An extremely difficult diagnosis such as lupus can put you into so many emotional phases. Some of your very first feelings would most likely include frustration, sadness, anxiety, and fear of what’s to come. From that point on, you won’t have as much freedom to do what you want– even the most mundane things can get really difficult. You’re also going to live with constant sympathy from your concerned loved ones and acquaintances. And as if that’s not yet a nightmare to handle, you’re also going to have to deal with apparent physical changes that can trigger even more negative emotions. The stress of it all can just leave you to wonder, “How exactly do you cope with such an emotional and extremely difficult diagnosis?”
Understanding your disease
A large factor in coping with lupus is understanding what lupus is and the course of actions to take. As in most things, having a clear and sound mind is essential in grasping vital information about your disease.
What is lupus?
Lupus, or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is an autoimmune disease that occurs with widely varying symptoms. This chronic disease has been diagnoses in around 1.5 million Americans and even more worldwide. It is characterized by joint pains, intense fatigue, skin rashes, and memory problems. It can lead to other severe diseases such as kidney failure, stroke, lung inflammation, and premature heart disease.
A lupus diagnosis can take up to several years to be officially made, prolonging the agony of the patient who potentially has it. The symptoms– rashes, fatigue, and joint pain– can be persistent with alternating periods, which makes the disease very difficult to diagnose.
Currently, there’s not a single lab test that can really ascertain lupus, but there have been new treatments coming into the picture as critical research combined with the development of modern technology, and the determination of those in the medical field has been underway. Treatments have been found to hinder autoimmune attacks without giving much damage to neighboring organs and tissues and with fewer side effects, too.
With the help of different breakthroughs in the medical field that were discovered through time, we are seeing better diagnostic and treatment methods that make diagnosing lupus easier despite the regular fluctuation of symptoms. A couple of decades back, lupus patients weren’t guaranteed a normal lifespan, with just 40% expected to exceed beyond 3 years. However, with today’s medical and technological advancement, most lupus patients can happily anticipate better years ahead. It’s nice to think that in spite of the stresses and emotional stages, there’s still plenty of hope and opportunities to make you smile and be positive.
Finding your coping methods
When you’re going through something difficult, and you want to beat the blues one way or another, you have to take the first step. That first step to coping with lupus is to find a coping method that will best suit your personality and interests. Now, there are so many coping methods you can use to alleviate the woes of lupus. It’s only a matter of finding the right one given your conditions at home and in the workplace if you’re able.
Coping with lupus is all about maintaining a clear head and a positive attitude towards life. These are two of the best approaches in masking and even warding off the pains of lupus symptoms and brain fog. Medical professionals claim that people who are more positive despite their disease are more responsive to the medications and treatments being given. But who are we kidding? These steps are very much easier said than done. This is where your hobbies and interests will come in handy.
- Learn something new. If you find yourself being pulled down emotionally by the lupus-induced brain fog, perhaps learning something new will help get you back on your feet. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language in the hopes of travelling to a foreign country, or maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint or even try your hand at a different art form to channel your emotions into something beautiful. You’ll be surprised at how many people have turned to this method to recover from emotional and even physical lupus pains.
- Communicate. Coping with lupus is indeed such a difficult process, but keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. You have the best resources the world can offer, and you don’t have to look any further than your house. It pays to keep in constant communication with your family members and close friends. It’s also one way to normalize conditions in the house. After all, living with a loved one who has lupus can be just as difficult emotionally. Coping with the disease is really a two-way street if you come to think of it.
- Seek therapy. It’s 2017, and seeking emotional therapy is very much accepted by today’s society, so don’t hesitate to grab as much help as you can. It is a therapist’s job to make sure you’re getting by with the lupus blues and to determine the best treatment for you. One way to get you to understand and manage your emotions is by cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s basically just talking with your therapist and making sure you’re getting the best possible channel to vent out your emotions and thoughts.
When it comes to overcoming obstacles, regardless of how small or how great they are, putting mind over matter can really help you go a long way. With this mentality, you’ll be able to overcome most anything, and in this case, it’scoping with lupus. It’s really about the will to survive and beat the disease or at least, making an effort to enjoy life and what it can offer you in the present. To encourage mind over matter, you may want to consider making a few changes to your lifestyle. You don’t have to start off with a bang and start a new life all over. You don’t want to deal with that much pressure. To start off, here are some lifestyle tips that you may consider helpful.
Meditation - Prior to the diagnosis, you may have taken some things for granted, especially if you have spent most of your days at the office working for big corporations and not minding your health in the process. This also might have been the cause of what you’re experiencing now. It doesn’t hurt to save a bit of time in your regular daily activities to pause and just meditate. Perform deep breathing exercises and make yourself a relaxing cup of tea to encourage the flow of positive thoughts. Toss in some yoga poses while you’re at it. On the other hand, if not doing anything is not really your cup of tea, you can also take this time to do some casual reading.
Making small changes in the house - A change of scenery can be beneficial in coping with lupus, and you don’t need to go far or even walk out of the house to do that. Try your hand at redecorating and ask everyone in the household to help out. This would be a great opportunity for you and your family to bond and forget about the elephant in the room.
Recognizing your accomplishments - One way to maintain a positive outlook towards life, the key to coping with lupus, is by recognizing your accomplishments, however small they may seem at first, remember any accomplishment is a big deal and a reason to smile. Maybe you’ve finally managed to get out of bed one day – that’s an accomplishment. Maybe you’ve finally spoken to your kids about your condition – that’s another. Maybe you’ve managed to voice out some really heart-rending issues to your therapist – again, that is another. Better yet – write these accomplishments into a journal and let that be a catalyst for change.
Coping with lupus can be very different for each individual, and the best coping mechanism for you may not be ideal for others.The trick is to dig deep within yourself and harness those pent up emotions into positive opportunities that give you so much to look forward to, and we’ll leave it at that.
- Finding coping methods is crucial to keeping a happy life after being diagnosed with lupus.
- The first step in coping is understanding your disease.
- Be sure to talk about your condition with friends and family members, and don't stop doing things that make you happy.