Being diagnosed with a serious illness (i.e. one which will shorten your lifespan, severely affect your mobility or cognition, or cause chronic pain) can be devastating. If you have received this type of diagnosis, it might be worth seeking help from a counsellor. Continue reading to find out why.
The counsellor can help you to control the anxiety you experience as a result of the illness
A lot of people who are diagnosed with life-altering illnesses consider getting anxiety counselling. The major changes that tend to occur in a person's body and their daily life after developing a major illness can leave them riddled with anxiety. For example, if you develop epilepsy, you may find yourself feeling extremely anxious about the prospect of potentially having a seizure at some point during the day and then having to deal with the repercussions of the seizure. This anxiety may leave you unwilling to leave your home or participate in hobbies that you once enjoyed.
In this scenario, it might be a good idea to go for counselling, as the counsellor can help you to identify and change the negative thinking styles that are causing you to feel anxious. For example, if you have gotten into the habit of catastrophising and this has led to you assuming that any attempt to leave the house will result in some awful, illness-related event occurring, the counsellor can help you to use logic and rationality to challenging this unhelpful style of thinking. Doing this should help to prevent your anxiety about your illness from stopping you from living your life.
You can talk about how frustrating or frightening the illness is
If you have a life-changing illness, it is vital to discuss how it makes you feel; bottling up your emotions will only make it harder to cope with the physical and practical challenges created by your condition. However, you may find that when you attempt to talk about the aspects of your illness that frighten or frustrate you, your friends and family become uncomfortable or quiet. This is a common reaction, as a lot of people find it hard to talk to their loved ones who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, as doing so makes them aware of their own mortality and they often don't know what to say to make the ill person feel better.
In this situation, it might be useful to have a professional with whom you can talk about this topic. You can discuss the worst elements of your condition, without having to censor yourself out of fear of making them sad or uncomfortable. Instead, you can talk as much as you like, in any manner that you want to, knowing that the counsellor will validate your emotions, and offer insightful and compassionate responses that will enable you to better understand and cope with the psychological effects of your illness.
Do you feel low? Do you struggle to complete daily activities such as having a shower or eating regular meals? Do you have trouble sleeping? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may be experiencing low mood. For many years, I would have long periods of low mood. I didn't do anything about them until my wife suggested that I see a counsellor. The experience really helped me to explore my low mood and in combination with medication, my mood is now much improved. I decided to start this blog so I could offer advice to other people.