10 Reasons To Be A Self-Care Advocate With Chronic Illness
“The Best Health Care Plan Is A Self Care Plan” This quote by Nina Leavins is especially true when it comes to living with chronic illness. Even more so when you have a condition like fibromyalgia that is poorly treated and misunderstood. Self-care is learned, purposeful and continuous. And it is the key to having a better quality of life as we live with chronic illness. In this post, I am going to give you 10 reasons why it is important to be a self-care advocate and be connected to the self-care movement.
One of the best ways to take care of your health when you have fibromyalgia is to take a proactive role in your own treatment. Research shows that people who participate in self-care manage their symptoms better. They suffer less pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue and have a better quality of life.
What Is Self-Care?
As I said in the beginning of this post self-care is learned, purposeful and continuous. We can learn ways to adapt to the changes that are taking place in our lives because of illness. We can learn ways to manage our illness effectively. We can learn to prioritize, plan, pace, and manage daily life. And we can learn a lot about ourselves in the process.
Self-care is purposeful. Self-care is defined as any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Most likely, you will have to make a number of lifestyle changes. Your self-care plan will depend on how your health problems affect you, your feelings, and your behaviors.
Self-care is continuous. Managing a chronic illness is a daily process and you may have to make adjustments from time to time. As life and the illness present new challenges, your self-care strategies will fluctuate and evolve.
10 Reasons Why It’s Important To Become Your Own Self-Care Advocate
When you live with chronic illness being a self-care advocate is an essential part of getting the care you need and deserve. You must arm yourself with the tools and skills necessary to feel comfortable about asserting yourself and communicating clearly about your health care needs. By being proactive and educated, you can impact the quality of your life and the health care you receive.
Self-advocacy doesn’t mean that you alone are responsible for your health. Advocacy also involves seeking additional support from others in the chronic illness community, including friends, family, and health care professionals.
Here are 10 reasons, both negative and positive, to be a self-care advocate:
- The health care system is not designed with the patient in mind and does little to empower patients to take charge of their conditions. That model works fine for acute care but it doesn’t work well for chronic illness.
- Fibromyalgia treatment is based on symptom relief. The problem with is that fibromyalgia has so many symptoms. Before you know it you’re on one medication after the next. And you don’t even know if they’re working because you’re taking so many different drugs.
- The drugs approved to treat fibromyalgia don’t work for most of us. In fact, they are not much better than sugar pills. Donna over at Fed Up With Fatigue breaks down the clinical trials that support this in her post Why Your Fibro Meds Aren’t Working.
- The Health Behavior News Service reports that Drugs to Treat Fibromyalgia Just as Likely to Harm as Help In fact, adverse drug reactions account for 700,000 emergency room visits and 120,000 hospitalizations a year in the U.S. The more medications you take, the more likely you are to have an issue.
- According to a study by John Hopkins University 250,000 thousand deaths a year are caused by mistakes made by the American health care system. Medical mistakes are the 3rd leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
- Your doctor can’t know everything. Hundreds of new treatment guidelines are published every year and hundreds of clinical studies are published every month. You can search treatment guidelines for your condition(s) at the AHRQ’s National Guideline Clearinghouse.
- People who participate in self-care manage symptoms better and report better health, reduced fatigue, and fewer limits on their activities.
- You are able to make better decisions about your health care.
- The ability to self-manage symptoms is empowering. It gives you a sense of control, makes you feel more positive, and improves your self-worth.
- Developing self-care skills will help you feel like you have choices within the limits that the unpredictability of illness imposes and contributes to a sense of living rather than just existing.
Join The Self-Care Movement
The Self-Care Movement is a community of people creating their own self-love, ultimately manifesting their own self-worth. The purpose of the self-care movement is to transform perspectives about chronic illness and celebrate the greatness in ordinary accomplishments that we face every day. The #SELFCAREMVMT is brought to you by Self Care Catalysts. They are committed to advocating for patients and consumers when it comes to healthcare decisions.
"My name is Sue. I have fibromyalgia and chronic migraines. I practice self-care everyday by following an anti-inflammatory diet, exercising, taking my recommended supplements and prioritizing my activities."