5 Ways You Can Feel Better After a Scary Medical Diagnosis
We always say that there’s nothing more important than our health; after all, how can you enjoy everything life has to offer when you’re feeling unwell?
Being diagnosed with a mild illness that goes away quickly is easily acceptable by everyone. You get a cold, drink some tea, maybe take common medication and you’re good to go in a matter of days.
But how can you accept the thought of having to deal with a serious illness for months, years – or the rest of your life? This is by far anybody’s worst nightmare: receiving a diagnosis that will change life as you know it.
‘It can trigger trauma’
Gail Saltz, MD, says that receiving a scary medical diagnosis can trigger an actual trauma, mentally speaking. Depending on the diagnosis, mental condition, support and other factors, it can even take years to process such unfortunate news. For some, accepting the thought of living with a serious illness is just as difficult as the physical treatment it requires, if not more.
A national survey taken by the Eli Lilly and Company found that nine out of 10 people suffered from a mental health condition or emotional instability because of an alarming medical diagnosis. The most common were anxiety, insomnia and depression.
In such times, practicing self-care can literally be a life saver and this comes in many forms that suit most people regardless of their illness.
I can only imagine how difficult it is to receive a scary diagnosis from your doctor. It may cause sadness, anger, disappointment and it could take away any joy you’ve had in the past.
Today, I compiled a list of self-care methods that may help to improve your mental and emotional state with experts’ help. It may not seem like much, but these little things can make a big difference in the long run.
Practicing self-care after a scary medical diagnosis
Stick to a routine
According to Dr. Saltz, ome serious illnesses may require a treatment that changes your daily routine forever. However, keeping as many activities as possible from your pre-diagnosis life can give you a sense of piece and normality in all this madness.
You may not feel like doing anything anymore. Work, fitness or just watching a movie will have probably lost any meaning by now. However, doing these little things even when you’re not in the mood for them can trigger positive feelings you used to have, such as security and excitement.
There’s an additional benefit here: keeping yourself busy prevents you from focusing on negative thoughts, which can be very tempting especially in such difficult circumstances.
Looking for new activities to introduce to your routine? You can check out our post on 7 habits that can improve your life for good.
Allow yourself to cry
For some people, accepting their own emotions is a difficult task as it is – let alone expressing their emotional state to others. Some may fake their optimism to prevent their loved ones from suffering even more, while others try to act as if the diagnosis doesn’t exist.
Let me break the ice by telling you all of these practices can only make things worse.
It’s very difficult to manage intense feelings especially if you’re used to overlooking them. When it comes to such diagnosis, though, it’s best to face your fears and overcome any mental obstacles.
Let it all out.
Cry, scream, talk to your loved ones, acknowledge your illness. Hard as it may seem, it’s all part of the healing process you need to move on and find the joy in living a new life.
Go to therapy
The way you deal with your emotions is heavily influenced by your past experiences and core values. If you have a hard time understanding yourself – especially after such unfortunate events – it might be time to ask for professional help.
A good therapist can help you to open up and accept the fact that everything you feel and think is normal. This is a safe space where you can discover yourself and embrace your current condition with a professional’s guidance.
If you can’t go to therapy for certain reasons right now, you can get plenty of help and support online for free. Here are the best free apps to manage your depression in 2020.
Spend more time with loved ones
On our most difficult days, we may feel like all we want is to be left alone. In fact, those are the times we need friends and family the most.
Many people believe that opening up about their problems only burdens their loved ones and puts them in a negative state. Going for a walk with a friend or scheduling regular meals with family – even virtual ones! – can be a huge mood changer.
Additionally, you can also join a support group to meet people in the same situation as you. This may help you open up more and find understanding regarding your condition.
A part of our brain is wired to focus on the future – especially when it comes to worst-case-scenarios. Receiving such a diagnosis can be terrifying enough to make anyone imagine a negative outcome, which is why being mindful is so important.
‘Mindfulness is about how things look, sound, smell, taste, and feel to you right now.’ – Dr. Saltz
You can start by focusing on the present moment for 15 minutes and increase the timing every day. This simple habit can help you to eliminate toxic thoughts about the future and replace them with more productive, realistic plans.
Whether you’re enjoying a meal, taking a walk safely or just doing absolutely nothing, make the most of every day.
Tell your story
Before you go, I have a small request. Our community is dedicated to helping others improve their wellbeing, both physically and emotionally.
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with an illness that affected your mental and emotional states, please take a minute of your time to share your journey with us in the comment section. It might not seem like much, but sometimes a simple message can be very encouraging for someone else.
Let’s make someone’s day brighter today. Thank you!