4 Tips and Tricks to Finding Inner Peace Despite IPF
Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) can shatter the life that a patient and their loved ones once knew. There is a sense of peace and calmness that comes from a rewarding life that is achieved through hard work, or has been carefully planned out. That life does not include a diagnosis like IPF, where each breath is a struggle and the days become filled with unknowns, fear and stress.
Throughout the chaos, emotional turmoil, stress and sadness that this disease brings to everyone it touches; it’s important for patients to grasp onto hope, strength and peace, amidst many other coping techniques. I’m aware that this is a lot easier said than done. While sometimes it can feel impossible, there are things that patients and their families can do to help reduce the negativity associated with their disease, even if it”s just temporary.
Below are four tips and tricks that I have found helpful when striving to find inner peace:
Don’t dwell too much on the past and what used to be.
When I was diagnosed with IPF at 28 years old, my life felt like it was crashing down in front of me. I know how difficult it is not to dwell on the past and what used to be, however, it’s important in order to carve out the future you’re going to have, regardless of how long you live with this disease. Looking back and grieving what was, or what you thought would be, is an important part of the coping process for any disease but sitting in that space for too long can really be disheartening. It often clouds a patient’s ability to look forward, and make the best they can out of the life they have left to live.
Be comfortable with silence.
This is a hard one, because even people who love you the most often don’t know what to say about your diagnosis or how to respond to your hard questions. This is normal, and it’s something that I really struggled with at first. I often thought to myself, why are you not responding, or giving me an answer that I want to hear? Truth is, no one has an answer to many of the questions we ask as patients. Sitting in silence with my closest friends and just knowing they are there, gives me the most comfort and inner peace.
Get used to saying no.
This isn’t selfish, and you won’t let others down when you choose to say no in order to take care of yourself. As your disease progresses, your physical abilities will decrease, and you’ll likely find yourself more fatigued. This means that it will be important to prioritize things you need to do versus what you want to do. Saying no gives you the freedom, time and space to rejuvenate physically when you need to. It’s also important not to feel guilty about saying no as it often gives you the peace you need to sit and do something you thoroughly enjoy. It’s now time to put yourself first.
Try your best and know that it’s enough.
The bottom line to this one is: no one can ask you to do more than your best, so give something all you can and then be at peace knowing that you have done your best. Many people, myself included, sometimes feel as though even our best is not enough and we are constantly striving to do better. While professional growth and development is important, so is our mental health and work-life balance. I personally need to do better at trusting that I have given something my best shot, and that that’s enough.
Do you have any other tips and tricks to share that have helped you find some inner peace despite dealing with your diagnosis?
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