It took 20 years for me to be diagnosed and during that time I didn't have much access to support or information. I basically felt alone.
Symptom management, coping mechanisms, emotional intelligence, maintaining employment or just having people to talk to who understood would probably have made my life easier and helped me to come to terms with and manage my situation quicker.
The growth of social media has made support and awareness so much more accessible over the past few years, which is great for the chronic illness community, especially those who are newly diagnosed.
Something I’ve learned over the years is that support comes in many forms. As well as friends and family, we can also benefit from professional individuals and organisations through talking therapies or courses to help deal with the emotional and psychological impact of living with chronic illness, to practical methods to help us manage daily living or employment.
Being the independent person that I am, I found it difficult to ask for and receive support for years. I thought it made me look weak and I felt vulnerable. Things like therapy and support groups were taboo also, as I grew up thinking they were just for ‘mad’ people or those with addictions.
I couldn’t imagine how they could help me deal with the trauma I’d experienced - not only from chronic illness but other emotional and physical experiences.
Over time I understood that we all have mental health and it includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act, the choices we make, how we handle stress and relate to others.
I’m so happy that I eventually took the plunge and utilised the services available to me. Counselling, coaching and medical information from knowledgeable organisations helped me to come to terms with my conditions, manage my mental health, find happiness and have hope for my future.
The positive impact motivated me to study counselling and coaching; enabling me to help others achieve the same.
There are so many in the community who not only have firsthand experience of living with chronic illness and, like myself, use their experience, skills and knowledge to guide, support and inform others so they don’t have to go through it all alone.
Having access to these resources is such a blessing.
So, as well as using the Chronic Warriors platform to share stories of how those in the community are able to excel and live a fulfilled life while managing chronic illness, I also want to highlight those who provide resources and services to help others.
In this month’s podcast episodes I’m delighted to share the wonderful work being done by two Chronic Warriors.
To hear about their experiences and what they do, tune in here CHRONIC WARRIORS PODCAST | Chronic Warriors (cassandraacampbell.com)
Part 1 Sunday 5th September with Des Quinn
Part 2 Sunday 19th of September with Rachael Mole