The Internet is Changing The Lives of People With Chronic Illness

What is a chronic illness?

Chronic illnesses are conditions that people live with that aren’t curable but are manageable over time. When we say “manageable,” it doesn’t mean that you’ll be okay every day, but it indicates that there are treatments that can alleviate some of the pain associated with your chronic condition. It isn’t easy to live with a chronic illness, but it can be managed, and one of the best things about the internet is that you can seek support from others who live with the same conditions. There are forums or communities on social media where you can talk about your challenges. The internet is a wealth of resources and has created communities, work opportunities, and increased access to healthcare for those with illnesses or disabilities.

Why community helps with chronic illness

Let’s say that you live with a diagnosis like Crohn’s disease, and you’re suffering from complications or symptoms that impact your ability to do things like go to work or school, but no one around you seems to understand. You might be homebound or close to it because of your IBD, but talking to people on the internet with the same issues can make you feel less alone. Maybe, you’re in a situation where you might have to get an ostomy, and you want to talk to someone who’s already been through it, or maybe, you’re on steroids and want to talk to someone who gets what it’s like being on steroids for autoimmune disease. When you have a community of people who face the same or similar issues, you’ll have someone that understands.

Invisible illnesses 

Some chronic illnesses aren’t visible, and that can be frustrating because you look like you’re functioning, but you’re not. Looking “fine” can be advantageous, but it also comes with a whole host of problems, most of which relate to the fact that since people can’t visibly see what you’re going through, they don’t grasp it. You might try to explain your illness or your symptoms tirelessly and find that people in your life still don’t understand. Living with a chronic illness that isn’t visible is something that you can talk to with your online community. You might not be able to show people your symptoms because they don’t present in an external way. Other people with invisible illnesses will be able to hear you out in a way that others won’t and will be able to commiserate with or comfort you through hard times. 

Chats

You can chat with people who have a chronic illness and talk about ways to cope or manage your symptoms. You might also be able to share resources. People in different parts of the world might know of resources that you haven’t come across, or people closer to your area might be able to recommend a specialist to go to, for example. You can use those resources to help yourself. Another interesting aspect of technology is the development of online therapy, which can be extremely helpful for those living with a chronic illness.

Online therapy can help
People with chronic illnesses can have unpredictable symptoms. They might not be able to leave the house every day, so seeking online therapy is a great way to get emotional support for your struggles in a way that’s accessible and feasible for you. Consider trying online therapy if you’re battling a chronic illness, and get the support that can help you live a better life with your illness from the privacy of your own home. BetterHelp is a popular online therapy site that aims to provide readily available mental health services.

About Author: Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Image Credit: Internet of Things via metamorworks/Shutterstock

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