Dear Therapist: I have a chronic illness that's hampering my happiness

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By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 6:34 PM

I have a chronic illness, which I don’t share but I’ve been to multiple doctors and there has been no cure. It’s not a typical disease that people have to live with for the rest of their lives but I’m unable to find a solution for it. I feel really helpless but I still don’t want to accept this as my fate. I think I will only be able to cure it when I put my life on hold and focus all my attention on it. But realistically, I can’t leave my job and do that. It’s taking a toll on my emotions. — Mihir J.

Dear Mihir, being diagnosed with a chronic illness is bound to take a toll on your mental health. Your distress and attempts to find a cure, is very valid. You have rightly pointed out that it is not feasible to give up a job (which pays medical bills) and venture on a solution-finding path. Some chronic medical conditions influence emotions and behaviour and I wonder how much of your distress can be attributed to it. It would be a good idea to discuss these issues with your consultant to evaluate any links. Your helplessness, if left unchecked, can also interfere with treatment adherence and visits to doctor. I recommend that you consult a psychotherapist to get a better understanding of how you are coping with the illness, your attitude towards it and the repercussions of living with one. The illness, albeit chronic, is not your ‘fate’ and I am sure you will learn to adapt or find better ways to make peace with it as time progresses.

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