Adjusting To A Chronic Illness Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with a lifelong condition is a very hard thing to hear. In the first few weeks after hearing the news you’re going to be feeling a lot of confusing and overwhelming things. Maybe you’re numb for a little while, but then feel floods of frustration and anger? Or maybe you feel like you’re going through the five stages of grief? 

Anything can happen, and your emotions can go back and forth and leave you exhausted in their wake. And in this time of adjustment, you need to do a few things to help yourself settle in. You know yourself the best, but when it comes to coping techniques and the best things to do to beat the stress, we’ve got some tips down below. 

Be Careful How You Do Your Own Research

Doing research into your diagnosis is a good thing; it grants you a sense of self empowerment, and helps you to feel more clued into what you’re dealing with. Knowledge very much is power when it comes to your own health. 

But when you’re doing research off your own back, be careful how you go about it. Going online and looking up your symptoms, prognosis, or medication side effects can scare you necessarily. If you’re ever worried, it’s best to speak to your doctor for clarification, and try to find a support group that meets nearby. 

Be Aware of How to Access Care

If you live in a rural area, this is the most essential tip to make use of. Where is the nearest medical center that can cater to your specific needs? Where can you get over-the-counter hearing aids without needing to be referred to a doctor, who could be miles away? You need to be aware of these issues well in advance, to make sure they don’t become a problem once you’re actually in need. 

Indeed, the more you know about the help there is out there, the easier it’s going to be to adjust during this time. So, is there a helpline you would be able to call if you’re in trouble? Knowing this number and saving it into your phone can help eliminate the anxiety you may be feeling right now. 

Speak to a Therapist

You really can be dealing with grief after being told you’ve got a lifelong illness, or that you may be unable to walk in a few years. And dealing with this news on your own is going to be next to impossible. That’s why we recommend speaking to a therapist after receiving a diagnosis. 

Talking to someone you can soundboard off, and having a place where you can dump your thoughts, is very good for you. Therapy sessions are a safe space and they’re totally up for your use. Look into this option; it takes courage, but it’ll work. 

A chronic illness diagnosis is going to be hard. Take your time, talk about your feelings, and don’t be afraid to see the doctor. 

Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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