Chronic Lung Disease: Your Emotional Well-Being

Woman wearing nasal cannula while outdoors walking with man.When you have chronic lung disease, it’s normal to have good days and bad days. Make sure to take care of yourself emotionally, as well as physically. You can take steps to feel more in control of your health and your situation. Remember that your healthcare team, family, and friends are here to help. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings and ask for support.

Staying in control

Chronic lung disease can affect your independence. This can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression. The following may help you feel more in control of your life:

  • Keep doing the things you enjoy. When you’re planning your day, make sure to include some activities that are just for fun.

  • Stay involved with friends and family. This may mean inviting people over to your house more often. Talk about your feelings with people close to you.

  • Learn as much as you can about your lung disease. The more you know, the more control you’ll have. Share what you learn with people close to you. Bring loved ones with you to the healthcare provider. And let them know how they can help with treatment.

  • Follow your treatment plan. Accept that even if you do everything you’re supposed to, you’ll still have ups and downs.

  • Take an active role in your treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions. New treatments are always being developed. If current treatment isn’t meeting your needs, other choices may be available.

Staying intimate with your partner

Even if you use oxygen, having chronic lung disease doesn’t mean you have to give up being intimate. Keep the following in mind:

  • You and your partner may both feel better if you communicate your feelings and concerns. Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider, too.

  • Sex may feel better if you wait until you’re rested. Use positions that require less energy, such as lying on your side or your back.

  • Prepare for sex as you would for exercise. Use your inhaler beforehand if one has been prescribed. Clear your lungs of mucus if needed. If you use oxygen, set the flow rate for activity.

  • It’s OK if you don’t feel like having sex. You can show your love in other ways. Try hugging, giving a backrub, or just telling your partner how much you care.

A note about depression

Having chronic lung disease doesn’t mean you have to feel bad all the time. Talk to your healthcare provider or a therapist if you feel worthless or helpless, or are thinking about suicide. These are warning signs of depression. Treatment can help you feel better. When depression is under control, your overall health may also improve.