Living with heart problems, inflammatory bowel disease or COPD can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you might feel hopeful and determined you’ll ‘beat this illness’, and the next you break down over the pain, symptoms and heartache you have to deal with every single day. You’re confused, overwhelmed and don’t know what will happen next.
No matter which stage of chronic illness you’re in, you’ll likely face your share of ups and downs. From the uncertainty while doctors figuring out what’s wrong with you to the harsh truth (or relief!) of getting a diagnosis, from learning pain management and pacing strategies to the sadness of missing out on life, being chronically ill can surely take you on a hell of a ride.
When you feel like you’re on an rollercoaster, how can you deal with the chaos and emotional turmoil?
First of all, zoom out mentally. When you’re in the middle of a figurative looping, there’s no room for anything else in your mind but being on that rollercoaster. But if you take a step back to see the bigger picture, you can see that the end of the ride is in sight. Sure, your chronic illness won’t magically go away, but your next ups and downs may be milder and more into the future than you can tell right now. So don’t get stuck in the moment of get caught up in the day-to-day drama.
Next, pause before you act. When you’re emotional, it’s easy to get carried away and act (out) uncharacteristically. But like psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In simple words: take a moment between thinking upsetting thoughts or feeling heavy emotions, and acting upon them. Don’t make important decisions in the spur of a moments when you’re on that emotional rollercoaster.
Also, find constructive ways to deal with all those emotions. Breathing techniques can calm your nervous system, while journaling helps to put your feelings into words and reflect upon what’s happening. You could also express yourself creatively through drawing, dancing or cooking, or practice mindfulness to learn to accept your new reality. And sometimes, simply sitting with difficult feelings when they bubble up is all you need to step off that emotional rollercoaster.
Finally, engage in positive self-talk and self-compassion. Getting stuck in negative thought patterns or beating yourself up over what’s happening will only lengthen and intensify this ride.
Have a look at these 11 chaos quotes to help you cope when life feels like a rollercoaster.
Which words or strategies help you ride the rollercoaster of life with chronic illness?
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like:
- 17 Quotes to Help You Grow Through What You Go Through
- How to Deal with Uncontrollable Stress
- The Beginner’s Guide to Changing Your Negative Thoughts
Thank you for including this post in your weekly round-up Claire! And for supporting other health bloggers by sharing their work. https://painpalsblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/7404/
Great post and information - I have shared a link on my regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire (PainPalsBlog) x
Thank you soo much may God bless you in many ways ☺
I'm sorry, the blog post is a few years old so the giveaway has been closed for a while now. Perhaps you can use some of the tips above to create a care package: puzzles or magazine, (free) samples of body care products if your dad is still in the hospital, a gift card for iTunes? I also like the Gifts in A Tin from DIYMommy: https://thediymommy.com/a-gift-in-a-tin-christmas-baking-kit-gift/ (Scroll down for an overview) or an edible gift like the five bean soup IF he's medically allowed to eat that of course!: https://thehealthsessions.com/healthy-edible-gifts/ Hope your father feels better soon!
I was going to leave a comment for the give away... For my dad cuz he had his gull bladder taken out a fue hrs ago but congrats... Is there a cheep way i can make something for him?
Being careful with what you eat might be a good idea if you're feeling sick or have stomach aches. Luckily, there are still plenty of things listed you can do to entertain yourself :-) Feel better soon!
When I am I'll myum doesn't let me eat so some wouldn't work 😢🍕
Hi Darci, thank you for your message. Unfortunately the guide is not available yet as a hardcover and a paperback. If that changes in the near future, I will let you know. Warm regards, Jennifer
I would like to buy this book in hard cover or paperback instead of e-book for a friend
Super useful habits Nat! I also need to mentally unwind before bedtime or I'll be laying awake all night with thoughts racing through my mind.
A few things that help me ( I suffer from insomnia) is by not taking my phone to bed with me, i finish checking emails, social media etc in the living room and go to bed to switch off. Something else I do is turn on my essential oils diffuser an hour before bed so the room is scent with a relaxing mist of essential oils such as lavender, or vetiver which is like a sedative and incredible for helping me unwind. Another thing that work well when i can't switch my brain off is to write a quick list of everything i think i need to be dealing with now and highlighting only the ones that need to be taken care of the next day. Helps me not to feel so overwhelmed and in turn helps me fall asleep easier.
I'm touched by your kind words Darla, thank you. It's perfectly normal that you're resentful and feel sorry for yourself. You've had a lot to deal with. Not just experiencing horrible symptoms on a daily basis, but also having to adjust the plans you had for your future and your sense of identity. To me, positivity in the face of adversity is not about having an irrealistic rose-colored view of life. But I do believe that trying to find the good in little things each day can help make the bad ones more bearable. It's a challenge, but your insightful comment tells me that you're up for it ;-) Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Good luck, be gentle with yourself and take care Darla!
Dr.Jen the Zen one, first off you rock! Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 4 years ago and 2 years ago double pneumonia that left me with heart failure with 28% left undamaged it has seriously limited my mobility energy patience and unfortunately my positive attitude. 52 years on this planet, I lived a happy-go-lucky , look on the bright side, things will be better tomorrow, or crack a silly joke and get over it type of life. Now for the first time in my life I find myself having to work at being positive. Anger and resentment and even the dreaded " poor little me" mindset is trying to set up permanent residence. And tonight I find your blog and it gives me hope I just want to say "Thank you" Darla