a rocky liver-shaped stone has a sparkling diamond being pushed from it's surface

Under Pressure: Coping with Hepatitis C

Pressure can be defined in a number of ways, but rarely is it described or felt in a positive way. The pressure we are all facing now is new to us; For some of us, it is the worst of times, while others among us are barely affected (or at least on the surface we may appear that way).
The pressure of living with a chronic condition, and hep C included, can be hard enough, but now we have something that is affecting all of us in one way or another.

The challenges of coping with hep C

How we deal with hep C is as varied as anything else, and like I have said again and again, we are all different. Some of us have greater or lesser capacity to withstand or manage pressure like we see now, or in our own past. Some more learned folks than me on the subject suggest that these periods of time, which can be traumatic, can be heaped on, and that the more trauma we experience, the more difficult things are for our day to day health. I have never thought that our mental or emotional health was very much removed from our physical health or well-being, so the effect is on our whole being wellness.

None of it is new-age stuff at all, although some have attached much more complex meaning, and perhaps that is worth investigating if you like. As I am fond of saying, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s six” - usually with a little nervous chuckle. That nervousness is resident in what it represents, as in the challenges I have personally confronted and far too often in multiples. I am not fishing for sympathy, or do I think my own situation is all that unique, as I have heard some version of the same sentiment many times.

Every person's struggles are different

In conversations with peers (people with lived experience) with hep C, I hear the same thing more often than not. All of us are living with some level of heightened stress, and for a mixed bag of reasons. Some are related to our family life, and some are connected to financial burdens, while others may be present because of hep C and some of the worst are stigma caused. Having talked a lot about stigma, it is not the focus here, but it sure can be a terrible pressure as many of us know. All these things and more have the capacity to make our day to day living a challenge, and there is no singular solution or silver bullet as some say.

Coping with life's stress

The power of positive thinking alone will not help in itself, or as that panacea or wonderful solution to all things. (If it were only that easy._ Some of us choose substances to manage the challenges, while others immerse themselves in physical fitness, and a list of other activities. One thing that has helped me is a mixture of coping mechanisms that include seeking help from friends, peers. and sometimes professional therapy. Chemistry, as in substances of all sorts helps some people and who are we to judge whether anyone among us should or should not, unless it is unsafe, and that is at its core, about reducing harms, or "harm reduction" as it is often called.

Whichever choice we make in how we deal with pressure/stress, it should be our choice. If healthy or unhealthy choices are made, they are still ours. I would hope that we all make the best choices for us, that is all I can say.

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