keeping a daily journal might help you find a trigger for the emotional days or the down days. It's not easy learning to live your new life and leaving the old one behind but you can succeed!
How has your experience been navigating the healthcare system as someone with COPD?