When a person has a rare disease, they often feel isolated, confused, afraid, and hopeless. Living with a chronic medical condition that no one around you has ever heard of let alone understands is a challenge on many levels. With rare diseases especially, even health care professionals often don’t understand the disease well, which can add to your confusion and fear. Combine that with the challenges and isolation of COVID-19 confinement, and you may find you’re wading knee deep in serious hot water with mental health issues.
Those who care for someone who is diagnosed with a chronic, debilitating, and mysterious disease can also be devastated. Often you must sacrifice your own goals and dreams in order to attend to the needs of your loved one. Depression is common in caregivers who often suffer in silence, unwilling to reveal their own negative feelings.
Connecting with a support group can be a tremendous help, however. Such groups can be an important source of both emotional encouragement and practical advice. Benefits can include:
- Meeting and making friends with other people who live with the same rare disease and similar experiences
- Learning about the disease and how it is treated
- Being able to talk honestly about your disease and your feelings about it with others who “get it”
- Learning how others cope with the challenges of the disease
- Developing hope and a sense of empowerment that you can make it through the challenges
Formal patient support organizations often expand their reach to include advocating to improve healthcare for other rare disease patients, supporting scientific research, and providing financial assistance to members.
CSI Pharmacy wants our patients to thrive, despite their health challenges. That’s why we connect with a number of groups that support the patient communities we serve. These are all nonprofit organizations, and CSI Pharmacy supports them financially so they can support our patients and caregivers. We encourage our patients to reach out to one or more of the following groups, especially at this time of uncertainty during the COVID lockdown:
- Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA)
- Myasthenia Gravis Hope Foundation
- The Myositis Association (TMA)
- Cure Juvenile Myositis Foundation (Cure JM)
- Myositis Support and Understanding (MSU)
- International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation (IPPF)
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome/Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (GBS/CIDP) Foundation International