Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness is never easy. The moment it happens, it can feel as though your life is completely turned upside down. Whether it’s diabetes, arthritis, or even certain types of cancer, it’s understandable that you’ll be dealing with various emotions all at once.
That being said, there are no “right” or “wrong” emotions to experience following such a diagnosis. Some people might feel scared, while others might be angry, and others still might feel guilty.
Even if you feel like you’re on a roller coaster of emotions, that’s perfectly natural. Regardless of how you feel, you do have control over how you handle your emotions and which steps you choose to take to move forward. There are many ways to deal with the diagnosis of a chronic illness and some are more beneficial than others.
One of the most common questions people have after being recently diagnosed is, how can I cope in a healthy, effective way?
Learn to Accept Your Diagnosis
Although you’ll likely receive your diagnosis from a medical professional, you might go through a phase of denial. It’s a natural part of the grief process, and it can happen to anyone. Even if you know you have an illness, you might still deny how it will impact your life. Unfortunately, that will likely only make things worse in the long run.
One of the best things you can do is accept that you have a chronic illness, and that it will change your life in some ways. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can start working on ways to cope with those changes.
Develop a Plan of Action
It’s okay to live in a little bit of shock, fear, and sadness for a short time. Yes, your life will change, and it’s natural to mourn the loss of the life you knew. After all, that’s all part of the grieving process.
Coping with your condition positively, though, means developing a plan of action. Once you have accepted the illness, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to fight it and continue to maintain your quality of life?
Having a strategy in mind to deal with your illness can give you peace of mind. It will also help others around you have a better understanding of what they can do to help.
Have a Support System
Although you may be the one with the diagnosis, you don’t have to go through this alone. You should have a support group that not only understands what you’re going through, but also includes people who can help to keep your life as stress-free as possible.
There may be times when your illness prevents you from doing something as simple as getting to the grocery store or running other errands. Having people that can do that will make a big difference. Plus, having someone to talk to in times when you’re feeling low can boost your mood.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is hiding away or isolating yourself from friends and family. Chances are, they want to help. However, they may not be sure what they should or shouldn’t do unless you’re willing to open up.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people in your life about your illness or you’re struggling with your diagnosis, therapy can help.
Feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment. Remember, you’re not alone, and you can get through this with the right coping techniques. Together, we can go over more of those techniques and how you can apply them to your everyday life.