By THOMAS TECKMAN
LIMA — It’s called denial, and it’s ugly.
Those with chronic illnesses like diabetes or MS sometimes can fool themselves into pretending the health problem doesn’t exist — or even take the fatalistic view of “why bother?”
A seminar is coming to Lima to help shake off those urges.
Healthy U, a six-week program for anyone with an ongoing health condition, will begin May 4 at the Allen County Council on Aging. It’s presented by registered nurse Bev Driver, from the West Central Ohio Health Ministries, and Diane Bishop, from the Allen County Council on Aging.
The program was created by Stanford University after a five-year study of 1,000 people. The book “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” came out of that research.
The course emphasizes “self-management of chronic conditions, as opposed to not trying to manage your illness,” Bishop said.
The Stanford study found chronic disease causes most people to lose physical conditioning and to experience fatigue and emotional distress. Also, chronic diseases cause chronic symptoms that add to the cycle of helplessness. Learning to live a healthy life and to self-manage chronic illness will break that cycle, the seminar teaches.
The study shows a link between attitude and health, both mental and physical. Participants will be encouraged to exercise, eat healthful foods and engage in stress-reduction techniques, Bishop said.
Through the program, participants will learn to research their diseases and how to find help with them, communicate better within relationships and organize — from medications to treatment options.
Dealing with a chronic illness really takes a group effort, Bishop said.
“People are being encouraged to self-manage their diseases while they encourage each other,” she said.
What: Healthy U
When: 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays from May 4 to June 8
Where: Allen County Council on Aging, 215 N. Central Ave., Lima
Cost: $20 refundable deposit. Register at 419-228-5135 by May 3.