With autoimmune disorders there is always an air of uncertainty be it with the triggers causing flare-ups, diagnosis, treatment options, medications or its side effects.
The lack of any logical reason to explain the body’s own immunity turning against and targeting the body’s healthy cells, takes a toll on mental health causing confusion and anxiety.
Living with ITP (an autoimmune disorder that targets platelet cells) for almost a decade now, I have come to realize the toll it takes on mental health which is not spoken about much.
Here are few tips that helped me gain control over my mental health. Battling an autoimmune disorder is like being on a rollercoaster ride for life. These tips are to help you have a safe ride with hopes to hold on.
5 tips that can help you have better mental health while battling an autoimmune disorder
Join support group
When I was initially diagnosed with ITP, the n number of tests, medications and its side effects left me confused and uncertain about the life ahead. It felt like a lonely battle and it wasn’t helping.
It’s during this time that I found an online support group on FB which helped me gain more knowledge about the illness through experiences of fellow warriors.
Knowing that I’m not battling it alone gave me more strength and hope to look forward to the life ahead with optimism.
I would highly recommend that you join any support group, online or offline, where fellow autoimmune warriors share experiences and you can find practical insights from lived experiences. It gives clarity to take informed decisions and lessens anxiety.
Manage your stress
It can be stressful to wake up to sudden flare-ups day in and day out. It can cause fear and stress over time.
To manage stress, it would be better to start each day with conscious practice of mindfulness, say through meditation, journaling, deep breathing, etc. It helps calm the mind and body.
Even while there are chances of experiencing chronic fatigue with autoimmune disorders, it’s also important to stay active.
While extreme sports or high intensity exercises may be a big no for your disorder, you can make it a point to practice mild exercises like yoga, walking, swimming, etc for limited time on an everyday basis.
Listen to your body
With autoimmune disorder it’s not possible to tell when there would be a flare up or when the body will act crazy.
So it’s important to listen to your body and preferably plan activities on a day to day basis.
Even if something is planned and the body signals No, it would only be wise to call it a day and get some rest.
Be vocal about how you feel
While there can be external symptoms like bleeding, bruises, swelling, skin pigmentation, etc, there are also chances of internal symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, internal bleed, depression, etc.
While your support system may understand the external symptoms, they may not have an inkling of your internal symptoms or struggles.
So it’s important to be vocal about your struggles and fears to have an understanding support system to make you feel comfortable and offer necessary help.
The very feeling of being heard and your struggle being validated can itself give you more strength.
Hope these tips help you gain strength and sanity as you battle out an autoimmune disorder.
Strength & support your way!
This post is a part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.