Any chronic disease produces stress. The stress can be good or it can be bad. When stress is managed well there are adaptive behavioral patterns that are adopted that lead to changes that help heal or place the person in situations that help them have unique insights about their disease.
Whether the disease is IBS, GERD, fibromyalgia, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis matters little. What’s important is how the individual deals with the stress.
But as we know stress can be damaging and affect our ability to heal usually because the stress brings lack of mental clarity and confusion.
Chronic Disease and Relationships
Anyone with chronic disease of any kind will have challenges in relationships unless their disease is not significantly advanced or adaptive patterns are developed well enough to manage through issues at hand whatever they may be.
But with advanced disease support becomes very important and one is blessed when one has systems in place (support groups or understanding spouses or friends) that can acknowledge that the person is not alone with their challenge.
What is not very adaptive are forums or groups where victimized mentality is supported or even advocated. When this kind of dynamic is set in motion it stifles creativity, clarity, and personal responsibility for the disease.
3 Management Tools in Relationships
When we are “up against it” so to speak there is value…. particularly in dealing with close relationships…. in keeping in mind what I believe are sound guidelines for not impairing our relationships with others.
1. Give up the need for control.
Whenever chronic disease occurs and we are constantly reminded of the disease because of symptoms, it brings up fear for each and every one of us.
We all fear the unknown and the lack of knowing where this chronic disease is taking us is very frightening. When we get into fear one of the first things we reach for is to control. This gives us a feeling of stability and groundedness.
Unfortunately if this need for control spills over into our relationships, then they feel controlled. If one just has the awareness of this there will be great understanding as to your relationships with others.
2. Practice unconditional love.
Make a deal with yourself that no matter what happens in any relationship that there is complete acceptance of what is.
This is the practice of unconditional love…complete and total acceptance of what is. You may not like it but accept it as what is. No trying to change it….wishing it were different….wishing the other person was different…just accept as what is. This can be very liberating and usually leads to resolution of needing to control or #3.
3. Watch and be aware of reaction.
A reaction is like an automatic reflex, like the knee being tapped at the doctor’s office and the leg automatically responds. Unfortunately emotional knee jerk responses are disabling and can play havoc in relationships. The Vata and Pitta energy patterns which are imbalanced in the disease of IC can lead to impatience and potentially knee jerk emotional responses
So what I would suggest is that you place these on your mirror and review them every morning until they are part of you:
I’m not in control, I totally accept everything that occurs, and I will not react to anything in my awareness.
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com.