Chronic: Do You Self-Discriminate? 

Self-discrimination is a mark or stain of shame. Self-discrimination can be destructive and detrimental to your mindset. Self-discrimination can hinder your healing process when diagnosed with a chronic condition.

By Cindy Pivacic.


It’s not only your diagnosis

Do not allow your condition to define you. It is not only about your diagnosis. If we let it control who we are as a human, we will not thrive. Internal discrimination does the most damage. You did not ask for this condition, so you should not feel like you are less than others. If you do this, you are allowing society to dictate your self-worth and dignity.

Disclose for yourself

When I was diagnosed with my first chronic condition, I withheld disclosure for six years. I feared rejection and discrimination. Once I was diagnosed with my second chronic condition, I was almost pleased with the diagnosis as it would mask my original health condition. I know now that it is unacceptable for my wellbeing. I urge others to disclose to at least one person to get the support they need. By doing this, you also open yourself up to healing.

Be the change 

Some people may accept the self-discrimination and let it affect them in an unhealthy way, while some may question and go against the stigma. People who settle for self-discrimination will suffer and end up angry with life and themselves. Stand up for your rights. Be the change by owning your condition and educating the unenlightened.

Set goals 

People who set goals for themselves despite their illness will most likely have a positive future. They are more energetic and optimistic about the success of their treatment:

  • Focus on your daily gains, whether exercise, healthier eating, body weight monitoring, and proper rest. These are manageable goals. 
  • Tell yourself all the positive things you have going for you. If you are grateful for something, it can help soothe the negative voices in your head. 
  • Laugh at yourself! I have come so far that I have no tolerance for negativity in my life. 

Avoid falling into negative thought patterns

It is easy to fall into a negative thought pattern when you are aching in some form or another. When that happens, think of ONE positive thing that can snap you out of it. Be aware of how you talk and think to yourself. Do not allow others to use offensive terminologies about your health. You can gently correct them, and by doing so, you will also give yourself a positive pep talk. Challenge those thoughts. Learn to be comfortable with who you are and not what is happening to your body. You are more than your illness. Practice gratitude and write down daily what you are grateful for in a journal. This practice reduces stress. Be open to humour and permit yourself to laugh even if you’re not feeling humorous. Start by watching some funnies, or force the laughter as this can improve your mood. Your mood won’t change overnight. With practice, you will approach life with a more positive attitude.

Positive mantras

One of the many things I think and say, out loud, to myself is, ‘you are STILL able to breathe.’ I start there and add to my repertoire of positive mantras. If you are feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts, get medical assistance or a referral. 

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 1 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV. 

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.

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