Living with chronic health conditions such as viral hepatitis can generate challenges in coping with work demands and engaging the healthcare system (which can be an intimidating process). These can be considerable sources of stress. Aside from managing your emotions, one aspect of resilience is developing problem-solving skills.
Here is one example of a problem-solving process:
- Identifying the cause and the extent of the problem.
- Breaking a large problem down into smaller parts.
- Taking a step back and asking if the problem is really that big. Will it matter in two weeks, two months, two years?
- Asking family and loved ones for advice.
- Setting small and realistic goals to overcome.
- Making regular progress towards achieving these goals.
By applying these methods, the challenges you face can seem more manageable and you can reduce stress and anxiety. Making plans to solve a problem and taking action can help you achieve a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence.
Consider how you deal with and overcome certain situations.
Mary told her GP that she has been living with hepatitis C for over 10 years now. On her next visit, Mary discovered that the GP had disclosed her condition to the other clinic staff and she was asked intrusive questions. Mary was angry and humiliated and is concerned she will suffer the same negative experience at other health practices.
What should Mary do?
She can identify the problems precisely and break them into two:
- The unprofessional attitude of the doctor
- Her fear of seeking future medical treatment
Then she can take a step back and analyse the problems: while her feelings of anger and hurt are justified, she can’t fix the doctor’s attitude. However, if she doesn’t find another doctor her health will suffer in the long term.
Mary must decide whether it is more important to her to avoid future health consequences or avoid any further possible hurtful experiences. She can spend a little time each day to explore her options, for example:
- Asking peer support groups of people living with hepatitis whether they have any doctor recommendations.
- Researching the health consequences of not seeing a doctor.
- Deciding whether she wants to lodge a complaint against the doctor.
Through this process, Mary demonstrates resilience as she moves past her justified feelings of hurt to engage in planning and problem solving.