Stages We Go Through With a Chronic Disease or Condition

1. Shock , when Initially diagnosed because it takes you by surprise and hearing that there is no known cause and no cure are harsh words to hear.

2. Emotional release , or pangs of grief and distress. The feeling you get when you think no one cares and you are alone. Anger that your life is compromised and you can no longer function the way you once did. You feel helpless because things are out of your control. Denial (refusal to believe what is going on) and frustration certainly fit in this area.

3. Panic , the feeling that you don't know which way to turn or what to do next. Learning how to cope and manage things that are overwhelming you. This may be when we are still grasping at ways to find the 'magic' that will make us well or at least control the monster we are living with. The meds, the injections, the surgery, natural treatments. Which shall I try, what do I do for help and understanding?

4. Guilt , when you realize that you cannot do all that you used to do and your life has changed. You especially feel guilt when you have to go on disability. You feel guilt for not pulling your weight, or placing burdens on others that you were once able to handle. Guilt when you no longer are able to participate in social things the way you used to, etc. The guilt others inflict on you (and you allow it) when they tell you that you look fine and are you still not feeling well etc. Constantly defending yourself and validating yourself to others.

5. Hostility and anger . Why me, why now? Anger at those who don't understand and don't seem to care, or at anyone!

6. Inability , to resume a normal life, because what was a normal life is no longer possible. Even though you are not able to function the way you once did, you are still trying to prove that you can function the same.

7. Acceptance , when you finally "get it"; that nothing will ever return to the way it used to be and you need to rethink how you do things and learn to accept help from others and admit your limitations, You can accept the dizzy days, the vertigo, the hearing loss, the Inability to function normally, and everything else that goes with It.

8. Hope , when you see a new way of living emerging. You are happy and content with yourself, you can move forward but on a different path from the one you were once on. You set short goals and realize that they may never bear fruit. You are flexible enough to accept the changes in your life.

Some of us pass through stages over and over again or get locked in one stage longer than someone else. We all pass through at different speeds and that is fine.


This is an edited version of a document which appeared on ezboard.