It’s been my experience that clients who deal most effectively with a medical diagnosis are what I will call fighters. This doesn’t mean fighting in the sense of taking up arms and, in fact, sometimes clients resist this word because of that association. Being a fighter means being empowered in terms of understanding the diagnosis, the options for treatment, and what lifestyle adjustments need to be made in the near future, and beyond. Being empowered is about arming yourself with rational thinking.
However, fighters have also acknowledged their feelings, and continue to honor their own emotions. I would even say that dealing with the emotional aspects of a diagnosis opens the door to rational decision making. Fear may, realistically, never fade away. The anger and disappointment may flare up at times. But emotions like fear and anger, when they are acknowledged and experienced, may also give way to hope, optimism, and a renewed passion for life.
A client whom I will call Marie said it this way:
I sat and cried and asked ‘why me?’ for quite awhile, maybe a few days. And then I stood up and said, ‘I am going to fight this beast. I’m not going to let it beat me down.’ The next day I made a list of who I needed to talk to, where I needed to go for information, and what I needed to start planning for. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel overwhelmed sometimes, because I still do. But I’m also in active mode.
Marie didn’t hold back on her emotions but, instead, faced her disappointment and fear. By doing so, she was able to start asking questions and making decisions.
- I Just Got Diagnosed. Now What Do I Do?
- → Fight: Striking a Balance Between Emotion and Logic
- Flight: Charging Forward, But Blindly?
- Freeze: Don’t React and Maybe the Diagnosis Will Go Away
- Just Diagnosed: The Spiritual Dimension
- Prepared for the Road Ahead