My Life With Multiple Sclerosis While In A Relationship

 

 

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“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. Most develop a pattern of on-again, off-again symptoms, but some have consistently mild symptoms and others have steadily worsening disability,” says psychologist Linda Wasmer Andrews.

Having a potentially disabling condition of the brain and spinal cord is something that I don’t want to talk about because it is so devastating. I am at the point of my life where I am experiencing a lot of stress and depression due to my health condition. I feel so vulnerable to more than thousands of negativity, and it appears like there’s no hope for me. I picture myself as an incapable person that seems to malfunction almost every day, and that ideology affects all the aspects of my life including my relationship with my spouse.

“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness.”Deborah Serani, PsyD

The Current Medication

My multiple sclerosis is something that takes almost all of my time and attention so I know I have to follow specific interventions to be able to help myself cope. I am under medication and consider taking disease-modifying drugs such as steroids that I usually take whenever I am experiencing a relapse. Though the prescribed medicines can somehow help me in a way, I am still carefully weighing its potential benefits against any probable side effects because I don’t want to suffer more than what I am experiencing right now. Aside from that, I also attend therapy sessions so I can somehow manage to deal with my situation by understanding my emotional and psychological state.

“Researchers combined two complementary brain imaging techniques to study the relationship between hippocampal immune response, functional connections, and depressive symptoms. As such, the findings suggest that hippocampal inflammation could be the contributing cause of high rates of depression in multiple sclerosis,” according to Rick Nauert PhD.

How The Disease Makes Me Feel

Due to the activeness of my disease, I no longer feel useful at all. Even though I think that medication helps me a bit, it seems like it doesn’t give me the kind of result I need when it comes to dealing with multiple sclerosis properly. Somehow I think that there’s more to it than just attending therapy sessions and popping prescription pills. Its severity means so much to me that it affects the way I think, behave, and react to the things that surround me and it happens to impact my relationships as well. Sometimes it makes me feel so sad and alone that I don’t want anybody else near me. I feel like I am a burden to those people I love, and that kind of situation sucks.

 

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How It Impacts My Significant Other

I know my husband is aware of my MS condition but seeing him suffer from all the stress and pain I am experiencing, I have to admit that it also makes me feel sad about it. It’s not because I am incapable of doing things for myself, but it’s because I know how much he desires to help me on my situation but won’t be able to do anything. Even though we agree on sticking with each other and understanding every pain that we’re going through, I know it is never an easy task for the both of us because eventually, I know I’ll lose all the strength I have, and he’ll lose all the patience he needs.

 

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My multiple sclerosis is something that makes me incapable of providing for my spouse because instead of me taking care of him, he’s now extending tons of effort into making me feel better. I know it’s a blessing to have my husband with me, but not being able to return all his effort is worse than having a severe case of MS.

Multiple Sclerosis And My Married Life

 

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Dealing with a medical situation is something that puts me on a roller coaster of emotional and psychological stress. “When individuals are very stressed, particularly if they become anxious or depressed, their ability to think clearly and objectively may be affected. People can easily feel less capable or weaker than they truly are, and think that their situation is much worse than it really is,” says Steve Bressert, Ph.D.

Though I am not the one experiencing the said condition, I know my wife is battling so hard to get over her illness, as she desires to live a healthy life. As far as her multiple sclerosis is concerned, it is something that puts us both into a situation that even our relationship can no longer support and fix the damage from her MS.

“Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological disease in young adults. Most develop a pattern of on-again, off-again symptoms, but some have consistently mild symptoms and others have steadily worsening disability,” says psychologist Linda Wasmer Andrews.

I Am Powerless

Honestly, it pains me to see that my wife is suffering from multiple sclerosis almost every day. I can no longer contain the emotional pain I am feeling right now knowing that any moment, her condition can give her tons of physical pain. And what’s worse is that I can’t do anything about it. Every day she is experiencing a relapse and her body shivers. It scares me to death thinking that my wife can snap in an instant. One moment she’s okay, then after a couple of minutes, she’s not. It drives me crazy because her situation is something that I never really understood. Sometimes, even if I think I know a lot about her condition and tell myself that I am capable of helping her all through her struggle; deep in my mind I know I am powerless of doing anything. I hate to see her suffer and I don’t want her to feel pain. But that’s not for me to decide.

 

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The Situation Causes Damage

I believe that my relationship with my wife is something that she uses to be able to hold on to our situation. Our marriage becomes both of our strength so we can fight the damage of multiple sclerosis in our lives. However, the severity of the medical condition is suddenly taking us away from each other and even though it only makes a slow pinch of changes in our everyday routine, it still gives us an absolute mental and emotional disaster.

I read that, “As a caregiver, you will get angry – at your spouse, at the disease, at doctors who seem uncaring or unwilling to look at the whole patient. Prepare for this anger and try to direct it at the responsible party: the disease.” This was said by Robert N. Kraft Ph.D. from personal experience being the husband of a woman with MS.

 

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I want to be with my wife, I love her, and I want to take care of her. But the intensity of the burden of dealing with a person with multiple sclerosis is something that tends to give me a severe medical depression. I feel so down and hopeless right now. I know this is not helping me at any cost and it doesn’t help my wife as well. But the emotional stress I am suffering right now because of my wife’s condition is immeasurable.

Everybody may experience a different side of a struggle from multiple sclerosis, and they will eventually end up losing everything too. I know I am not worthy enough to support my wife if I won’t be able to recover from the depression I am having right now. I need my wife more than she needs me, so I have to make sure that I am 100% capable of providing her the support she needs. I don’t want her to think that her condition pushes me to my limits that’s why I know I need to recover from my medical condition so that I can entirely give her the kind of support, love, and care she deserves.

 

Can Multiple Sclerosis Destroy My Love Life?

 

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The emotional and physical connections between couples are essential towards a long-lasting relationship, and there is a more significant need for it when one or both of them have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is “widely considered an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system of an otherwise normal person is tricked into attacking healthy parts of the body, MS causes damage in many areas of the nervous system. This leads to symptoms that are often different for different people. These include things as seemingly diverse as fatigue, walking problems, depression, cognitive impairment, muscle tightness, or bladder problems,” says Lauren Krupp, M.D., and Robert Charlson, M.D.

The symptoms of MS can primarily affect the way people feel or how they connect towards their partners. It may also substantially influence how they regard previous and current activities that support their relationship. As such, couples can expect possible effects of MS on their current or future situations.

“New research now suggests that inflammation within the hippocampus — influenced by the immune system responses — may be the reason for the increased prevalence of depression among people with M.S.,” according to Rick Nauert PhD, and it’s very devastating to have a partner or spouse with depression and MS at the same time.

 

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The Impact Of MS

An individual with MS will substantially change as the disease progresses. The changes will impact the relationship from mild to severe levels. Some symptoms of MS may strip them (not all) of sexual activity or undoubtedly lessens it from what it used to be. There is a possibility that couples with MS may need to pull off with cuddling, hugging, stroking, and kissing as these are the primary forms of intimate connection. However, there are various ways to keep the intimacy in the relationship alive. You can research for things that you can do and what you can’t during sexual intercourse. Ask healthcare professionals regarding how to deal with MS symptoms that get in the way of your sexual activities together. They will also give you advice about beneficial sexual health options as well.

A couple in a relationship will change over the years and will require adjustments to move on. However, individuals with MS tend to hold on to their mentality shift during the progression of the disease which may cause a severe personality change. Their partners may not recognize them anymore due to these character changes and that somehow leads to a breakup.

Individuals with MS will experience the symptoms of the disease without prior signs and will not be able to know how long these will last or how severe they would be. MS will put a massive burden on their partners which may influence them to give up the relationship. The diagnosis of MS and its symptoms may create new arguments due to the changes that MS can bring in their relationship, social lives, and responsibilities of a person. The couple’s plan for the future may drastically change or possibly halted.

 

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The Verdict

Multiple sclerosis is a life-changing disease, but it should not keep you away from holding a positive outlook on life. It is also important not to drown in self-pity for it will significantly affect you and your partner. Lastly, never think that you are alone during your battle with this disease because there are thousands of people who can relate to your situation. Find the strength to address the issue so you can save your relationship from drying.

“I would strongly recommend that if you feel that your personality has changed, if you find yourself withdrawing and not able to complete tasks that you were once able to complete, you feel blue, helpless, hopeless, have lost interest in things that you once enjoyed, that you get scheduled for a psychological evaluation,” says Amy Sullivan, Psy.D.

A significant ratio of couples with MS will have their relationship compromised which may ultimately end up in separation. However, it is not an impossible feat to keep the connection with efforts. There is a greater need for understanding, patience, and a lot of planning coming from both individuals in the relationship.

How My Wife’s Battle With Multiple Sclerosis Affected Me

Source: wikimedia.org

MS is “widely considered an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the immune system of an otherwise normal person is tricked into attacking healthy parts of the body, MS causes damage in many areas of the nervous system. This leads to symptoms that are often different for different people. These include things as seemingly diverse as fatigue, walking problems, depression, cognitive impairment, muscle tightness, or bladder problems,” says Lauren Krupp, M.D., and Robert Charlson, M.D.

It was a bit of a struggle in my relationship when my wife got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It became a challenge for both of us because the situation was something that we could not control. It made us realize that there are things that we can do together to fight the kind of unfortunate situation we have.

Being a husband, I understand that I have a lot of responsibilities to do and taking care of a person with a chronic illness has become one of my top priorities. Though it is physically and emotionally exhausting, I make sure that I stay strong for the sake of my wife’s wellbeing.

 

How I Assisted My Wife

The most important thing I managed to do is I made sure that my wife receives all the love and understanding she needs. There were no complaints, judgments, demands, and favors. I paid attention to her health by administrating adequate measures of exercise that she was allowed to do such as yoga, simple stretching, walking, and so on. It is also vital that I provide her healthy and nutritious food. It became a tool in giving her all the essential nutrients she needed to start off her day healthy. I made sure that she doesn’t skip regular schedule of medications and provided necessary treatments for her condition. I also made sure that we maintain our communication so we can comfortably talk about the things that we need to do together.

 

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How The Situation Affected Me

As I continued to help her in her struggle with multiple sclerosis, I also experienced some changes within myself. I became more sensitive to her needs. I paid attention to acknowledging her feelings because it also changed my mood a lot of times and I knew that not all of them are useful in handling a toxic situation. Her condition affected me in a way that I wasn’t able to function normally too. I became stressed and depressed about her state, and all I can think of were ways on how to make her feel better. I felt like I was pressured to do things out of the ordinary merely to give her everything she needed. I’m not perfect, and I do have complaints sometimes. But when I think about my wife’s condition, I have come to realize that there is more than what I can give her.

 

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Taking Care Of Myself

Robert N. Kraft Ph.D. has a personal recount about MS since his wife is coping from it. “Do not be too hard on yourself, or too easy. Don’t condemn yourself when you behave poorly and don’t congratulate yourself when you behave well – especially when other people say how admirable you are. You are not admirable. You are simply muddling through, doing the best you can.”

When I realized that my wife’s condition was also affecting me, I immediately took care of myself. I was in the right position to say that I won’t be able to provide for her needs when I can’t function. I managed to look for better resources such as therapy sessions and meditations.  I can say that it helped a lot in changing my perspective towards the battle I am facing, especially with my wife’s multiple sclerosis. My wife depended on me so I knew I should take care of myself for her. “Emotional availability is about overtly letting your partner know that nothing is more important than how the two of you feel about one another,” said Stuart B. Fensterheim, LCSW.

All I can say is, even though multiple sclerosis is something that is unfortunate, it became a reason for my wife and me to become closer to each other. I would never regret spending every single time in taking care of her.

The Psychiatry In Coping With Multiple Sclerosis and Mood-Related Symptoms

In the almost 2,000 patients surveyed, perception of their own health correlated most with pain – a symptom that has increasingly been recognized in MS, but is not even part of most standard MS measures of disability. The second most linked symptom with patients’ perception of their health was walking ability, followed then by fatigue.” This statement came from Lauren Krupp, M.D., and Robert Charlson, M.D.

Dealing with the symptoms of multiple sclerosis or MS is complicated because of its link to many psychiatric issues. It causes a swirl of different moods due to the deterioration of the nerves. The disease may let the patient feel anxiety, depression, anger, and stress. However, it is not impossible to deal with these emotional mood swings with the help of a good doctor, proper medication, and self-discipline. 

One of the ways to deal is to talk to licensed experts at BetterHelp. They also have Twitter and Instagram. The platform is discreet and offer a nonjudgmental ear. 

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How To Cope With Multiple Sclerosis Through Therapy And Others

Multiple Sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder that damages the nerves found in the brain and the spinal cord. It causes a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms in consideration of where the autoimmunity happens. 

“MS causes damage in many areas of the nervous system. This leads to symptoms that are often different for different people. These include things as seemingly diverse as fatigue, walking problems, depression, cognitive impairment, muscle tightness, or bladder problems,” says Lauren Krupp, M.D., and Robert Charlson, M.D.

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Online Counseling: What You Need To Know About Multiple Sclerosis

Millions of people all over the world suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS), and there’s still a lot of information about it that we probably don’t know. People with multiple sclerosis somehow consider the help of a professional that can guarantee proper guidance or counseling. One way to get that is from BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online platform that gives us access to therapy at the tip of our fingers. It is one of the best online support  system you can get.

However, in terms of psychological support, it is believed that “Under the right circumstances, online counseling can be just as effective as the traditional in person therapy model, or sometimes even better. Knowing what factors to be aware of from the beginning can help you find the best online therapist for you,” according to MICHELE QUNITIN, LCSW. Since almost everything they do depend on the central system, they opt to find solutions to the problematic situation they have. But what can multiple sclerosis do? We compiled a list of things you need to know to be able to understand what MS is all about.

 

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8 Unhealthy Habits To Ban From Your Life

 

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 The typical reaction of millennials when they come across a 70- or 80-something individual who finishes a marathon or has unblemished skin is: “How can that happen at their age?”

In truth, there is no secret formula for that. Such people are neither magicians nor drinkers from the fountain of youth. While some may indeed be born with fantastic genes, most merely know what to do and not do with their body both internally and externally. It’s highly probable that they don’t also have other vices than living healthily.

In case you’re envious of the oldies and want to get as close to 100 years old as possible, there are some unhealthy habits to ban from your life.

 

  1. Binge-Eating

You need to eat to recharge your energy or boost your mood, but you should refrain from munching on chocolate or chips every hour just because you’re bored. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes can result from that, which may effectively shorten your lifespan. Stick to an eating schedule and practice moderation for whatever you consume.

Binge eating can also be a disorder. “People with binge eating disorder feel like they have little control over their binges, causing them to eat large quantities of food in a short period of time, often to cope with emotional distress,” says Joel L. Young M.D.

 

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  1. Stressing Over Everything

Stress produces a mess. Apart from it lessening your efficiency at work, but it will also make you look much older than your real age. You have to chill out and learn how to cope with stress early to avoid that.

“When finding the stress techniques for you, the main thing to keep in mind is find “what works for you.” People cope differently with stress and what works for other people in your life may not be helpful for you. If you want to see professional help, reach out to a therapist or psychologist in your community,” says Erlanger A. Turner Ph.D.

  1. Binge-Watching

Tuning into Netflix and other TV channels are sometimes beneficial since it takes your mind off demanding activities. However, allowing it to take over your days, to the extent that you call in “sick” in the office just to not miss an episode of your favorite show, is alarming. It’ll most likely turn you into a couch potato too, and any thought of exercising will go out of the window. That isn’t exactly a healthy way to live, is it?

 

  1. Living Through Your Smartphone

The birth of electronic devices and internet will always feel like a gift from the heavens. They make taking notes, remembering significant dates, capturing images, and connecting with loved ones effortless with a single click of a button. Despite that, you can’t remain fixated on that digital screen for hours and assume it won’t be harmful to your well-being. Go out instead when you have nothing else to do and enjoy life without it as much as you can.

 

  1. Lacking Goals

Dreaming isn’t only for kids. You need to have at least one right after accomplishing every goal so that you can direct your actions well. Not having a dream at any age may encourage you to procrastinate and focus on getting by alone.

Just a thought: “Self-direction is a person-centered approach to working with people to achieve their goals. This method has been applied to various populations, initially used for older people, brain injury patients, and the disability segments. Most recently it has seen success in the treatment of mental health disorders and substance/behavioral addictions,” says Adi Jaffe Ph.D.

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  1. Drinking/Smoking

Alcoholic beverages and cigarettes may taste amazing when you feel tensed or problematic, but they’ll wreak havoc in your system. Your liver and lungs are at high risk from the beginning; nonetheless, the other organs will also be in danger the longer you drink and smoke, respectively.

 

  1. Looking For Social Approval

Another unhealthy habit that many are guilty of is seeking the approval of others for anything you wish to do. That lets them run – and ruin – your life, to be honest. You should dig deep in your heart to know what makes you happy rather than ask people if they like your decisions or not.

 

  1. Keeping Toxic Relationships

Lastly, you are better off with affairs that don’t elicit heartaches, anger, and insecurity from that. In case you don’t break the relationship immediately, it can poison your mind and cause you to try all the unpleasant activities you’ve just read above.

How To Treat Multiple Sclerosis Without Drugs

 

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Having multiple sclerosis is not a walk in the park. As an autoimmune disease, the doctors cannot honestly pinpoint what causes the immune system – your body’s first line of defense – to turn against you. Some days you feel as healthy as an ox; other times you lose your vision, feel numb, have trouble with your balance, etc. Undoubtedly, it doesn’t just bring physical pain but also emotional distress since the disorder robs off your capability to do even regular tasks. “Identifying the predictors of pain is important for both health professionals and researchers, because pain has repeatedly been found to be a strong predictor of activity limitations and participation restrictions,” Shahnaz Shahrbanian, PhD wrote.

Once diagnosed, a physician can prescribe medicine or therapy or both. The thing is, neither can cure the condition, and you may get short-term relief in exchange for thousands of dollars’ worth of medical bills throughout your life. In case that fact doesn’t sit well with you, realize that there are ways to treat multiple sclerosis without drugs.

 

Manage Digestive Problems

The disease wreaks havoc efficiently and almost stealthily as it begins in your gut, the section where everything you consume temporarily settles before they go to their rightful places. “The gut is the second largest site of exposure of the body to the outside world after the skin, which is a largely impermeable barrier,” explains Daniel Mielcarz, PhD. In case your intestines become inflamed due to the unpleasant substances they have to deal with often, they can malfunction and push the contaminants toward the bloodstream. The harmful chemicals can then reach the nervous system at that point and disturb the central organ – the brain – that tells the rest of the body what to do.

To fight multiple sclerosis, therefore, you need to fix your digestive problems first.

 

Detoxify Your System

Now that we are in the modern age, it is effortless to inhale or consume substances that seem good yet are bad for our health. Fast foods, for instance, bring you closer than ever to saturated fats and sugars that most likely affect the progression of the disease. Every straw you sip on, every plastic cup or utensils you use, may allow heavy metals like silver and lead to enter your bloodstreams.

“What we eat influences the ability of bacteria in our gut to produce small molecules, some of which are capable of traveling all the way to the brain. This opens up an area that’s largely been unknown until now: how the gut controls brain inflammation,” Francisco Quintana, PhD explains.

In reality, a human body does not have the proper tools to transform all of that into useful nutrients. That’s why they often remain as toxins in there until you find a way to flush them out. Thus, you may do juice cleanses a few times a week. Or, drink green tea and other herbs with anti-inflammatory properties on a daily basis to detoxify your body.

 

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Say No To Candida Overgrowth

Have you ever had a yeast infection? It is the ailment that results from the excessive amount of fungus growing either inside or outside of your system. How that usually takes place is similar to how bakers activate the dry yeast that makes the bread soft and fluffy – by feeding sugar to the microorganisms and leaving them in warm water.

What connects this issue to multiple sclerosis is the truth that you tend to cure the infection with antibiotics or steroidal creams. When they’re absorbed, your brain signals the immune system to blindly fend off the chemicals even though they mean no harm. But since your antibodies are under mutiny, the drugs can trigger the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, giving you pain.

For that reason, avoid the germination of candida at all costs. Stop eating dairy products or taking probiotics for some time as well as they contain live active culture that promotes yeast growth.

 

 

How To Live Well Despite Having A Chronic Illness

 

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The people who live with a chronic disease and still manage to succeed with their goals are some of the unsung heroes on this planet. It is already difficult for healthy folks to deal with a slight cold or a minor injury. For the former, though, they may go under the weather when the pain hits, but they’ll continue to power through the day despite having an illness that keeps on coming back.

How can they do that, you ask? Well, it’s all about the life choices you make. When you think, “I won’t let this health issue take control of me,” you can work towards achieving that. And if you claim that you’ll survive any jab at your health, there’s no doubt that you’ll genuinely do it.

Below are more ideas on how to live well despite having a chronic illness.

 

Go With The Flow

Your new objective is to ride the current. In a regular situation, you may not need to take a break just in case you have a fever or a sore throat. But because it’s a lingering pain that you’re dealing with, it may be impossible to concentrate on your tasks while the disease is still in active mode. According to Trudi Griffin, LPC “Adding a therapeutic professional to your support team, whether it be a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or a licensed mental health counselor, can boost your feelings of safety and empowerment.

What you can only do is accept that it is your reality now. On good days, you’ll be able to function like any member of your team. During the sick days, you may just want to stay in a fetal position, and that’s OK too. Your colleagues won’t ideally mind as long as they’re aware of your condition.

 

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Stop Being Cynical

Having a chronic ailment makes some patients pessimistic about life and love in general. Since they carry an illness that may never go away regardless of how much therapy or medication they get, it’s easy for them to assume that they will be lonely forever. This idea is further strengthened by this phrase:  “Many people experience depression when coping with a chronic illness. There are a combination of factors that contribute to depression including lack of control, feelings of helplessness, loss of physical mobility, impact on career, chronic pain, strain on relationships, and medical complications” by Becky Reiter, MA, LPC.

 

That’s wrong, you know. Your illness does not equate to you being broken or being undesirable. Some individuals even have a health issue wherein it’s painful for them to have sex, and yet they are in a happy relationship. You don’t need to couple with anyone if you’re not into it, but at least make peace with yourself and stop being so negative.

 

Know The Triggers

Assuming you have the disease for a while now, then you already have an inkling of what causes the problem to spike up. It can be cumbersome lifting or lack of movement. Some foods may also bring you pain. With that said, it’s best to avoid the things that will trigger the chronic disorder.

 

Enjoy Your Life

Finally, you can live well once you prevent chronic illness from hindering your happiness and adventurism. Though the pain may strike almost every day, it won’t stay active 24/7. You should savor the times when you aren’t in agony, for that reason, and try as many activities as you please. This is further supported by  with Andrea M. Risi, LPC “  The mind-body connection shows us that if we feel depressed or anxious, the body feels more pain or fatigue. Changing negative thoughts to positive ones can decrease both physical and emotional pain.”

Source: images.pexels.com

 

Whether you’re pain-free or not, you’ll only live once. Remember that whenever you feel like giving up and succumbing to the chronic disease. Cheers!