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Foggy Lake

Chronic Illness Therapy

Are You Struggling with Chronic Illness?

To say that chronic illness can be a lot to manage on your own in an understatement. You may be dealing with chronic symptoms that make it difficult to manage daily tasks and also not have clear answers about what exactly causes your symptoms. Or maybe you have been diagnosed with something (or a few conditions) but the invalidation that you received along the way has contributed its own trauma to your system. On top on that, you may have medical trauma from invasive procedures or painful experiences related to your health and the functioning of your body. 

Chronic Illness is More Common Than It May Seem

As globalization increases, so too does stress and isolation. We also face a number of environmental stressors that weren't around or weren't as prevalent a few hundred hears ago. Rates of Anxiety, Depression, and suicide are on the rise. As these rates increase, health issues increase as well because physical and mental health are interconnected. Current societal messages that favor productivity at all costs make it difficult for anyone to keep up, and certainly for anyone who deals with a chronic illness. This intense cultural emphasis on "doing stuff" often contributes to the idea that if we aren't feeling our best, we have to hide it and just struggle through each day so that we can feel like productive members of society.

How Does Therapy Help Those With Chronic Illness?

As physical and mental health are intricately connected, working from both a physical and a mental/emotional perspective can be extremely helpful. Many people with chronic illness report that symptoms worsen with stress and that symptoms can even create stress and anxiety. Therapy can help you work through the specifics around what comes up for you in relation to your condition. Of course your symptoms are real and cause real discomfort and pain, and if your nervous system responds by flooding your body with cortisol and adrenaline each time your symptoms get a bit worse, it could be really beneficial to work on soothing your nervous system so your body doesn't have to work harder than it already does when symptoms show up or get worse. Chronic illness can also be profoundly lonely. You might not have an official diagnosis, and you might find yourself second guessing or minimizing your experience, and constantly searching for answers. Therapy can help you find support and connection during an experience that can feel scary, confusing, frustrating, and isolating. It's also common that people with chronic illness start to feel pretty negatively about their bodies because they seem to betray them with a barrage of symptoms. Therapy can help you work through the pain and frustration of chronic illness so that you can have a compassionate connection with your experience and body.

Do You Think It's All In My Head?

Absolutely not. Chronic illness is real. Symptoms and syndromes are real. Trauma, stress, and anxiety levels can play a role in the formation and perpetuation of illnesses. At the same time, bacteria, fungi, viruses, microbiome imbalances, etc are all real and can have a profound impact on physical and mental health. Bodies are complicated. 

How Will You Help Me?

What our sessions will look like will depend on what you want to get out of therapy. You are the director, I am the guide. Here are a few options: We might explore ways to manage anxiety and fear around symptoms, and/or reduce stress. We could use EMDR, parts work, and mindfulness based grounding practices to help regulate your nervous system. We can process the very trauma of having a chronic illness if that fits your experience. Of course we can also address earlier trauma if that is there as well. I'm also available to use creative expression tools with art and writing to help fully express your experience. Finding catharsis with words and art can do a lot for reclaiming parts that may feel lost in the process of chronic illness. There are lots of options. We can discuss what feels best for you given your specific experience and goals. 

Healing is Possible

Living with chronic Illness can feel like living as a ghost of the person you used to be. There is a way out of the isolation, anxiety spirals, and loneliness. Reach out to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation to talk about your specific situation and how you can benefit from therapy.

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