Strong Community and Hope While Living with Chronic Illness

Strong Community and Hope While Living with Chronic Illness

Chronic illnesses are extremely common – 6 in 10 Americans live with at least one chronic condition! Living with a chronic illness can be challenging, but mindfulness, self-care, and a strong community can lessen the burden. We spoke with clinical support worker and founder of the Center for Chronic Illness Allison Fine to learn more about the benefits of community when facing a chronic diagnosis.

Watch this episode to learn more about the power of community in empowering hope

Allison is a clinical social worker supporting clients with both emotional and physical challenges in Seattle, WA. She founded the Center for Chronic Illness in 2016 to better meet the emotional needs of those impacted by ongoing health challenges.

Allison has also worked as a therapist in private practice specializing with this population for the past 15 years.

Self-care and mindfulness are crucial to emotional wellbeing

The conversation begins with Allison describing how she came to work in the intersection of disability and mental health. She explains how she began working with people with multiple sclerosis and began expanding to helping people with other chronic illnesses. When she saw similarities in mental health challenges among people with different illnesses, Allison decided to found the Center for Chronic Illness (CCI). Although it took some creativity, which she describes, she was able to set up CCI as a 501(c)(3).

Next, Allison discusses the ways in which people facing chronic illnesses can process their diagnoses. While there is an initial period of shock and mental processing, many people then realize that it would benefit them to connect with other people, including those who also have their illness.

After being diagnosed with a chronic illness, mindfulness and self-care are crucial. Allison explains that by practicing mindfulness, people living with chronic illnesses can experience inner calm and even less pain. Self-care can take many forms, including socializing with friends and walks in the park, but it is also helpful in finding serenity in the face of long-term challenges.

The conversation then turns to the needs of caretakers of people with chronic illnesses. Burnout is a common issue caretakers face, so Allison stresses the need for caretakers to take time for themselves so they can continue to support their loved ones with chronic illnesses.

This episode ends with Allison highlighting the main point she wants listeners to take away. She states that 60% of Americans will experience a chronic illness and that many of these conditions are invisible to casual observers. So, be kind to and support the people around you.

Listen to our conversation to find out how to process and adapt to chronic illness

To learn more, check out the Center for Chronic Illness’s official website here. You can also connect with them on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also find Allison Fine on LinkedIn!

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