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Hello National Crew members

It’s been great getting to know all of you, who like me are new to CCIS. I also look forward to catching up with those who have been members for a while. Just remember that in between the times we catch up with you, you are welcome to get in touch if you need some advice or support.

One of the most rewarding things about this job is feeling the sense of community. Chronic illness, in its various forms, can be very isolating, so it’s great to know that you are not alone as you navigate your journey towards wellness.

It is wonderful to see people exchanging advice and information on Facebook. While we can connect you to some wonderful resources, it is hard to beat stories from lived experience.  If you haven’t been on our Facebook page yet, please check us out and feel free to share any ideas or tools that will help others. Every person is unique and some strategies work better for some than others but knowing what is available provides options.

I believe that you are the expert on your own life. Do not be afraid to speak up and play a key role in your care. Be open to the idea of using pain medication. There are a number of good prescription medications available to deal with your symptoms. If you are already taking medication and it does not agree with you, talk to your GP about changing to something that suits you better. It does not mean you have to rely on this forever, but it may help until your health improves.

Be protective of your own health! Many of you will feel under pressure from others and even from yourself to be more active and achieve more. Just because your illness isn’t visible to others, doesn’t mean it is not real. Tune into your body and listen to it when it tells you it needs to rest. Do not push through your fatigue or pain levels or you will crash and put your recovery back.

Stress has been shown to be a precursor and contributor to chronic illness so ask yourself what stress you are dealing with in your life. While we are unable to change many situations in our life, we are in control of how we react to these stressors. If we cannot change them, accept them or eliminate them, then we need to respond to them in a way that stops them harming us. Do some simple research about the negative effects of stress and apply some techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and gentle physical activity such as walking to lower stress levels. The internet is full of useful podcasts and videos to help you. If it is easier, then talk it out, either with a therapist or just a good listener who you trust.

Finally, while chronic illness will endure for life for many people, some people do make a complete recovery. Never give up hope and in the meantime be encouraged by the many effective ways to manage your symptoms for improved quality of life.

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