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How to Cope When You Receive a Difficult Diagnosis

When you are first diagnosed with a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, you may feel devastated. You are very likely to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of it as well. You are going to be filled with so many emotions. If this has suddenly come at you out of the blue, it can be even more heartbreaking. For some of us, the diagnosis could even be somewhat of a relief as we have been struggling with some unnamed illness for so long. In these cases, a diagnosis may be the first step to a recovery long in waiting. It doesn’t matter who you are or what circumstances you are in, our health is so important to our quality of life. A long-term illness will feel cruel and unfair, and it will seem as if a rug has been pulled out from beneath our feet. When you first discover you are ill, then it is important not to despair. You are not completely powerless, and even if the condition has been labeled in the worse possible way, you still have to consider the life you have left. And in some cases, even the worse of all diagnoses are not without hope. To help you deal with a distressing health diagnosis, here are a few things to think about:

Allow Yourself Some Time

You are going to need some time out when you first discover the news. Perhaps it is wise to have some time off work. If you live in a busy household, then it may be prudent to have a few days away o your own to get over the initial shock of it. There are many different and complex emotional responses you may be feeling from anger and frustration where you are constantly asking why me? Or seeing if karma has come back to bite you for some reason. Thin ign about our own mortality is not easy. We do not know what is on the other side, and having your potential death staring at you in the mirror, so to speak, can be very scary for some. Even more so if you are nowhere near ready for it. There may be a long road ahead of you, and there will be the worry about the cost of healthcare. Not just in terms of money but the emotional side of it too. What kind of strain is this going to put on your family? Maybe you are the main breadwinner, and you are going to have to give up work. You will go through a grieving process as you adjust to your new life with the illness. Some of you may even be guilty. Guilty that your family is going to have to go through this with you. You may even feel like running away. But this is never the answer. Your family will suffer more as a result of this. Denial is another common response. You may be hunting about for alternative places for a separate diagnosis, just in case they are wrong. You will feel isolated and alone too. Your identity itself will have changed. You are no longer you; you are a person with a medical condition. You may be worried that people will only pity you from now on, as you may pity yourself. As you can see, there is a lot to consider. So, you will need alone time to adjust and level out your emotions in peace. 

Do Your Own Research

Until something actually affects us directly. It is surprising how much we don’t know. You may think you know a lot about cancer, but do you? It is important you educate yourself on your condition. The more you know, the more empowered you will feel. Read personal stories of other people with the same condition to understand better what you have coming. This can help you create mitigations, like moving home if you need to. It is important that you search for reputable sources of information too. A lot of data out there may be wholly scaremongering and not a true reflection of your conditions at all. Perhaps you could ask your doctor to recommend websites to go to or books to purchase for honest information that gives a real and true reflection of the condition. The more you know, the better you will understand your doctor. You will be able to ask the right questions and discuss treatments in depth. You will find out what the real pros and cons are. As you research, it may be an idea to make notes and write questions to ask your doctor when you next see them. 

Support Network

If ever there was ever a time to get rid of that toxic friend k it is now. You need the minimal amount of stress possible. You may initially feel like hiding the news from everyone, especially people who are going to be very hurt and scared by it. If you hide the news, no one else has to suffer. Unfortunately, this is not a great way to live your life. You are going to be struggling internally, and you will feel even more isolated by doing this. Also, if things do take a turn for the worse, your friends and family are going to have less time to adjust and get over the shock. You need to reach out to people. They will understand why you are acting in a certain way and have more sympathy for you. You could also join community groups online or seek help in the local community. Whatever you are going through, there will be a thousand other people who understand and can help. They may be able to suggest diets and exercises that may help. You can speak to a live person about the specific disease or condition you have. The more people you can find to understand and help you through, the more connected you will feel. You need a support network, and sometimes strangers offer the best possible support out there.




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About Us

Hi friend!

I’m Marian Mitchell, Health Coach, Chronic Illness Warrior, Mom, and Food Lover. I help you navigate the food and lifestyle side of Chronic Disease Management with coaching, meal plans, recipes, podcast, and this blog. You can thrive without eating the same 4 things every day. I’m here to show you how.

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