Long term health conditions

Advice to other young people with a long-term condition

We asked young people to give other young people living with a long-term condition advice about how to make things better for those living with a long-term illness. Here is what they have to say:

Managing your condition

  • Keep positive even when at times it's difficult.
  • You have to learn to fight the pain. Be strong.
  • Your long-term condition doesn't have to take over your life. You have to control it. It's part of your life, it is not you.
  • If you have asthma carry your inhaler with you at all times.
  • If you have arthritis and have been advised  to do exercise keep doing it, even if it hurts, because you'll see the benefits and feel better for it.
  • Young people with cystic fibrosis need to make sure that they get their priorities right and know their own limits.
  • If you are feeling run down then stop and listen to your body.
  • Remember everybody is different and reacts differently to pain and treatment.
  • Just because you have sickle cell doesn't mean that you aren't normal. Sometimes it's good to be different. 
  • Try to find a hobby to do like playing card or computer games. It helps when you are feeling rough.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Make sure that you take your medication whatever your condition.
  • Follow your doctor's advice, but if you disagree tell them. They will listen.
  • If you feel angry or frustrated you have a right to be but don't keep those feeling inside you. Punching a pillow or a good cry does help.
  • Don't feel that you have to live up to the expectations of others whether family or doctors. Trust yourself.
  • To young people with muscular dystrophy: you have to have courage and never give up. Don't be scared.
  • Epilepsy will always be part of your life and it's not going to go away, but it's not who you are.
  • If you have ME/CFS do what your body is asking you and have plenty of rest. 
  • Good communication with doctors is important. If you don't understand something, ask.
  • Take advantage of all the facilities and people who are there to help you live with your condition.

Other young people and organisations can help too

  • Remember that you are not alone and that there are many other young people that have the same long-term condition. 
  • Talk to other young people with the same condition. It helps.
  • Get in touch with charity organisations and support groups. They can give information and support.
  • It is important to tell family and friends what they should do if you are not feeling well.
  • When you are feeling down and depressed, talk to someone; a family member or a friend. If you don't feel like talking to them write your feelings down and give the piece of paper to them.
  • A long-term condition can make you closer to your family and tell you who your real friends are.
  • Parents should try to not to be overprotective. Teenagers need space to breathe.

Last reviewed July 2017.

Last updated April 2010.

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