Coping with a New Medical Diagnosis

Coping with a New Medical Diagnosis
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When you are first diagnosed with a medical condition, common reactions include fear, anger, worry, and grief. All of these are normal responses. A new medical condition is a threat to life as you know it, and it brings change for you and those you love. Here are some ways to move forward.

How to Share With Loved Ones

It can be especially hard to find the right time and words to share news about your diagnosis with loved ones. You may struggle to put into words all that you are experiencing when you are having a hard enough time coping with it yourself. Also, you may be afraid about the impact sharing the news has on your loved ones. To take some of the pressure off of yourself, start by putting together a list of those you want to tell and prioritize whom to tell in what order. Think about a timeframe in which you’d like to tell them. This helps you organize your approach by not having to tell everyone all at once. Then, consider what you want to share with these people. you may not want to share the same details with each person, and that’s OK. Finally, consider how to say it. Often, taking a high-level, “reader’s digest” kind of approach and not going into exhaustive detail is best when you are first sharing the news.

Identify and Meet Your Own Needs

Now is a time to be selfish and pare down your responsibilities for a while as you grapple with your new condition and healthcare needs. Think about what you can ask others to help you with and what you can delegate in your personal life and work. Condsider what you need from others in terms of support and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Now is also a time to give your brain and body what it needs to move forward. Beyond the basics of nourishing food, sleep, and such, think about ways to indulge and pamper yourself. You are going through a lot and deserve small pleasures to help renew yourself and have the strength to move forward. 

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