Five stages of grief applied to Chronic Illness:
Denial Being newly diagnosed you can feel a range of feelings from relief, feel validated, worry, stress among others including shock and denial. We wonder how about the future prognosis and how we are to live with Fibromyalgia. As you accept the reality of the situation and start to ask yourself questions, you are unknowingly beginning to work towards the next stage. You are becoming stronger, as denial fades.
Anger or frustration is a necessary stage of the process. Try to understand this is natural and it will begin to dissipate as you start to come to terms with your diagnosis. We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it sometimes we need to let our anger out in a controlled way as part of the process or by using physical activity to release it. Talking to professionals in anger management might help you deal with this stage.
Bargaining Often we think 'Why me?' and think 'if we could change it we would give anything to do so'. This again is part of the process to learning to accept your diagnosis. In this stage you might question your faith or draw upon it to help you to understand the diagnosis.
Depression Feeling upset, episodes of low mood or depression* is common in the road to acceptance. Taking time to work at feeling mentally well helps you to be stronger to address your diagnosis and then learn to live with the physical symptoms you experience everyday. Looking after your mental health is equally important as your physical health and people shouldn't be ashamed to admit they need support to learn how to accept their diagnosis.
*If you need help due to feeling low or depressed do seek out help from your healthcare professionals, local support groups and also UK charities like the Samaritans samaritans.org/ or MIND mind.org.uk/
Acceptance Chronic illness is difficult for everyone who experiences it, however after time you can learn to adjust, find ways to deal with it and to ensure you look after your mental health & wellbeing too. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones or realising your life has to change due to your diagnosis and that letting go might be the only way to progress forward. We may start to reach out to others for more support, as we begin to live life differently and learn to cope with chronic illness.
Important to know that you and your family may go through these stages and as everybody has a different journey you could be in different stages than each other.
Interesting discussion Do you think we follow the road to acceptance only the once after diagnosis or do you think the cycle is ongoing as we react to changes in health or mental wellbeing due to chronic illness?
Look forward to reading your comments.
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