Gain knowledge, and gain control.
To be an ambassador for your own health, it’s important that you take the time to learn about your long-term disease(es) and the healthcare options available to you. You don’t need to have any sort of formal scientific education to improve your understanding of your medical condition(s) and how they are treated, just a willingness to learn and someone to point you in the right direction. There are plenty of tools and resources available to help you get started on this journey of discovery and assist you along the way.
Information about your health can help you navigate the road ahead in many ways.
- You can go into your healthcare appointments as an active participant, prepared with important questions, which might lead your care in new directions.
- You will be able to better explain your health situation to family and friends.
- You may find that more information helps you to stop worrying about the unknown and find peace.
- Lastly, information empowers. By arming yourself with information, you can gain control over the decision that lie ahead.
Knowledge is important when it comes to long-term disease management and recovery. However, there is a tipping point when information hurts more than it helps. Too much or the wrong kind of information has the power to overwhelm and cause feelings of anxiety and depression, especially if you have been newly diagnosed with a long-term disease. Protect your mental and emotional health: if the amount or content of the information you are finding is causing you to become stressed, anxious, or depressed: step away. Take part in an activity that brings you joy and peace. Remember, you are the same person you were before your diagnosis; a diagnosis does not define you, nor will the information you find online shape who you become. Keeping a positive attitude and supporting your mental health is just as important – if not more so – than being informed on every aspect of your health.