What Happens When You Receive a Medical Diagnosis?
What happens when you first receive the news of a medical diagnosis? When you first learn that there is something about your health or a loved one’s that has been compromised. If you are like most people, you probably feel a rush of anxiety and maybe even anger. Some also feel a rush of sadness and grief, become tearful and feel extreme fear and a sense of doom.
These emotions are difficult to handle. Here is a list of best ways to embrace yourself and handle such a challenging moment in life with grace.
First Do Nothing
In order for the news to set in, it needs to go through the “Alarm System” of the brain first. In there, the brain needs to process it and decide if it is imminent danger, such as when you are about to be in a car accident, or is it non-imminent, like when you can wait and decide on the best course of action.
You might have heard of the Fight or Flight response, which is the brain’s way to keep you away from imminent danger. In this case, you do not want to kick start that fight or flight response, instead you need to give your brain time to turn on it’s higher thinking parts, which is the Cortex or the “thinking brain.”
Know that you have options
Instead of letting your mind take you to a thousand places, where all that comes to mind is doom and gloom, allow yourself to think. Asking questions like “what options do I have, even if they seem far-fetched.”
It is always a great idea to seek a second and even a third opinion, from a variety of different medical providers and even other health care providers. Medical doctors can inform you of the medical aspects of your health, but other health care providers such as psychologists can tell you about your psychological and emotional health status, which are just as important.
Reach out to people who might have been in your situation
Not only you can learn of the options that others have used, which is a significant source of information you could really use, but you also get some support and empathy from those who understand you. Receiving that kind of empathy is super important for the actions you will be choosing to make.
Keep hope alive
Hope is what keeps us going through our entire life. Without hope, we are practically gone. Hope in this case does not refer to wishful thinking. It is recognizing that you can work through this, as opposed to work passed this. True that many of us do work passed several obstacles in life, including a severe medical diagnosis.
But what I mean by hope in this context, is trusting yourself that with the proper help from your doctors, your psychologist, your family, and the community, you will GO THROUGH and EMBRACE this phase of your life. And in the end, you will experience it with grace as opposed to experiencing it with grief.
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