Overcoming Anxiety and Navigating the Future With Axial Spondyloarthritis

If you've recently been diagnosed with axial spondyloarthritis (AxSpA) or another health condition, it's natural to have concerns about the future. I remember receiving my first two health diagnoses; it was a mixture of relief for finally having an answer and frustration as my symptoms slowly worsened. My life went from one where I felt entirely in control of my day-to-day to one where I needed to take everything day by day.

If you’re feeling this way, know that you’re not alone. Even though this journey may seem daunting, there are tangible actions that you can take to address the anxiety that can accompany a new diagnosis. In addition, I’ll provide strategies to help you navigate the future with confidence and resilience.

Facing the unknown

Receiving a diagnosis can be a life-altering moment. Feeling a whirlwind of emotions, including fear, sadness, and uncertainty about the future, is expected. Many of us often worry about how this condition will affect our daily life, career, relationships, and overall well-being.

Having received my first diagnosis in 2016, I can genuinely say that it significantly impacted my life in different ways. While it encouraged me to set healthy boundaries to protect my energy, it affected my social life as I couldn’t do what I used to do. As I began to prioritize isolation in those first few years after the diagnosis, I noticed a significant decline in my relationships and well-being.

However, it's essential to remember that we have the power to shape our future, despite the challenges that a diagnosis may bring. Even though I don’t want to dismiss the difficulties that can arise with a new diagnosis, there are fundamental strategies that we can implement to overcome the anxiety that may come.

6 Strategies for overcoming anxiety

1. Educate ourselves

One of the most effective ways to alleviate anxiety about our diagnosis is to become well-informed about the condition. Understanding the condition, its progression, and treatment options empowers us to make informed decisions about our care. Consulting reliable sources, attending patient education programs, and asking our healthcare team questions ensure that knowledge is our ally on this journey.

2. Build a support network

We don't have to face a new diagnosis alone. We can contact friends, family members, or support groups for emotional support. We can also connect with others who share our diagnosis, as they can offer insights, advice, and empathy based on their own experiences. Therefore, regarding our emotional well-being, a strong support network can make all the difference in our lives.

3. Develop a holistic wellness plan

The condition itself does not limit our future. Developing a holistic wellness plan can help us maintain physical and emotional balance. This plan can consider incorporating the following:

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can support us in improving mobility and reducing pain.
  • Exercise: Engage in low-impact activities like swimming, yoga, or tai chi to keep our body active and flexible.
  • Stress management: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness can help alleviate anxiety.
  • Balanced diet: A nutritious diet can support overall health and reduce inflammation.
  • Quality sleep: Prioritize restful sleep to manage pain and enhance overall well-being.

4. Set realistic goals

It's essential to set realistic goals for ourselves. While a new diagnosis may require adjustments to our life, it doesn't mean we can't pursue our passions and dreams. It’s important to break our goals into manageable steps and celebrate our achievements, no matter how small they may seem. This will boost our confidence and sense of control over our future.

5. Communicate with our healthcare team

Maintaining open and honest communication with our healthcare team is crucial. They can help tailor our treatment plan to meet our needs and address our concerns. Regular check-ins can also help us track our progress and make adjustments as necessary.

6. Monitor our mental health

Anxiety and depression are common among individuals living with chronic conditions. We mustn’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional if we're struggling emotionally. Therapy or counseling can provide coping strategies and emotional support to help us navigate the emotional aspects of our journey.

Thus a new diagnosis may bring uncertainty and anxiety about the future, but remember that we have the strength and resources to face this challenge head-on. By educating ourselves, building a support network, and adopting a holistic wellness approach, we can manage our condition and live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Our future is in our hands, and with the right strategies and support, we can thrive despite the challenges of a new diagnosis. Keep moving one step at a time, and never lose sight of your resilience and determination. Together, we can overcome the obstacles of a new diagnosis and embrace a brighter future.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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