Aspects Of Life That A Psychiatrist Can Assist POTS Patients With

 

Have you ever heard of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)? 

It is one of the many autonomic illnesses that wreak havoc in peoples’ lives. Based on a 2014 study from Vanderbilt University in the United States, over three million folks got diagnosed with the disease, and the number most likely rises still. Most of its victims are young women who are already capable of carrying a child. 

Source: pxhere.com

 

The thing about POTS is that it’s quite hard to spot fast. The patient may experience dizziness, increased heart rate, and migraine – symptoms which are easy to associate with various disorders. Hence, the specialist may require multiple assessments to figure out the real illness of the individual. 

One can only imagine how crazy it must be to submit yourself to all of that for months. And if the person indeed has POTS, they need to deal with the fact that they may have the disease for decades. 

In cases like this, the assistance of a psychiatrist is most wanted. Below are the aspects that the mental health professional can help autonomic patients overcome. 

Transforming one’s thoughts will ultimately result in positive actions and behaviors in difficult moments. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Frustration 

The ultimate issue that POTS sufferers face is the frustration that comes with waiting for the diagnosis. As mentioned above, it may take ages before a doctor can rule out other illnesses and pinpoint the disease. To make that happen, however, the individual has to get different tests first, which can be bodily, mentally, and economically stressful. 

Being unable to give a name to the disorder also means that the patient cannot receive proper treatment. The physician may prescribe some medicine to lessen the headaches and other symptoms, but those are not enough to remedy the health problem.  

The role of a psychiatrist at this point is to open the person’s mind to allow them to see a hint of positivity from this experience. After all, it’s better to go through trials and errors than to get a misdiagnosis.  

 

Depression 

Source: pixabay.com

It isn’t too far-off to think that POTS may cause depression. Knowing that you have an incurable illness can’t possibly give great vibes. The autonomic disorder makes even standing up a feat too; that’s why people who have this illness may isolate themselves and step away from their social life. 

Going to a psychiatrist, luckily, may help patients realize that the disease isn’t the end of the world. Although there may be tough times ahead, they can learn to handle POTS symptoms if they have the willpower to do so. They may rebuild relationships as well in the process, which is never a bad thing.  

The goal is understanding what happens in your brain and your body when emotions start to overwhelm you. — Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

Anxiety 


Source: commons.wikimedia.org

The suffers may also worry about making a fool out of themselves in case others find out about their illness. Thus, they may be very cautious when going out or stay in defensive mode whenever someone asks them a question that may or may not have a relation to POTS. 

What’s wrong with this attitude is that the individuals perhaps assume that people will dislike them for having an autonomic disease. While it’s understandable that it’s the need for social acceptance that governs these folks, they need to see too that others’ opinions don’t matter all the time.  

The more receptive a person with POTS becomes around the psychiatrist, the faster it will be for them to get rid of their anxiety. 

Lack of escape is a problem. — Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

Lastly, POTS patients tend to be as fragile as anyone who just found out they have an illness that the medical world cannot cure today. Apart from medication, they deserve to receive counseling help to cope with the situation better. Otherwise, their negative emotions will overwhelm them too much and push these people to make irrational decisions. 

 

How To Support Someone With Dysautonomia

posted in: Support & Recovery | 0

 

source: themighty.com

 

Dysautonomia disorders can be extremely difficult to live with and can not only take a physical toll, but also an emotional toll in someone’s life. Sometimes, it can leave partners, friends, and families of people with a diagnosis of dysautonomia lost as they watch their loved one spiral and suffer not knowing what to do. If you have someone in your life experiencing a type of dysautonomia, there are a number of ways you can support them. This article outlines a few of the ways you can do this.

Transforming one’s thoughts will ultimately result in positive actions and behaviors in difficult moments. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Talk to one another

 

source: themighty.com

 

It is important that you continue to keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, when people are having a hard time, they may tend to withdraw and even push people away. It is important that you don’t allow them to do this as it will leave them with no support. This involves more than simply talking to them about their illness. You also need to:

  • Listen
    • Be there when they need someone to talk to, listen to their concerns and show empathy.
  • Empathize 
    • Be very careful in how you respond to their concerns and symptoms. One of the problems with dysautonomia is that it is inherently difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are not always physically obvious. Often times, people feel that it is “in their head”. If you try to suggest that you know exactly how that person is feeling, they are likely to feel invalidated and demoralized. They may see you as someone who does not take them seriously. Try to focus more on expressing how difficult you realize it must be for them, rather than telling them you know how it feels to be tired or feel sick.
  • Show interest
    • Actually, take in the information they are telling you about the illness and ask questions. It is important that you have a true understanding of what it is, the treatment, symptoms, side effects and long-term outcomes in order to provide support. Taking an interest in yourself, and even suggesting that you would do some research together, might be helpful too. Use your loved one as a guide here. However, they may be overwhelmed with the information they have received so far and may not be ready yet to seek out for more.

Obviously, what makes it different from psychodynamic, insight-oriented, past-oriented approaches is a focus on the present: What are you thinking about right now? — Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

Be patient

Be aware that experiencing a dysautonomia can place a lot of limitations on someone’s life. As we mentioned above, your loved one may become overwhelmed and even go through a grieving process when they grieve the loss of their previous healthy life. Be patient during this time. They are unlikely to be able to push themselves physically like before. This will likely impact their social, household and work commitments. Being aware of this, and the fact that it is not simply “laziness” or them trying to be difficult, is very important.

Look after yourself

 

source: opencolleges.edu.au

 

We’ve all heard it before, you can’t be of any help to someone if you are not okay yourself. This is true. When supporting someone through a difficult time, you also need to ensure you have a good support system around yourself as well as ways that you can “de-stress”. Things that can help with this are joining a support group, making sure you keep up with your own hobbies and interests, leading a healthy life and having some time for yourself personally.

In spite of diligently maintained thoughts that flying is safe, emotion does not follow suit. — Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

Support

Know that they are likely to not only be grieving the loss of what they used to be able to do, but they may also feel guilty about not being able to do these things. Check in with them if you notice they may be doing too much. Let them know that it is okay to take a step back and have a rest. When this happens and you have the capacity yourself, see if you can do some of these tasks for them such as doing extra chores around the home for your partner or dropping off some groceries to a friend.

Most importantly, tell them you love them often. They will feel as though they have changed. But, knowing that you still accept and love them regardless of their illness will be the best support you can possibly provide.

For more information on supporting someone with dysautonomia please see the links below.

References:

http://dysautonomia.weebly.com/if-you-know-someone-with-dysautonomia.html

http://kindofbroken.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/how-to-help-friend-or-loved-one-with.html

Supporting Relationships Through Chronic Illness

When You Love Someone With Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

 

 

What are the different types of Dysautonomias?

As we have outlined on our other pages, dysautonomia is the name used to describe a number of disorders where the nervous system no longer works the way it should. This means that there are a number of different types of dysautonomia. Each type of dysautonomia differs in terms of the type of symptoms experienced. Before you can begin treatment, or even when you are trying to support someone else with a diagnosis of dysautonomia, it is important to have a good understanding of the type of dysautonomia you are dealing with. As there is such a vast array of different dysautonomias (at least 15), we won’t be able to discuss them all. However, this article will give you a quick rundown of the most common dysautonomias.

 

Source: theoicenter.com

Over the years others have focused more on behaviors — while you can’t directly control what you feel (you can’t right now make yourself happy) you can learn to control your thoughts — what you say to yourself — and you absolutely can control your behaviors. — Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

The most common…. Neurocardiogenic Syncope
Neurocardiogenic syncope can be called NCS for short. The symptom that is most prevalent within NCS is fainting (which is also called syncope). Generally, what happens in the body is that when a person stands up, the blood will naturally flow downwards — heading towards their feet and legs. For most people (those without NCS), the automatic nervous system (the system involved in dysautonomias) will take measures to make sure that the blood will not pool down in the lower parts of your body so there is still a good amount of blood fueling your brain. This is done by tightening the muscles in your veins and adjusting your heart rate. However, because dysautonomias involve problems with the automatic nervous system, this process tends not to work properly for people with NCS and as a result of blood draining away from the brain, they faint. The frequency of fainting can vary between people with NCS and can range from relatively rarely, to so regularly that it makes daily living difficult.

However, the autonomic nervous system tends not to work properly for people with NCS. As a result, the blood is drained away from the brain that causes fainting. The frequency of fainting can vary between people with NCS and can range from relatively rarely to regularly which makes daily living difficult.

 

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome

Source: clinicaladvisor.com

That is a mouthful, right? Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome can be called POTS for short. This is a dysautonomia that is characterized by a number of different symptoms including strange or fast heart rate, problems with breathing, fainting, nausea, stomach problems, chest pain, problems with exercising, problems with temperature and shakiness.

POTS is relatively common in teenagers and more often found in females opposed to males. Generally, POTS does not occur in isolation and is often caused by another medical concern. These can include autoimmune diseases, genetic disorders, infections (such as Hepatitis C), multiple sclerosis, diabetes, problems from poisoning, medications, alcohol use or surgery. It can often be difficult to isolate exactly what causes POTS. There is still significant research being conducted to investigate this.

Transforming one’s thoughts will ultimately result in positive actions and behaviors in difficult moments. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Diabetic Autonomic Neuropathy

This type of dysautonomia is quite commonly found in people with a diagnosis of diabetes. Diabetic autonomic neuropathy impacts the sections of the heart that helps to manage blood pressure and the level of glucose in the blood. When these processes do not work properly due to problems with the automatic nervous system, you can experience increased heart rate, problems with digestion such as constipation, problems with sexual arousal, breathing, excessive or restrictive sweating and generally more difficulty managing diabetes.

 

Multiple System Atrophy

Source: verywell.com

Another more well-known type of dysautonomia is multiple system atrophy. This type of dysautonomia is more likely to impact individuals over around 50 years of age. Unfortunately, it can be commonly misrecognized as Parkinson’s disease when it is in its early stages. This makes treatment difficult without an accurate diagnosis.  Multiple system atrophy is characterized when parts of the person’s brain begin to disintegrate (atrophy). The symptoms of this type of dysautonomia can include rigid muscles, poor flexibility, problems with balance, coordination, speech, problems swallowing, difficulty focusing or blurred vision.

For some persons, even the slightest restriction leads to difficulty. Some of us need an aisle seat in a theater rather than one in the middle of the row. — Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

And the rare… Familial Dysautonomia

Although this is not a common form of dysautonomia, it deserves a mention given the significant impact it can have on sufferers of this disorder. It is one of the least frequent types of dysautonomia but can have the worst outcomes including premature death (with the chance that the person will live to 40 years old being only 50%). This type of dysautonomia can be detected from a young age and is characterized by a number of symptoms including problems with temperature, under-sensitivity to pain, cycles of vomiting, excessive sweating, spinal difficulties, poor growth, kidney problems, issues with the heart, problems with sleep apnea and frequent lung infections to name a few.

We have only mentioned a few of the types of dysautonomia here. But, you can clearly see from those discussed just how detrimental these disorders can be to someone’s life. There is hope for ways to help manage these disorders and treat the symptoms. Head over to our page on treatment {how are dysautonomias treated} for more information on this.

This article was only able to touch on a few of the types of dysautonomia. Therefore, further information on the different types of dysautonomias is needed. Please see the links below.

References:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/76785.php

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dysautonomia-Information-Page

http://www.dysautonomiainternational.org/page.php?ID=35

Treatment and Management of Dysautonomia

Our most basic way of regulating emotion is approach/withdrawal. — Tom Bunn L.C.S.W.

Dysautonomia, as you may already know, is just a general term used to describe several medical conditions that affect the Autonomic Nervous System. ANS is that part of our body that controls the automatic functions or the functions which we are not conscious about. These body functions include digestion, heart rate, respiration, pupil of the eye, and temperature regulation. People with Dysautonomia have problems with these functions.

 

Source: theodysseyonline.com

Since Dysautonomia involves different medical disorders, the treatment and management require multiple approaches. It is a combination of pharmacological and medical modalities, physical therapy, long-term illness counseling, and caregiving.  This treatment is divided into two – the pharmacological and non-pharmacological approach.

Transforming one’s thoughts will ultimately result in positive actions and behaviors in difficult moments. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

Consult a Physician

Finding a good physician who has in-depth knowledge of the nature of your condition is also important. It’s necessary for the patient to consult a specialist physician regarding their specific type of dysautonomia so that proper treatment can be recommended. The treatment for these patients usually takes time to work since it’s done through a trial and error approach. Whatever will work for the patient best is the approach to consider.

Physical Therapy

Regular physical activities or exercises that the patient can tolerate will improve the stability of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).  When the ANS stabilizes, the possibility of symptom relapse is lesser and the duration of the symptoms also shortens. That is why physiological and physical adaptation to the treatments and therapy are needed. A commitment to a healthier lifestyle is a must, as well.

Nutrition and Diet

The whole treatment and management of this condition involve nutrition or dietary adjustments. An adjustment in the fluid intake must also be observed. The inclusion of sodium, as prescribed by the physician, is also needed in the fluid maintenance of the body. Some dietary restrictions will be strictly followed. Caffeine and high sugary foods are restricted or to most, not well tolerated.

Source: nrbpublishing.com

Awareness is the front door to change, and by being aware of your reactions, you now can begin to change them — both the thoughts and the behaviors. — Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

Pharmacological Approach

Drug therapies to control or lessen the symptoms are also being utilized. Some of the drugs used for treatment involves the following:

  • anti-low blood pressure drugs
  • anti-anxiety drugs
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory,
  • antidepressant drugs

The goal of the treatment is to control the symptoms of the disorder. Sometimes, a physician will conduct a “trial and error” approach in treating your symptoms to a tolerable level. The physical therapy that the patient undergoes will help strengthen their body. Mind conditioning is also important during the course of their therapy. Since it may be a chronic management type of illness, these therapies will require a lot of determination and motivation for the patient’s road to recovery.

Prognosis

With proper medical management, healthy lifestyle, and adherence to physical therapy, a majority of those with Dysautonomia will see significant improvement, especially with patients in the secondary form of the condition. Patients also need to remember that their condition will improve, as time goes by.

There are now funded international research studies being conducted for the development of better treatments on this condition. Hopefully, someday, scientists will find a cure.

Source: withasideofsaltpotssupport.blogspot.com

Dysautonomia And Stress

Source: en.wikipedia.org

A word that describes a malfunction in the ANS or Autonomic Nervous System is called Dysautonomia. The Autonomic Nervous System has two parts: the Parasympathetic Nervous System and then the Sympathetic Nervous system. The PNS or Parasympathetic Nervous System is known for the resting and systems like the digestive system. The latter on the other hand is for controlling your fight or flight response.

Continued

Dysautonomia – Self Help

posted in: Support & Recovery | 0

A Range of Symptoms

 

Dysautonomia is an umbrella term for a number of disorders or medical conditions caused by damage to the autonomic nervous system ANS. Since the ANS controls all the automatic functions of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and gastrointestinal system, sufferers may have a wide range of symptoms. The severity of the symptoms can range from irritating to incapacitating and can fluctuate from day to day.

 

Most people with this disorder look perfectly healthy and others may see them as suffering from a psychological disorder, or worse still, as lazy. Either way, since this is a chronic disease with very real physical symptoms, their attitude may leave you feeling unappreciated.

Suddenly, I was now the subject, and not just an observer, of what I had been writing about for nearly a decade. — Tamara McClintock Greenberg Psy.D.

Share How You Feel

 

Source: ak2.picdn.net

 

If you have been diagnosed with Dysautonomia you will have to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate the condition. You should take the time to explain the condition and how it makes you feel to your family and friends. You may need their support. They also need to understand why on some days you are just not well enough to do what they may want you to do.

 

 

Everyday Tasks

 

Source: transcare.org.au

 

Running a home when you suffer from Dysautonomia can be daunting especially if you suffer from fatigue. Learn to ask for help. Employ others to do what you can’t do, or buy the latest appliances to reduce the effort. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you don’t manage to complete what you set out to do.

 

Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty or discouraged when your daily goals are not met. Schedule plenty of time for rest before and after difficult tasks. Prioritize the important things. Remember that stress can exaggerate the symptoms of this condition.

 

Find time to do the things that you enjoy. You may have to adjust your hobbies to accommodate your symptoms, but there are still many things that you should be able to do. Reading, art, and music are all relaxing pastimes that you can enjoy.

I made it clear in my tone and body language that my chronic illness was a minor setback, a hiccup, a pesky footnote in the narrative of my life. — Katie Willard Virant MSW, JD, LCSW

Moreover, sleep is very important especially if you suffer from chronic fatigue. Eight to nine hours of sleep per night is important. Take small breaks throughout the day so that you don’t wear yourself out.

 

 

Mealtimes

 

A healthy and nutritional diet is vital for people suffering from this condition. Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar. These increase your blood sugar and could trigger symptoms. Food intolerances are recognized as a contributing factor to Dysautonomia in some people. Be on the look out for such intolerances and if necessary hire a dietician to assist in identifying them.

 

A diet that is high in sodium and fluids will assist in raising the blood pressure, which when low causes so many of the symptoms. Consuming between two and four grams of sodium and between two to three liters of water a day will alleviate symptoms.

 

Eating several small meals a day rather than two or three large meals can also help to reduce symptoms.

 

 

Exercise

 

Source: rd.com

 

Exercise is recognized as one of the best ways to reduce the symptoms of Dysautonomia. It will help to improve your mood as the brain releases endorphins during exercise. It will also help to improve sleep patterns and to recondition the autonomous nervous system.

 

Your exercise plan should be discussed with your doctor who can provide you with heart rate targets and goals. The exercise options are many. You may choose to exercise in the comfort of your own home with or without an exercise buddy. You may join a gym, go to a physiotherapist or hire your own personal trainer. Some clinics also offer inpatient exercise plans where the patients are taught how to function effectively with their symptoms.

 

Because symptoms are generally worse when you are upright, exercise for people with Dysautonomia normally starts in a recumbent position. It can include swimming, weightlifting from a sitting or lying position, Pilates or yoga. Upright exercise should only be attempted after you have spent some time building up resistance.

 

The secret is to start slowly and then build up the pace. Your current level of fitness will determine the start of the exercise plan. The point of the exercise is to get the heart rate up so you may want to invest in a heart rate monitor. Your aim should be forty minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

 

Sometimes the cause of a chronic illness/condition can be identified, but often no specific cause can be determined and nothing can explain why it happened. — Dan Mager MSW

Keep informed

 

Find support groups. It always helps to talk to people who are going through the same or similar problems as those that confront you. Keep abreast of the most current research into Dysautonomia and discuss it with your doctor.

 

 

The Start of a Journey

 

The diagnosis of Dysautonomia is the start of a journey to understand and to alleviate the symptoms and to mitigate any negative effects that they may have on your life. A few lifestyle adjustments and a lot exercise will go a long way to making your life easier.

Counseling 101: How Parents Can Help Kids With Dysautonomia 

Because of the fear and anxiety associated with the topic of illness, many people avoid conversations about the all-too-present reality of how physically vulnerable we are. — Tamara McClintock Greenberg Psy.D.

There can’t possibly be anything that will hurt a parent more than hearing that your child has an incurable illness like dysautonomia. For sure, they won’t need to get radiation therapy, which is often necessary for cancer patients. Staying away from sweets or having insulin injections practically forever is just for the diabetics as well. But the fact that a kid will most likely struggle with the chronic disease for as long as they live after the diagnosis can’t be comforting either. 

Source: pixabay.com

 

The typical thoughts of parents who witness the symptoms in motion include “If only I can transfer their pain to me” and “I hope a miracle will happen and dissolve the illness.” Neither, of course, is plausible at the time of writing this blog. You may leave the treatment to the physicians and focus on helping the child through other ways instead. 

 

  1. Never Doubt Your Kid’s Words Immediately

The most prominent fear of parents whose youngster has the disorder is that they might use their knowledge of dysautonomia to get out of unfavorable situations. In case you ask the child to clean their room, for instance, they may say that they’re dizzy or feeling unwell in general. Despite that, it doesn’t mean that the symptoms aren’t there.  

When you live in the same house as your kiddo, you should know by now whether they’re capable of efficiently lying or not. If they are, you may scrutinize them further before believing they aren’t in great shape. Considering they don’t lie or are not good at it, however, then you shouldn’t draw conclusions about what they’re saying before they even finish talking. 

Likewise, couples who have been together for some time organize the nuts and bolts of their lives in highly ritualized and interlocking steps that create stability and fluidity. Katie Willard Virant MSW, JD, LCSW 

  1. Ensure That They See TheDoctor On A Regular Basis 
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

It is also essential for anyone with dysautonomia to get checkups with a specialist regularly. Even though it won’t be cheap, that’s the best way to understand the progression or regression of the syndrome.   

 

  1. Maintain Your Composure

When kids go through puberty, they develop mannerisms and ideas that can make a parent happy or sad. It’s cool in case your kiddo is one definite cookie, to the point that the symptoms of the illness don’t faze them too much. But once they give in to their rebellious side and start talking back at you or sneaking out at night, you might lose your calmness before you know it.  

Will your outburst help your kid? No. If anything, it may merely aggravate the situation as the children see how much effect it has on you. So stay level-headed to help your offspring better. 

Sometimes the cause of a chronic illness/condition can be identified, but often no specific cause can be determined and nothing can explain why it happened. — Dan Mager MSW

  1. Consider Joining Support Groups
Source: pixabay.com

Taking care of a child with dysautonomia can’t be as straightforward as dealing with a regular kid. It may well be like stepping on eggshells in the beginning because there are things you can’t expect the patient to do, e.g., go to classes even with a terrible headache. 

Joining a support group may help some moms and dads overcome this issue. The organization ideally consists of parents whose children have dysautonomia too. You may ask them questions and garner advice on how to help your youngster better. 

 

  1. Subject YourselvesToFamily Counseling 

Whether your child is six or 16 years old, you may speak with a counselor together and deal with the psychological aspect of the disease. The ups and downs that come with dysautonomia, after all, don’t affect the patients. While the latter feels its symptoms alone, knowing that you can’t alleviate their dilemma can be burdensome for parents. You might be concentrating too much on the ill kid as well, which may cause your other children to rebel or develop adverse feelings toward the entire family.  

Through a group counseling session, you’ll be able to address all those issues. You can learn coping mechanisms for negativities as a family as well and become one another’s rock. 

 

How To Make Your Marriage Work Despite Your Partner Having A Chronic Illness 

posted in: Support & Recovery | 0

When you got married, and the pastor or priest asked you to recite your vows, did you ever think that you’d genuinely have to share the pain and sorrows of your life partner? 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

The thought does not often come to mind of many couples, especially when both are super fit. They rarely get sick aside from the usual muscle ache or seasonal flu. But when your better half has or develops a chronic illness, that’s when the rocky road starts. 

There may be days when your spouse needs help in moving out of the bed. In some days, you may not be able to touch him or her as it hurts everywhere. In the worst situations, your significant other may also get short-tempered since their movements often have limitations. 

Avoidance regarding talking about illness was a familiar, yet still surprising aspect of my experience. — Tamara McClintock Greenberg Psy.D.

Regardless of those struggles, however, your marriage can still work for decades. You merely have to: 

Communicate 

Source: flickr.com

 

Right after opening your eyes in the morning, the first words you utter should go along the lines of, “How are we feeling today?” or “Are you OK?” If your ill partner gives you a positive reply, that means the chronic disease isn’t active, and you will most likely have a normal day. In case you get a “no,” though, then you can expect twists and turns before nighttime comes. 

Checking in with your spouse is very significant as that’s the only way you’ll know their present condition. It isn’t alright to never ask, trying to believe it’s all part of a dream since that will be unfair to your husband or wife. Besides, it may result in fights, which folks with chronic illnesses don’t need at any given time.  

Plan 

When you are both in a fantastic mood, make time for creating your game plan for the rest of your life. That should involve what your better half can do at home if they’re not sick, what you have to do to pick up the slack, how you can figure out when the lingering pain turns itself on, etc.

When one member of a romantic partnership becomes chronically ill, the dance of shared living that the couple has built together is stopped. — Katie Willard Virant MSW, JD, LCSW 

The thing is, managing a chronic illness is like going to the war zone. If you step on that battlefield without a sound strategy, one of you will lose your patience, and the marriage will crumble.  

Support 

 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

Your bond with your significant other will remain strong as well once they know that you support them 100%. You can show that by accompanying them to doctor’s appointments, cooking meals that suit their diet, and improving your lifestyle in a way that your spouse can benefit from it too. 

Of course, you are welcome to feel frustrated with the situation at times. You are only human, and it’s not healthy to bottle up your negative emotions for fear of upsetting your lifetime partner. But the latter won’t get hurt as much as you assume when you communicate and continue helping out in every aspect possible. 

Having a chronic illness is extremely painful to deal with. Though the aches are mostly physical, every lousy day can depress you and make you believe in yourself less. Despite that, you and your spouse only need to hang on to each other for your marriage to endure even a recurrent disease. 

 If you experience a chronic illness/condition, with time and practice, you can make the adjustments necessary to establish a “new normal.” — Dan Mager MSW

 

 

How To Tell A Special Someone That You Have A Chronic Illness

posted in: Support & Recovery | 0

 

Source: creative-commons-images.com

The topic of illness makes most of us feel anxious and helpless. — Tamara McClintock Greenberg Psy.D.

When life gives you a health condition that you may never be able to outgrow, e.g., dysautonomia, and you are still unmarried, there are inevitably many thoughts that keep you up at night.

One of them is if you will ever find a good man or woman to date. In case you come across a nice fellow, you might worry about how he or she will behave once they know of your chronic illness.

Hopefully, it is below you to entertain the idea of hiding your disease, its symptoms, causes, et cetera, to a prospective lover. Things will become disastrous for you two once the other person learns about it, mainly if your decision puts your life in danger. In that sense, it will not be your illness that’ll push him or her away – it will be your lies.

Considering you are falling for a special someone, you have to inform this individual regarding your dysautonomia before making the relationship official. Here’s how you may do that.

 

Source: flickr.com

 

  1. Stay As Factual As Possible

Your objective is to tell someone that you have this form of dysautonomia, it does this and that to your body, and there is no cure for it at the moment. You may want to set your emotions aside and speak of everything that a specialist mentioned about the disease. This way, you can both be on the same page.

Chronic illness is an experience of continual unpredictability. From day to day, even from hour to hour, health can fluctuate dramatically. Katie Willard Virant MSW, JD, LCSW 

  1. Allow The Person To Process The Information

If your better half becomes speechless, it is best to give them space for a while. Though you may be dying to find out whether they are okay with the truth that you just dished out or not, you should understand that it will not be easy for them to accept in one snap that they are dating somebody with a chronic illness.

 

  1. Get Ready For Their Reaction

From the time you choose to talk about dysautonomia with your special someone, you need to prepare for how that person will react. The ball already rolled in their court, remember? You cannot take back any fact that you spilled; rather, you should not try to do so.

If he or she calls you and still wants to be with you, then that’s marvelous! You hit the love jackpot, and you found someone who wishes to remain by your side in sickness and in health. In case you never heard from them again, then you ought to be grateful for learning about the shallowness of their liking for you early.

 

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It can be especially upsetting and confusing to learn you have a chronic illness/condition. — Dan Mager MSW

To sum things up, it does not make you a baddie if your primary wish is to present yourself as a healthy individual to your loved one. Perhaps you are fearful for what the significant other may say, or you merely want to enjoy your days with him or her. However, how can your relationship be real when you deprive your special someone of the truth about your health condition? Furthermore, how will you know that he or she will be there during your lowest moments if you are unsure of what they are going to think about your dysautonomia?

Try to be upfront regarding the chronic illness as soon as you realize that the person will have an essential role in your life. Don’t wait for romantic feelings to grow before you do so; otherwise, it will stress you out too much.

Good luck!

Ways To Love Your Body Despite Having An Autoimmune Disease

posted in: Support & Recovery | 0

 

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Many chronic illnesses cannot be cured but can be managed in ways that allow those afflicted with them to maintain their quality of life. — Dan Mager MSW

How will you react after going through a series of blood tests only to find out that you have an autoimmune disease that even the best doctors cannot cure?

Accepting your fate may be the last thing to take place. You might talk to various specialists first, hoping to receive a different diagnosis. You might also look for holistic remedies nonstop and try every massage, therapy, or tonic that will supposedly improve your health condition.

In case your efforts turn out to be futile, that is when the hate can make its way to your heart. You despise your immune system for attacking you. You feel ill towards the doctors who have no long-term treatment to offer. It may not be an overstatement as well to say that you possibly hate your body just for being unhealthy.

Despite all those emotions you deserve to express, however, it is still not okay to keep a grudge against your body. If you are a victim of the illness, then so is your body. In fact, you need to learn how to love your B-O-D-Y now more than ever.

Avoidance regarding talking about illness was a familiar, yet still surprising aspect of my experience. — Tamara McClintock Greenberg Psy.D.

Avoid Pushing Yourself To The Extremes

The reality of having a recurring illness is that there are some challenges that you cannot face sheer determination since it will take a toll on your body. For dysautonomia patients, for instance, running a marathon may be quite impossible as their hearts already beat so fast even when seating still. For the ones with severe lupus, dieting may lead to frustrations because their weight might remain above the ideal number.

During these moments, you have to stop pushing yourself to do something that you know your system cannot handle. The result of that will not be pretty. Instead, merely focus on the stuff that you can do and function in moderation.

 

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Take Care Of What You Eat

As tasty as your food choices may be, how sure are you that they are not contributing to the flare-ups that you deal with these days?

A diet high in sugar or fats, frankly speaking, is a no-no. It can sustain your energy for some time and raise your mood, but you may feel awful when you start gaining weight because of the sweets and burgers you devour. Stress is likely to come then, which is among the trigger factors of any chronic illness.

What you need to do is consider leaning towards the vegetable section of the supermarket often. Try preparing your meals too instead of depending on restaurants to make them for you. Furthermore, you may still have chocolates, ice cream, or greasy foods, but only if there is no other option.

I made it clear in my tone and body language that my chronic illness was a minor setback, a hiccup, a pesky footnote in the narrative of my life. — Katie Willard Virant MSW, JD, LCSW

Bonus: Surround Yourself With Optimistic People

Whenever it seems difficult to dig deep and find confidence in yourself due to the illness, you can always speak with individuals who have a positive outlook. Their motivation to stand up for themselves and go after their dreams can be contagious, and it will be awesome if they can infect you with their optimism.

 

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Although you carry an autoimmune disease, it does not mean that your system is forever broken. You are whole. You have the right number of fingers and limbs, you can walk and run if you need to, and you are free to do anything your heart wishes. All you need to do is remember all the ideas above, and you are undoubtedly set for life.

Cheers!