Today I will go into more detail about living with chronic disease and more specifically when it comes to dermatology. When you see me, you may wonder what disease this is : perioral dermatitis.
Living with a chronic disease
I gave you a video testimony but in summary, here is what happened to me when I learned that I had a chronic dermatological disease :
- mourning your previous state : mourning is essential in order to move forward. Indeed, when we receive a diagnosis which implies a chronic disease, we move from one place to another : from healthy subject to subject carrying x or y element. It takes time and can take a lot of emotion such as anger, frustration, sadness, etc.
- acceptance : once the mourning is over, we can move on to the acceptance stage. We kind of make our peace with the situation.
- (hyper) vigilance : when we are faced with a chronic illness, this leads to a state of vigilance or even hyper vigilance depending on the disease. We have to pay attention to a whole bunch of elements, parameters whereas before, we had more freedom. This usually causes a greater mental load, stress, etc.
- manage the look of others : when we see “disease”, we must learn to deal with the look of others. What the other shows us and what we interpret from the look of the other. It requires a big step back and especially patience. This situation can be all the more difficult when we suffer from invisible “diseases” or “handicaps”.
- create our new identity : when our health changes, our identity can change with it. Personally, I try not to define myself as just “sick”, in the sense that I am much more than a symptom or a disease. Finally, it is to answer the question: what place do I/can I give to this disease ?
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