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5 Strategies for Coping with a Life-Changing Diagnosis

5 Strategies for Coping with a Life-Changing Diagnosis

Table of Contents

Learning about a life-altering diagnosis can be terrifying. You may be filled with a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts that can severely mentally distress you. These are not unusual reactions; no one likes learning that their health has taken a turn for the worst. But there are ways you can make the news digestible. Coping with an intense diagnosis is all about finding your center and allowing your mind to accept the reality of your situation. It is not wrong to feel angry, upset and grieved as you learn about your health, but you’ll feel much more at peace when you figure out what you can do for yourself. Therefore, to make this journey more manageable for you, here’s what you need to do:

Look Into Ways To Support Yourself

One of the downsides of life-altering illnesses is they are immensely costly to treat. Apart from the medication, the aftercare and follow-up appointments can financially put you in a pickle. If you are uncomfortable asking your loved ones to help you, look into your disease and find out if there are ways you can support the costs. Certain conditions like mesothelioma, aggressive cancer stemming from asbestos exposure have options that allow you to pay for treatment. Asbestos was extensively used in numerous sectors in the US from the early 1940s to the 1970s. If you worked in the industrial sector or owned a house in the day, the company that employed you or built your home is responsible for prolonged exposure.

Hence, if you learn about your diagnosis, you’re well within your rights to hold the guilty company responsible and sue them. Most companies are settling through mesothelioma trust funds that grant you significant money you can utilize for your treatment. Similarly, while looking into other illnesses, determine if your insurance policy can help you and if organizations will be willing to supplement some of the costs.

Talk To A Therapist

When dealing with hard-hitting news, you may need help processing your emotions and thoughts. Not everyone can handle shocking information calmly. Some people experience intense breakdowns, denial, or depression. This is why if you feel the gears in your head churning and you need to talk about what you learned about yourself, look into a therapist. These professionals are trained experts with the knowledge and experience of working with clients with difficulty managing their mental health. These experts will never force you to talk about anything you don’t want to; instead, they encourage you to communicate your thoughts transparently.

Therapy is not linear, but it is a helpful one. You can rationalize your feelings, understand your perspective, and get the support you need to accept your diagnosis on your terms. Therapists rely on different techniques to work with you.

Manage Stress

Even if you accept that your health is worsening, you may still feel stressed out by the situation. However, the problem with stress is, it makes you overthink and adds to your misery. Your health also spirals out of control way earlier than expected because of the agitation you harbor. While it may not be easy, you must focus on eliminating stress. Try effective stress relievers like meditation, music, and art. If you have a park near your house, go for a walk and breathe fresh air. The color green is soothing for your nervous system, and being surrounded by nature can significantly calm you down.

Some people can channel stress better by writing and journaling, so if you fall in that category, try jotting down your thoughts. There is also no harm in talking to a loved one or a friend you consider a confidant. The emotional bond and kinship you share with people you love and trust can alleviate your stress, which may uplift you. 

Don’t Give Up On Yourself

In times of calamity, some people retreat into their minds and give up on activities that once brought them joy. But you don’t have to do it. You can still indulge in hobbies and activities that make you happy. If you enjoy gardening, become more proactive in potting new plants and adding seeds to your collection. Social media is a great outlet to connect with other gardening enthusiasts such as yourself; why not reach out to them and form an exclusive gardening club?

If you are an avid reader, look up new books and start perusing through them again. Certain libraries offer flexible membership cards allowing you to take as many books as you like if you can sign up for them and read to your heart’s content.

Have A Support System

There will be good and bad days, but you must power through them. Some days, you may feel powerful, while others feel highly vulnerable. Hence, it helps to have a support system in place. However, do take care that while your loved ones are great for providing you with endless support, understand they have their limitations too. Helping a close one through a life-changing diagnosis can be emotionally taxing for them and may cause caretaker burnout. While you may not intend to, this can do more harm than good.

Therefore, as you search for a support system, think carefully about people who can handle you and your thoughts.

In most cases, support groups, online forums dedicated to life-altering illnesses, and relatives who have been through something similar are your best options. These communities and individuals can understand you without letting it impact them. A solid support system is like a cloud on a sunny day and an umbrella on a rainy one. Their kindness, empathy, and compassion can make the journey more bearable for you.

Final Thoughts

No one can predict when their health will turn for the worst. This is one of the most unfortunate realities of life. But, when you learn about your diagnosis, there are ways you can make sense of the situation without letting your emotions get the best of you. Understandably, this situation is unpleasant, and every emotion you feel is entirely justified. However, finding an outlet and releasing all your bottled-up thoughts can help you through this phase of your life.

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