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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is this week’s question:

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:  Because of my illness, I lack the energy I used to have and can no longer keep up with socializing with friends. I feel some shame and at other times I feel angry when friends just try to cheer me up and they don’t understand what I’m going through. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:   As for the shame, it’s important to remind yourself that getting diagnosed with a chronic illness is not your fault and that you’re doing the best you can. Both the shame as well as the anger are quite understandable and are experienced by most of us who live with chronic, debilitating medical conditions. In fact, those feelings are made worse by the way healthy people, who lack any personal experience with chronic conditions say hurtful things.

I encourage you to connect with other people who live with chronic health challenges. There are support groups within many patient support associations. Most support groups these days meet online. Go to the site for the organization that represents your particular condition.

I also suggest courageously taking risks in expressing your true feelings to friends and family when they say unhelpful things. Try to avoid getting angry with them. Instead, try to honestly tell them your true feelings and what you would like from them.  Doing so will empower you and simultaneously will help them to be more helpful to you.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? 

Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column. 

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