The expectations and beliefs we have about receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness such as diabetes, heart problems, asthma, liver disease, addictions, depression, and so forth have a direct impact on how we manage that illness. The beliefs may vary from “that’s not fair,” to “this is too much to handle,” to “I don’t have to check my blood today for diabetes sugar levels, I can get by,” or “I can have one drink or one deep fried snickers bar.” These beliefs are directly tied to how well a person follows their medical plan and how far they may fall when not adhering, otherwise known as relapsing.
I had the privilege and honor of facilitating a discussion group for Adult Type I diabetics. Some of them had been managing their diabetes for over 50 years. One member said, “I am so tired of shots and blood tests 4-5 times a day, I just don’t care anymore.” The member went on to say that her sugar levels were elevated on her A1C tests, were rising, and she was resigned. This is a good example of a subtle, yet eventually serious, psychological impact issue related to her health and wellbeing.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a chronic illness, please pay attention to how they think about their illness as the psychological consequences, as well as the health and final consequences, can be overwhelming if they are not managed well. Depression and anxiety negatively affect health outcomes in most chronic illnesses. A qualified mental health professional can be a very useful resource under these circumstances.
Exchange love and happiness with all those you meet today,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.,
CEO and Psychologist