Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Chronic illness and resilience

Coping with infertility is a lot like tackling a chronic illness. Treatment can be taxing and time-consuming, and the final outcome is always uncertain. Many patients will crumble under the onslaught of the pressures and stress of failure; and of dealing with inquisitive relatives and "well-meaning" friends. Self esteem can take a beating, and the marriage can often go to pieces.
This is why it's so useful to learn constructive coping strategies. It's often hard to find information on these; and I usually tell my patients to read books about Resilience ( titles such as The Resilience Factor : 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles ; Resilience: Discovering a New Strength at Times of Stress ); Positive Psychology ( titles such as Learned Optimism : How to Change Your Mind and Your Life); to watch funny films; and read humourous comic strips. This is all basic stuff - but it helps when you need to live life one day at a time. Remember that adversity is the best teacher. Life has many lessons to teach - but most of only pay attention when we are faced with a crisis. The rest of the time, we are so caught up with the mundane business of performing our daily chores, that we lose sight of the big picture. Just as very complaint is a gift, your illness can be a great learning opportunity for you - if you gratefully accept the lessons it has to teach you.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:11 PM

    New to the computer - I seem to have lost, my last message. I just want to say, as one who is often feeling ill with a chronic condition - much of what I have read on your webpage, had me smiling:) Thankyou - we need more optomistic M.D.s and more, who are not afraid to tackle subjects such as dying etc. Wishing you the best of luck. foreverfriends1


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