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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.

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