January 30

Chronic Disease vs Chronic Illness

Chronic Disease vs. Chronic Illness

The professional support offered by Heart and Soul Coaching recognizes and adheres to the distinction between the concepts ‘chronic disease’ and ‘chronic illness’.

Chronic Disease

Chronic Disease refers to the pathology of the condition, based on the biomedical disease classification. Diabetes, asthma and clinical depression are just three examples of the many chronic diseases that exist. In this approach we rely on the clinically-agreed and universal classification.

Each disease has its associated signature and symptoms. Symptoms, in turn, can be mild, medium and severe.

Our coaching support for chronic disease consists of evaluating your symptoms and all the contributing factors that may be involved. Next, together we will design and implement your individual care support to help you to best manage your condition on a daily basis. Your individual program could include certain lifestyle changes, dietary considerations, adherence to beneficial therapies and medications, setting up your support framework, a workable activity / rest routine, and so on.

If you find that this is your need, Heart and Soul Coaching offers a comprehensive, professionally-accredited and fully-facilitated coaching program. With unlimited consultations, this in-depth support of 4 – 6 months will assist you in integrating supportive and beneficial practices in your life.

Chronic Illness

Chronis Illness is the term used for your personal experience of living with your disease.

So on the one hand, there is your actual disease, as explained above. Next, there is your personal experience of living with your disease.

Your reality of living with your disease is defined by how you experience living with your condition, and this experience is mostly evident in your emotional and psychological life. Thus, the chronic illness experience can vary enormously between many individuals who have the same chronic disease.

Your personal experience of living with your disease is determined by many factors:

The severity of your symptoms. This includes the degree of pain, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and so on, as well as the random and unpredictable behaviour of your symptoms.

The degree to which your symptoms impact your function in the areas in your life: professional, personal, social and financial. The more your symptoms negatively affect your function, the more distressed you feel.

The losses suffered as a result of your disease. These include the losses of ‘everything that was’, but also of ‘everything that could have been’. In addition, when a disease is progressive, we talk of so-called ‘infinite losses’: the continued process of gradually losing more and more function and independence.

Social stigma. It is a sad fact that certain conditions carry a high degree of negative social judgment. For example, there is compassion for those living with, say, chronic migraines or asthma, whilst few will have similar understanding and compassion for mental conditions, such as BPD or Depression. Negative social judgment usually filters through into our own negative self-judgment.

Your own ideas and opinions about your disease. It is possible that you perceive your condition as an enemy in your life, something that needs to be eradicated. Or you could find that having your disease is a sign of weakness or failure. Another possibility is that you are so attached to a certain self-image, that your disease and its associated symptoms and need for care make you feel useless. Any manner of negative self-judgment exacerbates your suffering, isolation, despair and distress, to the point where you can get stuck in depression and anger.

Your ability to manage your disease. The better you adapt to your changed reality and the better you handle your disease and its associated needs for care and self-management, the more empowered, in control and confident you will feel.

Your resilience. Some people are by nature more resilient than others. They have a generally positive attitude, they meet their challenges with hope and resolve and they will focus on what they can do, instead of getting stuck in what they cannot Like most other personal qualities, however, resilience can be developed.

Your support system / team. Any burden in life becomes bearable when it is carried by many. So too with a chronic disease. Support is an essential aspect of positive coping, and support is enhanced when you expand your support team. Friends, family members, coach, therapists, medical professionals, online support groups – the list is long and varied. For your emotional and psychological well-being, it is necessary that you hand over the things you cannot do, so that you can focus on the things you can do.

As you can see, any and all of the above issues are potentially complex and delicate. Then again, all of the above issues can be taken hold of, learnt, developed, and managed, so that it is possible for you to live a life of renewed quality and purpose within the context of your condition.

The coaching support that meets all the challenges and needs associated with your chronic illness experience can be found in:

The in-depth and beautiful ‘This Strange Land’© email workshop, and/or

The short and to-the-point ‘My Life Purpose’ email workshop, and/or

By means of a series of email consultations.

Heart and Soul offers a free and detailed intake procedure.

Living with chronic illness / disease is not just an inconvenience or a temporary interruption. It is a life-changing event that has a deep emotional and psychological impact, the burdens and demands of which cannot possibly be underestimated. To allow yourself the assistance of this coaching would be a major ingredient in building your support, compassion and coping skills.

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