December 12, 2018 at 8:49 am #15617Charlene MarshallKeymaster
Learning to live with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) as a young adult is hands-down one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life to date. It is also something that is a ‘work in progress’ and truth be told, I don’t think I’ll ever master knowing how to live with a life-threatening illness. Part of me is sad that I’ll never get it “right”, and another part of me feels optimistic that I can continue learning in order to try and consistently do better, which is what I believe life is all about in general.
Whether it’s the myriad of information shared with you, dealing with changes within yourself and others after being diagnosed or managing all the appointments; living with IPF is extremely difficult and overwhelming at times. Learning how to effectively cope with your chronic illness is important for all patients, although it is easier said than done. This forum has provided me with so much information, insight and many gifts from all of you as members and caregivers who are part of this special online community. As a result of this, I am always looking for ways I can give back and one of the ways I try to do that is sharing how I cope with my illness to see if it can help someone else (it may not be helpful to some, but it might be to others). With that said, I wanted to share some self-help tips and effective coping strategies for me to deal with IPF when it becomes overwhelming:
- Taking it one-step or one-day at a time: this has been a hard lesson for me to learn, although it is usually one I preach to others, especially in my line of work. When I am overwhelmed with things I need to get done, or with information related to my chronic lung disease; I ask myself what needs to be resolved now versus what can wait. Usually I am trying to solve many things at once, all of which don’t need to be resolved in the moment and reminding myself of that helps when I am overwhelmed.
- Ask for help – this seems simple, but it isn’t always easy for those of us living with a chronic illness for a variety of reasons. Depending on what you need, your “ask” can be tailored to a number of different things from help with physical chores to help problem-solving or prioritizing tasks. For me, I find that talking about a problem aloud really helps me come to a conclusion of what I need to proceed. As a result, what I often need to ask for help with is for someone to listen and problem-solve with me.
- Give yourself some grace: if someone came to you with all the problems and difficulties you’re facing as a result of living with IPF, I’d guess that you’d encourage them to be a little gentler with themselves. That said, we rarely take this advice ourselves or at least this is the case for me. I often need to remind myself of what I’d tell others going through hardships and this helps me cope.
Do you have any additional self-help tips or effective coping strategies that help you manage IPF/PF when things get overwhelming? Please share them with us if so!
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