The following article was kindly written and contributed by Albert Konik.
An autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system attacks your body with antibodies by mistake. It happens when your immune system thinks that you’re being infected.
Usually, it can tell the difference between foreign and domestic cells. When it detects germs like bacteria or viruses in your system, it attacks them to protect you from the “infection”.
An autoimmune disease can lead to many severe health conditions like type 1 diabetes or even EDS. That’s why it’s essential to know as much as you can about ways to fight it. But in many cases, physical treatment is not enough. You also need to know how to cope with that disease mentally.
Why? Because the diagnosis can have a very severe mental toll on you. Learning how you can cope with it can give you the strength to pick up the fight.
In the article below, you’ll find the best mental health coping strategies to help you fight autoimmune disease.
What Exactly is an Autoimmune Disease?
But before we get to the bottom of the article, we need to clarify a few things. To understand how you can successfully cope with the disease mentally, you firstly need to learn more about it, and what are the most common types of it.
So what exactly is an autoimmune disease? As mentioned before, it’s the situation when your immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy cells with antibodies. But why does that happen?
Well, doctors aren’t still precisely sure what causes it, but they know that the number of people who suffer from autoimmune diseases increases. Moreover, some people have a much higher risk of contracting that kind of disease.
For example, it turns out that women are more likely to have an autoimmune disease than men. Also, some autoimmune diseases are more common among certain ethnic groups.
What’s more, there are almost 80 different types of autoimmune diseases. The most common are:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Graves’ disease
- Celiac disease
Depending on the type, there may be different types of treatment. So, for example, if you suffer from autoimmune caused EDS, you need to take the specific EDS treatment.
But as you already know, physical treatment is not enough. Let’s get to the bottom of the problem, shall we?
How to Mentally Cope With Autoimmune Disorder
Being diagnosed with any disease can be tough, and autoimmune diseases are not exceptions. What is essential when dealing with these kinds of medical conditions is that you don’t lose your head.
There are a few essential mental health coping strategies that you should implement when your physician diagnoses you with an autoimmune disease. They’re going to help you put up a fight to live normally.
So what exactly are they?
Set Small and Achievable Goals
The first step you should take is setting yourself small and achievable goals. Doing little things like moving around, cooking, or going for a walk can be a great way to create a specific routine that will help you to cope with the disease you have.
Keep in mind that the goals may be different depending on the autoimmune disorder you have. The crucial thing to do is considering that when setting these goals.
Take small steps and stick to the goals you set for yourself.
Reach out to Friends and Family
Many people who suffer from various diseases tend to clam up, and it’s one of the worst things you can do. You should never be afraid to reach out to your friends and family.
Keep in mind that you’re not alone, and the ones who love you will do everything they can to help. What’s more, spending time with your friends and family is crucial to maintain positive thinking. It also takes your mind off and lets you live your life as you please.
And when you don’t want to bother your loved ones too much but still need to talk about your condition, you can always join a particular group or start therapeutic sessions.
Sometimes, a simple conversation with a person can make you feel much better, and it’s one of the best, and yet simplest things you can do to cope with any disease. Autoimmune one included.
Learn to Live With an Autoimmune Disorder
Sometimes it’s easier to say than do it, but learning to live with an autoimmune disease is a must if you want to retain your mental health. After all, it can be a significant part of your life.
Try to live normally. Of course, it may not always be possible as there are lots of autoimmune diseases. Nevertheless, creating a specific routine and sticking to it, or maintaining your old habits, should be a crucial part of your overall treatment.
A good idea is also to start doing something interesting. Find a hobby and boost your mental well-being.
As soon as you accept that the disease is a part of your life, you will find it easier to cope with it.
There are more or less 80 varieties of autoimmune disorder. Some of them are more severe, while others don’t have such a significant impact on you. Nevertheless, it’s essential to know how you can cope with them, both physically and mentally.
Keep in mind that physical treatment is not enough if you want to put up a fair fight with the disease. Maintaining your mental well-being is also crucial.
What can you do to achieve that? There are a few simple things. First of all, create yourself small and achievable goals. Secondly, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Your loved ones and specialists are there to help. And thirdly, learn to live with your disease.
Combine all these three coping strategies, and don’t let the autoimmune disease defeat you.