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Chronic Illness Changes Everything

Last updated: September 2019

When COPD strikes, it means lots of changes happen in a very short time in every part of our life. Our social life changes, our careers change and everything about our everyday living changes. Life is now filled with major challenges. We can no longer be independent. From now on, we are going to need assistance to live a comfortable life.

The effect of diagnosis on mental health

Your mental health becomes a huge issue. The reality of the diagnosis itself combined with the changes your body has experienced is enough to start negative self-talk that can send you on a downward spiral. How you are treated when you are initially told you have a positive diagnosis impacts your ability to control COPD and to cope with the disease. Asking for and accepting help is a great first step. Then it is up to you to follow through and seek to care for the whole person, mind, body, and soul.

Family impact of COPD

Family is supposed to be a safe haven where you can do and say anything and still be accepted. Sometimes, family turns out to be the very ones that point their accusatory fingers and offer the least amount of help. Children and spouses can be inconsiderate to our needs out of ignorance of the limitations and their refusal to understand COPD. Sisters and brothers who are too lazy and won’t take the time to read and understand COPD will often have a hard time believing the extent of our disability, therefore never truly understanding it.

Loss of friends after diagnosis

Friends, regardless of how long we have known them, can sometimes, seem to turn away from us. They are neither sympathetic nor empathetic. There is a sense of fear as if they are afraid of catching what we have. We can no longer keep up with the crowd like we did in the past and so they move on.

Colleagues and working with a chronic illness

Trying to work with a chronic illness is really the hardest of all. While we are trying to earn a living and productively supporting ourselves, our work environment, it seems, is unwilling or unable to accommodate us. Most countries have very weak laws protecting those who become chronically ill. When companies and managers don’t consider accommodation, we are always under the pressure of being terminated. In the back of our minds, we know it’s true. Trying to maintain our mental health while feeling threatened at work makes every job harder.

Housing changes due to COPD

Once COPD progresses into the more advanced stages, we often are unable to keep up living appearances. Whether we can live on our own and by ourselves becomes a major question. The devastation of having to downsize and move out of your home after the years spent here can cause a plethora of mental health issues. Your very security is removed. Everything that is familiar is gone and all new adventures seem daunting.

Changes in things that we used to do

The things that we used to do can no longer be achieved. Do you want to use all of your available resources trying to keep things the same or can we learn to accept the changes, adapt to them and use our resources as necessary? Things will change but not all change is bad. Now you have permission to miss someone and let them go so you can make your life about you.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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