Lupus is a disease that you don’t hear much about until you are diagnosed with it or know someone who has the illness. It is a chronic condition that can affect any organ of the body. The symptoms vary depending on the person. The most common type of Lupus is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. From my experience with the disease, it’s unpredictable and you never know which part of the body it will attack. There is no cure, they can only treat the symptoms or flares of the disease. If you are suffering from this disease or know someone who is, here are some coping mechanisms that I use.
Before I get to the coping mechanisms that works for me, let me give you a little background. I was diagnosed almost twenty years ago. It has kept me on my toes ever since. What I mean by that is, something is always going on. It’s always a mystery on how my day will go. I never know if it’s going to be a productive day or another day spent in the bed. It’s hard to plan things because you don’t know when a flare up is going to happen. In the beginning, I was depressed and thought it was a death sentence, but it’s not. I decided to take control.
Here are some coping techniques that I use:
1. Get out of bed everyday.
A lot of Lupus sufferers have problems doing this. Sometimes the battle begins when you first wake up. If you are having one of those days and you manage to get out of bed, consider it a victory. Remember to rest in between tasks if you have to. This is not a race, so take your time.
Have a positive approach. Look at it from the prospective of….. I’m going to get through this flare. Have a motto to keep you in good spirits. I always say “God wouldn’t give me anything that I can’t handle.”
3. Don’t let Lupus control you.
You are in control. For years I always thought my Lupus was in control, but it’s not. You can still enjoy life. Make plans with family and friends. Get out more because you’ll be much happier if you do.
4. Sense of humor.
I do believe that laughter is the best medicine. A sense of humor helps. Sometimes I just have to laugh to keep from crying. Smiling helps, and it keeps me in a positive state of mind.
This was a hard one for me. Listen to your body. If you need to rest, then do so. You don’t want a flare up or to make a flare up worse. It will only cause more headaches down the road. View this time as me time and watch a movie or read a book. There are so many things you can do while resting. Your body will thank you later.
6. Diet and Exercise.
I know we’ve all heard it before. So I’ll spare you the details of how important it is to eat healthy and exercise as permitted by your doctor. I have to admit, I only eat right 80% of the time. The other 20% I enjoy the foods that I love. I do make sure that I eat green leafy vegetables as much as possible though and I take my vitamins daily. Exercising is important because it gets you up and active. My doctor told me I should walk fifteen minutes a day. He said if I had to split it up during the day that was okay as long as I was getting in fifteen minutes a day. If it’s a bad day, I have exercises that I can do sitting down. Again, talk with your doctor to see what works for you.
7. Good Day versus Bad Day
Just because you are having a good day, don’t try and do everything in that day. Pace yourself. I struggled with this one as well. I tried to get everything completed that I needed to do because I didn’t know when I was going to have another good day. Take it slow and rest in between tasks. You want more good days than bad.
These are what I use to cope with Lupus. Again, I know it affects people differently. I know the battle you face each day. Many of us put on a brave face for family and friends, but in the inside we are suffering silently. I want to say to anyone suffering from this disease, don’t feel like you are alone. I feel your pain and know what you are going through. I’m here for you and if you need someone to vent to or just to listen please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes it’s easier talking to someone who is going through the same experience.