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Complex Chronic Disease (CCD) Self-Management

Information about living with Complex Chronic Diseases

We aim to make our education and resources available to people around British Columbia and across Canada.  Here you will find videos on various topics that may assist you in managing your chronic illness.

The following information is meant as a brief introduction to managing the many challenges that come with living with a complex chronic disease. It includes factsheets, links to external websites and other materials that may support your understanding and management of your diagnosis.
A core focus of the CCDP is to support the self-management of your condition to promote wellbeing and management of symptoms. 

The Family Support & Resource Centre carries books that can be accessed by any resident of BC. 

How to Borrow from the Family Support & Resource Centre:

1. Search the library and select the items you want to borrow.
2. Add items to your cart and check out.
3. Pick up from the library or they can mail them to you for free!

They have a CCDP book collection you can find here

Attention: Please check the  Family Support and Reource Centre page for upto date information on their opening hours and policies.

Contact Information

Family Support & Resource Centre
Phone: 604-875-3699 (voicemail checked daily)
Toll-free: 1-800-331-1533
Brain fog is a debilitating symptom of complex chronic disease and is part of the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS and FM. 
Brain fog can be described as the experience of mental fatigue that impacts a person’s daily function. More specifically patients report many deficits in cognitive activity inclusive of difficulties with memory, attention, information processing, word retrieval, foggy thinking, and feeling confused and disoriented.
Explore factors that impact brain fog and strategies to manage it:

Other resources:

(Bateman Horne Center presentation)
The relationship with a doctor or healthcare provider is a very personal one. It builds on communication and trust. 
Here are some things you can do to help build an effective partnership

Before your visit

  • Take a list of specific questions to your appointment, making sure to list the most important ones first.
  • Familiarize yourself with your medical history, so you can convey it concisely to your healthcare provider. Writing out a brief synopsis to give a new doctor can be helpful and save time.
  • Tracking your symptoms and concerns can be helpful to communicate with your provider.
  • List medications you are taking with their dosages. Tell your doctor about any medication changes.

During  your visit

  • Tape-record your visit (with consent from all present) or bring a pencil and notebook to take notes. You also may bring a trusted friend or relative to take notes for you.
  • Ask for clarification if you don't understand what you have been told or if you still have questions.
  • Ask for explanations of treatment goals and side effects.
  • Many specialists work closely with other team members. Ask if there is anyone else you should meet.
  • Let your doctor know if you are seeing other doctors or health care providers.
  • Share information about any recent medical tests.
  • Let your doctor know how much information you want to recieve and if you have religious or cultural beliefs that affect your treatment.
  • Stand up for yourself or have a friend or family member advocate for you if your concerns are not addressed. Balance assertiveness with friendliness and understanding.
Living with chronic illness can feel like a never-ending journey. Sharing your story and knowing that you are not alone can provide comfort and an empathetic understanding to those living with chronic illness. 


Pacing is a form of activity management. It is the ability to set your day at a speed that is right for you. This includes managing physical, cognitive and emotional activities. It is taking a balanced, steady approach to activity. Pacing can help to reduce the frequency or the severity of symptoms.

Pacing can help you:

  • Find your safe baseline for activities
  • Build consistency - avoid the push-crash cycle 
  • Maintain function or improve function in a sustainable way
  • Reduce crashing / flare-ups

Getting started with pacing:

What is Pacing

How to pace

Crash Management

A crash or a flare up is a common and often demoralizing part of chronic illness. Please find a fact sheet on crash management here. Further information can be found on the CFIDS website.  

Pain and the Nervous System



  • Explain Pain: (Revised and Updated, 2nd Edition); David S Butler, G Lorimer Moseley
  • The Pain Survival Guide; Dennis C. Turk and Frits Winter
  • Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Pain; Sandra M. LeFort, Lisa Webster, Kate Lorig, Halsted Holman, David Sobel, Diana Laurent, Virginia González, Marian Minor
  • Freedom from Pain: Discover Your Body's Power to Overcome Physical Pain; Peter A. LevineMaggie Phillips



Staying at work with the support of accomodations or returning  to work after a medical leave can feel overwhelming. Here some resources that may be helpful as you navigate this process.

Sleep Management

It is important to review your sleep concerns with your primary care provider to assess underlying causes and review medical interventions available. It is important to talk about sleep because disrupted or unrefreshing sleep can impact a lot of symptoms.

Sleep Hygiene

This is a series of healthy habits that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It includes reviewing your daytime and bedtime routines, stress management and relaxation techniques, and sleep schedule. 


  • The Sleep Foundation is a great resource that provides education on sleep conditions, support strategies and recommendations for sleep products, and links to articles on sleep topics.
  • Kelty’s Key Insomnia Course created by Vancouver Coastal Health. It is a resource that provides a good overview of insomnia, sleep hygiene practices, medications, sleep beliefs, the relaxation response, and the impacts your environment can have on sleep, along with some useful tracking tools and sleep audios. 
  • The Canadian Sleep Society has some general information on sleep, a helpful search tool for sleep centres across Canada, and some resources such as books and podcasts.
  • My sleepwell created by Dalhousie University provides strategies for sleep management that spans medications, the relaxation response, and the impacts of our thoughts on sleep. This website has suggestions for apps, and sleep tools.

Useful Links

This is a collection of useful websites and resources. 


24 hour crisis lines:

1-800-SUICIDE: 1-800-784-2433 

Mental Health Support: 310-6789

Vancouver Coastal Distress Line: 604-872-3311 

Sunshine Coast/Sea to Sky: 1-866-661-3311 

Seniors Distress Line: 604-872-1234 

Online Chat Service for Youth (Noon to 1am)

Online Chat Service for Adults (Noon to 1am)  



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