Managing Emotions with a Chronic Illness

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Managing Emotions with a Chronic Illness

Mental and physical health are closely intertwined; it’s a subject we’ve written about before, and the benefits of exercise are a key component of certain therapy. However, it’s important to consider the inverse; if physical fitness can improve mental health, can physical conditions also worsen it?

Our friends at the Diabetes Council have written an excellent article on that connection, specifically as it relates to diabetes. 9.4% of Americans suffer from diabetes, with 1.5 million new cases diagnosed each year.

Author Bridget Montgomery has identified some of the associated negative emotions around diabetes; we think her insight can help people with other chronic diseases, too. Some of them include:


The stress of managing a physical condition like diabetes can feel like a full-time job; add in the other expectations of daily life and it’s easy to see where you could get overwhelmed.

Because stress can never be fully avoided, the key is to manage it when it comes. That management is built on a foundation of structure: regular appointments, scheduled medication times, and clear goals.


Low blood sugar in diabetics can cause both mental and physical fatigue. Both of them make it harder to live a normal life.

An interesting point by Montgomery is that this fatigue can also be caused by other conditions. Those who suffer chronic diseases must be careful to not dismiss all their symptoms as a single issue. Regular visits with a doctor or therapist can help identify hidden causes.


For some chronic disease sufferers, it can be tempting to just let the condition do its thing. Management can be so stressful that Montgomery compares it to having a small child. It can also manifest as a reluctance to improve your habits, which can further worsen a condition.

Negative emotions are natural; they are part of being human. What matters is that you’re capable of navigating them when they come up. For chronic disease sufferers it’s even more important: you need to be mentally strong to manage your condition effectively.

You can read the rest of the article here; we recommend it for anyone who is managing or loves someone managing a chronic illness. And if you need the mental boost to manage your physical condition, contact Azevedo Family Psychology today. Together, we can create a life worth celebrating!

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