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Volunteer Advocate
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Balancing Physical and Mental Health

People with CF spend a lot of time taking care of their bodies.  For many; nebulisers, inhalers, blood sugar monitoring, and insulin shots are part of a daily routine to manage their CF. While this daily routine helps to maintain physical health; we wanted to hear from our community about how they take care of their mental health as well.

Here’s what some of our community members had to say:

“Connecting and talking to people that I’m close with, and who have CF has always been a huge part of making sure my mental health is taken care of. It’s challenging finding people with CF who you can connect with, since we can’t be close to one another. Because CF is such an isolating disease, it’s so important to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing emotionally.  In BC we’ve started an online support group which is a great way to connect with others and find that sense of solidarity which, for me, is so validating. I’ve always found counselling therapeutic as well. Counsellors are trained to help you through darkness, guide you in personal growth and cope with adversity.” – Kim Wood

“Exercise tops my list in terms of my self-care.  The benefits of exercise are infinite to me.  Exercise benefits mood, promotes healthy sleep, has a positive impact on chronic illness, and it can aid with memory and cognitive skills.  I also meditate daily. While doing so, I focus very wholly on breathing.  Meditation helps me take a pause and see things more holistically, and appreciate things more deeply. I try to experience all of my emotions and allow myself to be vulnerable.  I offer positive self-talk to myself, and challenge myself daily to choose the perspective that best serves me.” – Alex McCombes

“After my lung transplant, I really began to struggle with my mental health. The new medications, becoming diabetic, and the physical limitations that remained, led to anxiety, depression and anger. This past year –after 2 years of searching, I found a psychotherapist who began working with me to enable me with tools to deal with my emotions and attitudes. It has been a great help. I would encourage anyone dealing with anxiety, PTSD, depression and suicidal thoughts to reach out to your clinic and speak to your social worker about getting some help.” – Rob Burtch

“A few years ago, after a tough hospital admission, and some eye-opening conversations with my medical team, I found myself slipping into a deep depression. This depression was a very real response to information that my mind was trying to process, yet was unable to. So, I put in the work. I found a therapist. I practiced gratitude twice a day, I read everything that Brene Brown has written, I expressed my emotions through journaling, and I learned to love myself again. Eventually, slowly but surely I came back to me – just a happier, more resilient, and stronger version.” – Stephanie Stavros

“I really appreciate that our clinic has recently taken a more pro-active approach to helping CF patients cope with mental health issues. They do a check-in at least once a year, and more often if it is deemed necessary. For me, talking about how I’m feeling and what is going on is the best way for me to maintain my mental health – this can be with trusted friends, family members, or a counselor. Making connections with others with CF also really helps me to keep things in perspective.” – Terra Stephenson