How to Accept a Chronic Diagnosis

I see it over and over again. We fight to get a diagnosis from a doctor and then we have no idea how to accept the diagnosis. We wanted validation that what we were experiencing was real. But we didn’t know how much baggage was going to come with it.

Many of us go through stages of grief if it is said to be a chronic or life-long illness. It’s important to honor that.

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Some of us lose our sense of identity. That is hard, and painful, and while you are going through it, you deserve support and compassion. But you may not find anyone who can offer you what you need. That is okay. You can offer it to yourself by choosing to acceptance.

This is different than resigning yourself to fate. Acceptance is about empowering yourself to feel you have seniority over your body and your life. It’s about knowing you are good enough exactly as you are. That you are worthy, loveable, and exactly where you are meant to be.

So how do we accept the diagnosis? This is based on my own experience and what I’ve learned as a life coach, often working with people with chronic illness.

Compassion

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Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Let yourself feel your emotions. Be with the feelings you are having and ride the wave. If you try to ignore the feelings or press them down, they will create pressure. Allow yourself to grieve, get angry, feel sorrow; whatever comes up, allow it. There is no need to feel guilty or shameful about your feelings. When you judge your own feelings, you can get stuck in that feeling. But if you are accepting them as they come, they will keep moving. There are no bad or wrong feelings to have. Accept all of them unconditionally and express them however you (or your inner child) feel is appropriate.

You are not broken

If you think about where a diagnosis comes from, usually it is just a name given to a group of symptoms. Depending on what the diagnosis is, those could be very clear-cut and concrete or they could be complicated and vague. If you decide to believe that you are broken or your brain is broken or your kidneys, or whatever the case is, that is exactly how you will feel. It’s much more empowering to believe that you are whole and complete because you are!

Your Body is Designed for Healing

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Your physical body is so resilient. When you accept a chronic diagnosis, that doesn’t mean you have to believe you will be sick forever. You can accept that it is your current state and still believe in your own body and its healing abilities. This does not mean that you wait to be happy until you are healed. It’s about accepting yourself at each point along the journey. There are plenty of stories of recoveries and people who have managed to thrive despite doctors telling them it was impossible.

You can learn about people like Dr. Joe Dispenza healing six compressed vertebrae, Donna Eden healing multiple sclerosis, Louise Hay healing cancer, and Marisa Peer healing infertility. They empowered themselves to heal their own bodies and then began teaching others to do the same. Working on your thoughts, beliefs, and energy can bring about amazing changes in your life, not just for your health but all areas of well-being.

You are more than your diagnosis

If you begin to use the nouns associated with your diagnosis, you may realize that you are identifying with it more than is necessary. Using language like “I’m a diabetic, or narcoleptic” can be empowering if you choose them to be, or they can put you in a box. Be aware of your situation.

Even if you accept a diagnosis, that doesn’t mean you have to use it to define who you are. Make sure your diagnosis is serving you as a tool to access the care you need, not limiting the possibilities in your life.

You have value no matter how much you are able to do each day. You are valuable because of who you ARE not what you accomplish.

There are options

You are not limited to treatments that are medically approved for your diagnosis. Our medical insurance tries to put labels on everything and we can even start to believe that only those approved types of treatment will help us. But honestly, almost nothing that helped me was covered by insurance. I had to look outside the box, re-evaluate my lifestyle, look at my nutrition, and my beliefs before I found real relief.

Medical treatments can be helpful for a time, but the pharmaceutical industry is set up to keep us coming back for more medication, it is not designed to heal us. I am not saying they are the enemy, many medications can provide incredible relief to patients. But it’s up to us to identify the root cause and take care of it on the emotional and energetic levels if we don’t want to be on medication for the rest of our lives. If that is not a problem for you, that is also okay. Everyone has their own path! Your job is to find the one in alignment with your values, and who you are.

It’s important that you move toward what resonates for you, but some ideas you might look into are energy therapy, mindfulness and/or meditation, change in nutrition, and life coaching.

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Believe that you have the power

If you decide to put all the power in the hands of your doctors or other people, you begin to feel like a victim of your circumstances. Soon enough you become that victim unless you hold on to your own power. Know that no matter what the circumstance, you are 100% responsible for you and your reactions. It sounds harsh, I know, but its the best way to feel empowered and create your own reality.

Find Support to Accept your Diagnosis

If all of this sounds amazing but perhaps just out of reach, ask for support! You can reach out to me, another coach, a therapist, or someone you care about that has the tools to help you. You are not alone and you deserve to live an amazing life in the time you are here on Earth! I believe that when you accept a diagnosis you are on the path to a great future.

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