Acceptance of and Living with COPD: Insights from AnsibleChat
During our June AnsibleChat peer support group discussion, patients shared tips and tricks for staying active despite having a pulmonary lung condition. Patients exchanged their personal experiences with COPD, emphasizing the significance of upholding a positive mindset, discovering a sense of purpose, and pursuing professional assistance for mental health concerns.
Here are some key insights gained during the conversation that can be helpful for those coping with COPD and other pulmonary conditions:
- Embracing the diagnosis with a positive mindset: Many participants agreed that maintaining a positive outlook on life is crucial when living with COPD. They discussed how their attitude towards the diagnosis has helped them overcome challenges and continue living fulfilled lives. As one of the participants emphasized, it's important mentally to think of COPD as a "condition" rather than a "disease." A positive outlook can be maintained by saying: "I don't like calling COPD a disease. It's a condition...I have a condition...and it requires extra help and extra time."
- Finding purpose in life: The participants stressed the importance of finding purpose in life as a way to stay motivated despite the limitations caused by COPD. Engaging in activities they enjoy contributes to their overall well-being and helps them feel more fulfilled: "My life is good... My chronic bronchitis doesn’t affect me as much when I take my medications and stay active with purpose... I find the more active I am, I am able to use less oxygen than I used to. Using my airway clearance devices also is of great help."
- Seeking medical help for mental health issues: Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are common among individuals with COPD. The participants highlighted the importance of seeking professional help when these issues arise. One participant shared his experience: "I had to seek the help of mental health because the depression got so bad. I was self-medicating with alcohol...My doctor put me on medication that has been very helpful." John encourages discussing proven benefits of self-calming techniques and mindfulness with your physician before resorting to medications.
- The benefits of exercise and rehab: Many participants shared their positive experiences with exercise and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. They reported feeling better physically and mentally after participating in these programs, emphasizing the importance of staying active despite having COPD: "Exercise is medicine... There is a very, very convincing body of evidence that long-term psychotropic medicines may not be as effective as non-pharmacologic treatment." Pulmonary Rehab has been proven to increase one’s Quality of Life, longevity, overall health, ability to do more, and it also enables your maintenance inhalers to actually work better!
- Finding tools to cope with limitations due to COPD: Participants have discussed various ways they have learned to cope with their condition, such as learning breathing techniques and gaining access to other valuable resources from Respiratory Therapists. Additionally, peer support groups like those offered by the AnsibleChat program provide space for individuals to share experiences, tips, and encouragement with one another.
The insights gained during this peer support group conversation show the importance of maintaining a positive mindset, finding purpose in life, and seeking professional help for anxiety or depression issues when living with COPD. Staying active through exercise and rehab programs is critical and can provide numerous benefits while living with respiratory conditions. By learning from each other's experiences, patients living with COPD can better navigate the challenges they face and continue leading fulfilling lives.
If you want to join our community of patients, we encourage you to join our next AnsibleChat happening on August 14th, 2023, where we will cover the importance of engaging in pulmonary rehab and learning techniques for better self-management of your lung condition.
Sign up below - we hope to see you there!