I think one of the hardest things we ever have to do is to recognize that, for our diagnosis, acceptance is a choice. Would you agree?
I know we are in denial for a while, we may even put off going to the doctor to be diagnosed. No one wants to believe that they have a chronic illness. No one wants to think about rearranging their world to accommodate illness. We want our life to go on as normal, and this illness throws a monkey wrench into those plans.
Of course, especially on good days, you might start to think that maybe you don’t really have FMS after all. Maybe it was something else. That way, we can set aside the “chronic” part of our illness. No one wants to just accept that what they have is a lifelong challenge, never to go away. Get better? Always a possibility, but once you have it, well, you have it for life.
As hard as it is for us to accept, it’s particularly difficult for those who love us. Because, let’s face it, your friends and family will find it hard to know what to say and how to continue in this relationship going forward. There are those who will not be able to accept your diagnosis, and will just walk away. Perhaps that’s because they’re no longer on familiar territory and don’t know how treat you. Perhaps it’s because they are afraid of catching it. Or perhaps they tire of us canceling plans when we appear to be “OK.”
I believe we need to go through a grieving process, because with our diagnosis, we have experienced a profound loss! We’ve lost who we were, and are expected to just embrace who we are now. Allow yourself the time to grieve.
There are 5 stages of grief:
Denial: It helps us in the beginning stages of grieving the loss of who we were
Anger: Allow yourself to feel it; underneath it is pain, it will pass
Bargaining: Often we bargain with God, if He will only heal us
Depression: It’s an appropriate response to great loss; it won’t last forever
Acceptance: It’s not about feeling OK with our diagnosis, it’s about accepting our new “normal”
These are just tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling and experiencing. They are NOT stops on some linear timeline of grief. You will go through them in your own way, at your own pace. You may go through each stage more than once on this journey, but I promise you, if you stay the course, you will arrive at acceptance.
Just remember that acceptance IS a choice. Don’t stay stuck in denial.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fibrosis.