3 Ways I Cope With Anxiety Due to the Unpredictability of My Illness

Today marked the third week of this new semester at my university. I’ve always loved school, but this semester I was anxious about. Last semester I added gastroparesis to my list of chronic illnesses. Due to how sick I became I did not end up doing well last semester. The uncertainty of not knowing what will happen this semester has caused me some anxiety. These are the steps I’ve taken to help relieve some of that anxiety.

1. Acknowledge I may get sick, but that doesn’t mean it will turn out like last semester.

Last semester I was extremely sick with gastroparesis and it took almost two full months before my doctors figured out what was wrong with me and we started treating it. During that time I lost a ton of weight, had no energy and the only medication that allowed me to eat anything also sedated me. It was a losing battle. Now that we know what I have we also know what treatment options are available. Even if I have a flare or something, it likely won’t be as bad as last semester.

2. Live in the moment. 

I’ve been trying to stay in the here and now. Instead of worrying about what may or may not happen in the future, I choose to focus on what I can do in the present. Today I was able to walk to campus and spend time at my church. Tomorrow I will go to my classes and then to a doctor appointment. I am able to do these things right now. I don’t want to waste that by stressing myself out over my inability to predict the future.

3. Get ahead on assignments. 

Just because I don’t know whether or not my illnesses will interfere with my schooling this semester doesn’t mean I can’t be prepared for the possibility. One thing I’ve chosen to make a priority at the beginning of this semester is getting ahead on the assignments I have access to. Not only will this cut down on stress as due dates draw nearer, but if my health goes downhill then I won’t have as much to do.

When you live with chronic illnesses life can be unpredictable and that can cause anxiety, but I don’t have to live in that constant state of “what-if.” These three steps help me to enjoy the life I have, unpredictable as it may be.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty Image by berdsigns

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Gastroparesis

watercolor illustration of a woman with short dark wavy hair

My Body Is a Wonderland: Learning to Advocate for Myself While Battling Chronic Illness

When I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, my gastroenterologist told me I may never get better and recommended that I take a medication to help my stomach function. The first recommendation was an antibiotic with every meal. I didn’t want to do this, so she then recommended taking metoclopramide, a medication that hospitalized my maternal grandmother [...]
Two young people on a date, the woman looking at the man unsure.

4 Types of People You'll Meet When You Date While Chronically Ill

There are never ending questions you ask yourself while dating with a chronic illness. I’ve found myself Googling, “When do I tell the person I’m dating I’m sick?” I’ve also been asking myself questions such as: “When do I disclose these things?” “Will they cope?” “What if I get hurt?” Love is hard, regardless of [...]
woman sitting on the window ledge next to a christmas tree

Why I Won't Be Setting Health Expectations on New Year's Eve

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we are constantly bombarded with the phrase “New Year, New You.” It’s a classic saying, but one with very little merit. We all deep down know there’s not huge leap between December and January. Things don’t suddenly change or improve, but there’s this great [...]
woman holding sparkler

Why I Resolve Not to Make Resolutions With Chronic Illness

I have never felt obligated to make New Year’s resolutions just because “everyone” does. In fact, I shy away from such pledges because I do not like the nature of set-in-stone pronouncements one feels compelled to make and keep. I have always found this to be anxiety-producing, but especially so since being diagnosed with gastroparesis. [...]