How Therapy can Provide Support Through Periods of Medical Adjustments

By Jessie Gonzalez

Sudden changes in our lives can be scary at times. Sometimes we have to make sudden changes to better ourselves but can these certain changes bring on symptoms of depression and anxiety? Maybe.

Each year we are recommended to schedule a visit to meet with our primary care provider for our annual checkups. During this visit our provider checks our vitals, our weight and we have an opportunity to discuss or share any recent symptoms or changes we are experiencing. Part of this visit also includes blood work that will provide us current levels of our A1C, cholesterol, vitamin D, red blood cell and white blood cell counts, iron, liver and more. We are also screened for various STI’s, cancer, mammograms, etc. As these exams are very important to monitor our health, they can also bring on anxiety while waiting for these results. We are waiting for a phone call from our medical provider or logging into our electronic medical systems (ie Mychart) daily waiting for a result to appear.

Each day many Americans are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness that they must adjust to. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness or STI can bring on symptoms of anxiety and depression as we are learning how to live with this condition. Changing our diets, being prescribed additional medications, being asked to attend multiple follow up appointments or what about being diagnosed with a condition that you are not full educated on? Acknowledging that you are depressed or anxious with this new information is the first step, now what can I do to support myself? Family and friends can absolutely provide us support but what about if we just want to talk to someone for an hour, once a week that can provide us skills to learn how to deal with our anxiety and depressive symptoms due to this new change in our lives. Connecting and finding a therapist that specializes in adjustment disorders would be a great place to start. A therapist that specializes in adjustment disorders around chronic illnesses can not only provide supportive counseling, they can help you develop skills to reduce your levels of anxiety and depression by implementing therapeutic interventions like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. The hour that you spend with your therapist on a weekly basis, will provide you with a safe space to talk about your feelings of nervousness but also a space to celebrate your accomplishments.

Connecting to a therapist does not mean that you are mandated to meet with them for the rest of your life, you can make that timeline decision as the patient/client. As your therapist, we can jointly work together and develop treatment goals to measure success. I want to be sure that our hour together, is one of the most important hours in your week.

With my 20+ year experience working in the hospital system providing health education to patients newly diagnosed with various chronic conditions, you will connect with someone who is not only educated on various chronic illnesses but is also trained in a variety of therapeutic models. Let’s take this journey together, let’s celebrate your successes and work on ways to lead you back to the road of happiness. You deserve this!