Coping with Grief Related to a Medical Diagnosis

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When you get the news, your initial reaction may be shock and in your distress, you may struggle to gain perspective on what has happened. You may experience a flood of emotions such as denial, anger, sadness, guilt and shame, or a gamut of other feelings, sometimes all at once. You may feel scared about the future and confused or stuck about what to do next. These emotions may vary from day to day or even hour to hour. It is important to remind yourself that these feelings are normal and will likely ease with time.

So, how do you cope with a medical diagnosis and condition? Actively facing your illness by doing things such as getting your questions answered by your doctor, asking him or her what steps you can take to optimize your wellness, and seeking out accurate information about your illness can help you feel more empowered. In addition, try to manage the things you CAN control such as eating a healthy diet, practicing sleep hygiene, managing stress, taking medications as prescribed, and spending time with supportive family or friends. Building a strong network of support and keeping open communication with your partner and family are important to your wellbeing. Keeping up with activities you enjoy and value as much as your health allows is also vital.

If you’re finding it difficult to cope with loss of health or a new diagnosis, reach out for help from me or another trained therapist. Together we can work through this using techniques from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, nature-based counseling, or grief counseling. We can work together to help you find hope and renewed strength.

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