Physical and psychological wellbeing are interlinked. We all know that chronic stress and emotional turmoil impacts our physical wellbeing. We all know that sometimes we handle pain and illness better than at other times. We all know that sometimes we don't look after ourselves or even sabotage our health. These everyday patterns can become increasingly problematic in cases of serious, chronic and life-limiting illness.
Further, research supports, that when fighting any serious or chronic illness, including cancer, the better psychological shape you are in, the better chance you have. This means you are more likely to make the best of the challenges and opportunities you face.
The onset of serious illness or a life-limiting diagnosis can be devastating. There can be a profound and difficult period of adjustment for both the patient and their loved ones. There is initially much shock, fear, uncertainty and grief. The psychological impacts can be far-reaching for both the individual and significant others.
For some the impacts of serious illness can extend well beyond surgery or active treatment into recovery, even when life settles into a new normal. For instance the long term impacts of or chronic and potentially life-limiting illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer or HIV can include:
Chronic conditions and disabilities may have many unexpected or hidden implications. Research has shown that tension, stress and trauma also impacts on our bodies. If untreated this can lead to further physical health issues. Even conditions that are not externally visible and not life threatening can cause much distress. For instance, only a migraine or arthritis sufferer knows the full misery of such conditions. Possible impacts of chronic conditions include:
Therapy offers a supportive space to feel heard and understood and work through such issues. Exploring the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit has the potential to remedy imbalance. This can create more meaningful relationships with others, our environment, and with ourselves. Attending to ourselves holistically provides opportunity for improved health and wellbeing.