5 Reasons You Should Join a Chronic Illness Support Group

dis-5The effects of chronic disease on a patient, their family and community can be quite devastating. The reason for this is that suffering from it is viewed by most people as a disruption to everyday living. Patients must always be aware of their condition by making use of services in the health industry. Simultaneously, they are always reminded to follow often complex medications rigidly. Also, they should keep an eye out for any potential related issues or side effects that may undoubtedly arise. It is safe to say that having a chronic ailment can end up affecting the mental, physical, psychological, emotional and financial well-being of a patient. Sometimes new diseases are added to the existing one if it is not well-managed.

Seeing how problematic chronic disorders can be, it would be insane to think one can battle it alone. Support groups come to help in these cases. A support group is a gathering of people dealing with a common health issue or interest. Members of such groups often come together to share their experiences and offer advice to one another. A highly trained facilitator such as a nurse, psychologist or medical staff often directs such groups. In other cases, members run the association themselves. Support groups could meet in person, online or by telephone. As you would soon come to see, the services offered by these organizations can help you cope better with your illness and give you an enhanced self of independence.

At this point, you now have an inkling of what these groups are and what they do. In this article, we shall go further in listing and highlighting reasons why it is beneficial to be a part of them.

Curb Isolation: You could sometimes feel that you are all alone in your crises and that no one understands. While these feelings may be valid, they are not right. Being a member of a support group puts you in contact with other sufferers who are going through the same thing. Interacting with them can be a source of comfort and a huge relief. Support groups connect you with people who are on the same journey as you. Knowing that there are other individuals in the world like you can leave you feeling less lonely and isolated.

Understand your Illness Better: There is a universal maxim that what you do not know can kill you. This saying is apparent when true managing chronic diseases. If you have a full knowledge of your ailment, you are in a vantage position to handle it well. Interacting with members of your support group can help you see the sickness in a new light. The communications you have with others gives you a clearer understanding of what you are fighting. It helps you prepare adequately for seasons of crises and the different stages of the disease progression. Since you are better informed about the illness and its symptoms, you get to be at an advantage. It makes you know what to expect and how to cope with whatever that comes your way.

To Develop New Skills: As a member of a group you are better equipped to face your illness. Support groups as a whole aid you in improving your coping skills. You can get assistance in understanding the disease and how to manage it effectively. Using the stories of other survivors, you have access to tools and resources that can help you improve your problem-solving abilities. You also develop skills in the area of relating to other people. Most groups practice and encourage open communication among participants. You could even find yourself doing counseling and doling out advice to other members at some point. The knowledge you have gathered could put you in good stead to be a source of comfort to others during their difficult times.

Gain Useful Information: Support groups are a bank of information and resources on every aspect of the disease ailing you. As a participant, you get access to these tools and much more at no major cost to you.  The chances are that you might even stumble on new information you never knew you needed. When you are going through a crisis, other members could offer hands-on advice on the things they did to surmount it. And in a world like ours where information is essential, such tips could be valuable and life-saving. Another advantage is that you are kept up-to-speed with the latest happenings and innovations in the sphere of the medical industry. You are also made aware of available treatment options you may not have explored or considered.

Create New Friendship: Going on a journey with a friend makes the journey easier and lighter. Support groups are a meeting point for people from backgrounds different from yours. You have the opportunity to learn, interact and make friends with them. As a participant, you can gain a whole new circle of friends in addition to the ones you have. Your group can be a place to discuss, laugh and cry about the experiences of living with a chronic illness. And you can be assured that you will be surrounded by people who will do the same with you. You get to share connections and feelings of closeness with people who were total strangers before now. And the lasting friendships that arise from this emotional bond have the capacity to last for a lifetime.

Conclusion

In this time and age where information is available at the click of your mouse, going through a crisis alone should be a thing of the past. The power of the community is leveraged in these groups to ensure that you come out stronger. A criterion for adopting a group is that you feel secure and free to interact with others without feelings of being judged. If you have found an association that meets these conditions, go ahead and take advantage of the goodwill they provide.

Photo Credit: Strokeassociation