More than 1 million people in the UK are experiencing long Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics. That’s a lot of people and that doesn’t count the already thousands suffering from other chronic, long term illnesses, for example, ME.
Chronic illness can be bleak and challenging for the person in the middle of what can feel, like a never-ending journey of illness and exhaustion. However , with a bit of help and friendly advice, you can face your illness and manage your symptoms and live your best life
Food glorious food..
Food alone cannot make you feel completely better. A good diet can help to feel well but it won’t cure your illness so it’s good to keep a balanced view and look out for any vitamin deficiencies. Take Vitamin supplements if you can take all of your vitamins in with your regular diet.
It’s all about the small wins
One of the strangest things about chronic illness is that the smallest achievements can feel like a really big deal. Something as simple as having a shower and washing your hair can feel like a massive win to someone with a chronic illness. Try to write a list of three wins a day, it doesn’t matter how big or small, just recognise the achievements you make and give yourself credit where it’s due. You’re doing great
Find your people
Friends and family can be a great support, but it is often helpful to find people who really understand what you’re going through. Look out for Social media accounts on Instagram or Facebook that document their journeys with chronic and long-term illness. There’ll be practical tips and humour and only people that are going through the same journey as yourself, can really understand what you’re experiencing.
Ups and downs
Every day is different with chronic illness and that can be really tough. Don’t get down. Some days are good, some days are bad, and it can be hard to know when a good day will be and not. But for every down there will invariably be an up and this means you can feel better again. Don’t overdo it on the good days or berate yourself on the bad ones. And more importantly, be kind to yourself.
It is human to try to “push through” illness or to think exercise always makes us fitter, however, if you are chronically ill, exercise can cause more harm than good, especially if you push yourself too hard. Listen to your body, it’s very good at telling us when to go and when to stop.
Bad Days will come
Let yourself miss things, there’ll be other days and events to go to. Have a cry. Have another. Forced positivity can be toxic. Allowing yourself a feeling will let it pass soon enough. People with a chronic illness, are dealing with more in a day than many have to in a month, so give yourself a break
While most doctors try their best, NHS underfunding, a lack of research and a general lack of knowledge about many chronic illnesses, can mean that many patients are left to find their own treatments and research their own solutions. Don’t assume medics will automatically offer the help you need; the NHS will do what it can but that might not be enough for your condition. Be determined, which is probably the last thing you feel like doing when you are struggling for energy, but if you can, then try. Remember: you know your body better than anyone else and be guided by your own feelings
Remember who you are
Chronic illness can seriously damage your sense of identity, it’s hard to remember who you were before you were ill. You might feel consumed by the race to get back to how you were, but the real quest is to get back to who you were. Straighten your hair, put on a full face of make-up to put the washing out or wear those killer heels, whatever it is that makes you feel alive again. You are still you, even if you are more tired.
The thing about chronic illness, particularly post viral conditions, is that you have no idea when or if it will end. Living with that uncertainty can be harder than any symptoms and appreciate how things are now, even if that isn’t great all of the time. That is the thing about chronic illness: ill days can still be good days. You can still enjoy being with friends and family, even if physically you don’t feel great. Love can still be felt by the chronically ill, we don’t stop loving or being loved because we’re ill. There will be a moment, at some point, when you are in pain and you’re having a lousy day, but a song might play on the radio that will be so good, that you just can’t help dancing to it and feeling the joy that comes with that dance. Life has a habit of carrying on and your life is not over, not by a long way.