IPF Today Blog Review

It’s no secret that a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, can lead to a lot of STRESS.

Of course, what is not good for chronic illnesses like IPF?

You got it! STRESS!

stress margarita stressed out need a drink stressing
[Source: giphy.com]
And it does take a while to adjust to the reality of IPF.

You can’t do the things you used to do, your body requires more TLC, and people might treat you differently. It’s a lot to take in, and with IPF, it often happens really quickly.

There’s a natural progression to get from that point of diagnosis to the point of fully adjusting to this new status quo. However, theses steps are not rigid like a staircase. Sometimes these steps might overlap, sometimes you bounce around between them, and sometimes, even though you’ve finally adjusted to your new status quo, some of these feelings might creep back in during a low moment.

dog snow stairs
But no matter how difficult or slippery it is to deal with the steps, red shoes help EVERYTHING. [Source: giphy.com]
So we’re here to tell you that it’s OK and it’s perfectly normal! By understanding that these are healthy and normal steps to take as you make your way through this unfamiliar territory, we hope it’ll offer some clarity and remove some of the emotional stress from this new burden.

5 Steps to Adjusting to IPF

1- Denial

It’s natural to want to bury your head in the sand and pretend that all of this isn’t happening to you.  It’s easier to believe that the doctor interpreted the tests wrong, or got them mixed up with someone else’s.

IPF, who? Source: Pixabay.com

However, you have to be careful that even though it might seem easier to ignore everything, maintaining your health is important. You should still try to follow your doctor’s instructions, even if you are a bit skeptical. Think about it this way: If your healthcare professional’s instructions don’t help, it might prove you’re right, right?

2- Anger

You’ve done everything right, you’ve taken care of your health, and now all of sudden you get saddled with IPF? Where is the justice in that?!

And to make matters worse, your friends and family either ignore the issue, which pisses you off, or they’re constantly asking you about it, which also pisses you off.

It’s natural to feel angry about an IPF diagnosis. Feel the feelings. But try to find ways to spend that anger constructively vs. destructively.

The danger of this phase is that it can turn some people away who cannot handle aggression and negativity. One way to help mitigate this is by talking to a therapist. You’ll have an outlet for your fear and anger, and they can offer some helpful ways to manage those emotions.

3- Depression

This step often comes when the weight of the disease finally hits you. This is the time of tears and thoughts of giving up. For some people, this can escalate into situational depression, and over time self-destructive behaviors could develop. Again, a great resource is a therapist who can give you the 1-1 support you need.

Image result for depression help
Source: YouTube

4- Bargaining

This is the last-ditch effort to avoid the reality of the situation. Maybe if you promise some higher power that you’ll do X,Y,Z, they’ll get rid of this illness for you. Or maybe you try to make deals with IPF itself. If you do everything your doctor tells you to do, maybe the illness will make a quick retreat and you won’t have to worry about it ever again.

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If I’m good and avoid donuts, then my IPF will go away, right? Source: YouTube

Unfortunately, that’s not quite how the world works. And it oftentimes feels like your illness has a mind of it’s own. So the best course of action is to work with your doctor to find the best way forward.

5- Acceptance

The long coveted step of acceptance! At this point you’ve realized that the best way to handle IPF is understanding it and being committed to living the best life possible with it. With this enlightenment, you can put your best foot forward knowing you are doing everything you can to improve your life.

So no matter what twists and turns your path to accepting and adjusting to life with IPF takes, remember that there is support along the journey.

Farrah Fontaine

Farrah Fontaine

As a child, Farrah Fontaine always knew she wasn't normal. Part of her family descends from the ancient Silk Road, which made her stand out in the Great White North. That's why she wants to give voice to the voiceless so they know they're not alone.

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