Chronic Illness Counseling | Atlanta Suwanee Gwinnett Georgia Online

Are you about out of spoons?
Chronic Illness Counseling can help!

spoons are often described as a unit of energy by people in chronic illness counselingOne day you feel happy and productive, the next day you feel like the cards are stacked against you. You feel tired all the time, but not the normal type of tired everyone feels; you are tired down to your bones. Trying to move through a "normal day" feels impossible and you just want to hide under a rock and hibernate. Well-meaning people say, "but you don't look sick!" like it's some kind of compliment, but you feel invalidated. Today's spoons are gone by noon and you are depleting tomorrow's, too. (People who have been around chronic illness for a while often describe the idea of limited energy using a "spoon" as a unit of energy.  Read The Spoon Theory for more insight.)

How many of these things do you catch yourself thinking or saying?

  • “I can’t stand that I can’t do everything on my own anymore.”
  • “Where did my sense of humor go? I want to laugh again.”
  • “I’m tired all the time no matter how much I sleep.”
  • “Why do I always feel like a burden? I should be able to do everything on my own.”
  • “Crying is my go-to emotion these days. I cry so easily, all it takes is one minor inconvenience for me to break down.”
  • “I’m grumpy all the time. I even get on my own nerves.”
  • “Why can't I keep up? I’m letting everyone down."
  • “I’m in this alone. No one can understand what I’m going through.”
  • “It feels impossible to lighten my load, I’m so overwhelmed.”
  • “I’m so angry at life for changing on me. I can’t get over it.”

Most chronic illness warriors identify with at least a few of these thoughts. It isn't easy feeling alone in the struggle. It's common for warriors to go through periods of complex mental health struggles that impact multiple areas of their life. If you're ready to get some help with all of this, we can help.

Life Interrupted

The initial shock of a chronic illness diagnosis can feel defeating and you may struggle with depression, anxiety, and irritability at different times through your life. This can impact your relationships, productivity at work, or success in school. At some point, your time spent having fun got replaced with doctor appointments and medications. That can be a hard pill to swallow (metaphorically and literally). This sense of loss of control is a perfect breeding ground for complex mental health issues.

This shift in life circumstances can be especially hard for “Type A” personalities. When you’re the type of person who is used to going through life at 100 mph, a sudden blown tire is terrifying. It can be crushing to think that health problems can take away your control in life. It’s heartbreaking to realize you have to prioritize life differently and may have to give some things up. You can ignore the symptoms for a while, but they have a way a flaring up and hitting you right in the face.

When you know you’re capable of so much more, but can’t seem to perform at that level, you start to question yourself. Adding to that, people in your life can say things like “you’re just being lazy,” “just take your medicine and you’ll be fine,” or “just get up and move around and you’ll feel better.”  They can start insinuating that it can’t be as bad as it seems, or even worse, it’s all in your head (rude!). You may be tempted to drop them like a hot plate for being insensitive. But, you know that you need them now more than ever.

What is chronic illness?

Chronic illnesses are different from acute illnesses in that they last for a long time, oftentimes for life.  To add insult to injury, chronic illness warriors are at an increased risk for acute illnesses and nasty secondary infections.

Examples of chronic illnesses:

  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, type 1/juvenile diabetes, and dozens more
  • Metabolic disorders like diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis
  • Progressive disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or amyotyrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar

Living with a chronic illness

Chronic illness can completely get in the way of daily life. Functioning like your normal self can feel impossible. No matter where you go, you’re expected to function at a “normal” level (whatever that is). If you have an invisible illness, dealing with these expectations can add a whole extra level of stress and frustration. Often, people have to struggle with getting others (including medical providers!) to accept their symptoms are legitimate.

A knowledgeable and compassionate therapist can support you through managing the stress of chronic illness and navigating the effects on relationships, work, and school. You don’t have to find the path to a new normal or advocate for your needs on your own.

Finding the path forward

While living a full and purposeful life may feel out of reach right now, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Finding a new normal is possible. You can get out from underneath the burdens you feel. It’s completely feasible to feel confident in having enjoyable relationships. You can enjoy work and succeed in school again, too. All the things you want for yourself can be achieved. It’s not about finding some miracle cure as much as it is finding acceptance and some ways to ration your spoons. You don’t have to figure this out alone. We can help.

Nadya Clontz, LPC, specializes in helping people with chronic illness use their spoons wisely.

4411 Suwanee Dam Road, Suite 450
Suwanee, GA 30024

Got Questions?
Send a Message!