Chronic illness refers to a group of illnesses that are permanent or last a long time. This page shares stories as well as a factsheet about managing a chronic illness.

Topic Videos

Somebody that'll never know. Gotye Parody

A short parody that depicts Kimbra consenting for organ donation. This decision is made easier for her as her and Goyte have already had this conversation.
You can register to be an organ donor here: http://bit.ly/Yh3lrv and then #havethechat with your family by sharing this film!

  • Author: Brooke Huuskes
  • Upload Date: 2013-04-16

2013 FilmLife entry ~ 'Somebody that I'll never know' by Brooke Huuskes

Stories on this Topic

Featured Story (image)

Coen - Advocating for organ donation

Coen is just 14, has CF and is awaiting a double lung transplant. Coen has faced his chronic illness face on and has made a massive impact into the number of people signed up to the Australian Donor Registry by jet skiing the Murray River. Wow what an inspiration.

Update: Coen received his double lung transplant and is now living life to the full. His donor is a hero.

  • Author: TINO Crew
  • Upload Date: 2012-01-23

Follow Coen's inspiring story at http://www.coenashton.com.au


Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

What is chronic illness?

Chronic illness refers to a group of illnesses that are permanent or last a long time. Examples of chronic illnesses include:

  • allergies
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • cancer
  • crohn's disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • haemophilia
  • coeliac disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • lupus
  • chronic fatigue syndrome

Each condition has a different course and different effects. It may be that the illness slowly gets worse over time, causes permanent changes to the body or it may finally go away. Chronic illness may effect your quality of life and management of the illness can minimise the effect it will have.

Living with a chronic illness

It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you are first diagnosed with a chronic condition. It may be the first time that you have had to think seriously about your health and about the future. Chronic illnesses may also require changes to your lifestyle by:

  • introducing regular medication and/or monitoring of your body
  • changes to your diet
  • managing your alcohol use

There may also be the long-term impact of the illness to consider. It can be a big adjustment to make.

Living with a chronic illness can be frustrating, monotonous, stressful and depressing. It is not unusual to be frustrated by your illness and want to ignore it or rebel against it. If you are feeling this way it may be helpful to speak to your local doctor, a community health worker, counsellor or nurse. For more info about people you can talk to, see the finding help section.

Living with a chronic illness may make you much more knowledgeable about how your body works and give you a renewed perspective on life.

Check out a great blog series right here on Tune In Not Out written by 21year old Bethwyn who lives with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, through the series she shares great insight into discovering what your illness illness through to finsing help and living with the illness.

Managing your chronic illness

Learn as much as you can about it - get all the facts!

Knowing information about the condition yourself may make you feel more comfortable and in control. One way of doing this is by becoming involved with an organisation that specialises in your illness. That can give you the opportunity to keep in touch with what's new with the illness. Your local doctor should be able to tell you the name of the relevant organisation for you.

Find good supports

Friends and family can be valuable sources of support. Other good avenues for support may be medical specialists, your local doctor, counsellor or psychologist or another person with the illness. It may be helpful talking to someone who:

  • Is knowledgeable about your illness
  • Is approachable and you can speak openly with about all the different aspects of it when necessary, and
  • Is up to date with the requirements for managing your condition and is able to refer you to appropriate people and resources when necessary.

Ensuring you get the best support

It is likely that you will be seeing a medical specialist who will oversee the management of your illness. Even if your specialist is not the main person you call on for support and information, it can be helpful to have a doctor who:

  • you can be honest with
  • you trust
  • you feel understands you

Check out the finding help for more information on finding the best support for you.

Speaking to someone with your illness

When diagnosed with a chronic illness you may feel different from other people. This can be really scary and frustrating. Speaking to people who have the same illness may help reduce this feeling of isolation. Organisations who specialise in your illness should be able to put you in touch with people with your illness.

Helping out within the organisation could also lead to you hanging out with people with your illness.

Image Acknowledgment

Walking the Line – Urban and Rural  for a Cause by Angelina’s under creative commons licence

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