A therapist and patient couch have laptop computers on them instead of people, with dialogue bubbles showing a heart and three dots in each.

Therapy and a COPD Diagnosis

Therapy: I’m wondering if it should be one of the first things prescribed to us by our COPD diagnosis.

I have thought of therapy a few times over the years after being diagnosed with Alpha 1 but would think, no, I'm okay, that isn't something I need.

I believe ‌I thought I would leave that for those who needed it, plus I didn’t feel like getting out of the house to visit someone in their office, especially later on with Covid lingering around.

Trying therapy for the first time

I would revisit that a few times over the next twelve years, but what helped change my mind was a call that I got from my supplement insurance company at the beginning of this year. They said that they offered a new program called AbleTo.

It’s an 8-week program that helps you with therapy and coaching. You get a coaching call and a therapy calls once a week.

No need to leave the house or get dressed the day before your call. This was a bonus for me, for sure.

Your session is right over the phone. I love not planning around the weather, air quality, etc., to go out of the house. I also feel like I open up more, not seeing their face or feeling like they are judging me.

My first phone call was with the therapist, and it was so easy talking to her. I didn’t even think I had that much to say, but I kept spilling my feelings as she asked me questions, unaware I was feeling some of these ways.

It amazed me after our first talk about how much I got off my chest and how much lighter I felt. I realized what all was hiding in there.

After talking for about an hour, we decided on which plan to go. They had a few to choose from.

On the next call, we set up my goals and things that I wanted to work on. I would work on these goals with the help of a coach each week but would mostly talk to my therapist.

It surprised me at some ‌things I brought up that I didn’t even realize were bothering me. The last few years had been hard on me, and I didn't even think I needed to talk about it.

Going to therapy to handle the hard times

In the Spring of 2019, my dad passed away from a tough battle with rare blood cancer. I stayed with him and took care of him for his last month of life.

Then, of course, covid hit in 2020, and we all know what a toll that took and is still taking on us. In the meantime, they finally put my mom on hospice after living in an assisted living and then a nursing home for the last ten years.

Because of covid, we could not see her for quite a few months, but finally, in June 2020, they let us visit because they knew the time was near. We got to spend two days with her before she passed.

My parents' deaths were a blessing and were hard on us all. Then in the fall of 2020, my 18-year-old dog, Sophie, passed, and it was all so hard to bear.

I didn't realize that hanging on to all of that had done a number on me, and talking it through during therapy has helped.

Talking through therapy has also helped me see I was still suffering from my diagnosis and had not gone through the grieving process of my former self. I thought I had and felt like I talked with my family about those, but it helped to talk to my therapist without holding back.

When talking to my family and friends, I feel like I have held back because I didn't want to worry them or let them know how I felt because I wanted them to think that I was in control, not worried, and okay with everything going on.

When I was talking with my family, I wasn't as open and honest as I was with my therapist. I can’t tell you how much lighter and healthier I feel getting all this off my chest. I suggest going to therapy if you can.

Why therapy should be recommended when diagnosed

You might not even realize this is necessary until you get it.

This all has me wondering. Why aren’t we prescribing a therapist as soon as they diagnose someone with a chronic illness?

I think this should be done. Just like they prescribe us our first meds, pulmonary rehab, etc. I feel this should be an essential tool added to our extensive list that we all need to cope with COPD.

Our mental health is so important. I hope we will see this being offered to everyone. If our mental health is not good, it just puts more stress on our already stressed bodies.

AbleTo is the pioneering provider of high-quality virtual mental health services, so you get the care you need from your home's comfort, privacy, and convenience.

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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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