The Step That Comes After Acceptance in the Grieving Process


My diagnosis of lupus was a lot of things. It was a shock to the entire system. It was an introduction to a new world that was completely unknown to me. It was the catalyst to the greatest internal struggle I’ve ever experienced. But more than anything else, it was the death of the person I used to be and the start of a very arduous grieving process.

In many of my columns, I often separate myself into two versions: who I was pre-lupus and who I am now. Differentiating myself as if we were two separate people has been my way of trying to cope with the loss that came along with lupus.

In the past, thinking of myself in two versions seemed normal, helpful even. But tonight as I drove home thinking about how much I’ve achieved in the last year, I came to a realization: There’s an extra step in the grieving process that I had yet to acknowledge and achieve – healing.

Following my diagnosis, I hit every stage of the grieving process and eventually arrived at what I had assumed would be my final destination: acceptance. But even though I have been accepting of my reality with lupus for some time, something still felt incredibly unresolved.

To reach acceptance wasn’t enough, as to simply accept my circumstances meant living life in two parallels, constantly comparing myself to the girl I could have been without lupus, but would never be. I need to go one step further, past acceptance to a place where I focus — not on what I could’ve been or should’ve been, but on what I am, what I can be and will be.

After acceptance is healing. Healing means forgiving myself for the flaws and celebrating the strengths. It means refusing to pour longing into who I used to be and instead devoting my time and energy into who I want to become. It means putting one foot in front of the other, and knowing I’m on my way to the best possible version of my present self, lupus included. It means moving forward!

For too long, I’ve been marooned on acceptance, comparing myself to a girl who had everything. I know I don’t have all that she did, but I also know that not achieving the same things she might have doesn’t make my milestones any less significant.

It’s time to stop making comparisons. Time to be proud of all I have achieved and will continue to achieve, despite my illness. It’s time to remember all that girl used to be, but to let her go and walk an unknown path no longer in her shadow.

Truthfully, I don’t know what comes after healing. I do know, however, that this won’t be a short process and I’ll be here for quite a while. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was say goodbye to the person I knew better than absolutely anyone else: myself. But one of the greatest things I’ll ever do is to not just accept this illness but to overcome it, and ensure that it’s the impetus to a version of myself I know both of us would be proud of.

This post originally appeared in Kristiana Page’s column, “The Girl Who Cried Wolf,” on Lupus News Today.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via OlgaKN.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Lupus

selena gomez and francia faisa in car holding drinks

Selena Gomez's Path to Finding a Kidney Donor Highlights a Challenge Many With Chronic Illness Face

When you’re dealing with health challenges, one of the most common things you’ll hear from friends is, “Let me know if you need anything!” But as many chronic warriors know, asking friends for help can be a nerve-wracking experience, which makes it even more important (and meaningful) for friends to offer up specific ways they would [...]
A digital drawing of a woman with colorfully designed hair.

What I Wasn't Told When I Was First Diagnosis With Lupus

When you have lupus, it’s like living with a 3 year old wearing roller skates on an ice skating rink in July. Nothing against 3 year olds on roller skates, but they can be a little bit unpredictable, just like lupus. This article aims to tell you my side of the lupus story. I have [...]
selena gomez and francia raisa

Selena Gomez and Francia Raisa Speak Out About the Kidney Transplant That Saved Gomez's Life

Selena Gomez and her best friend and kidney donor, Francia Raisa, are speaking together for the first time about the operation that Gomez says saved her life. In a preview clip shared today on The Today Show of the pair’s interview, which will air on Monday and Tuesday on Today and Monday night on NBC Nightly News, a teary [...]
A woman with a cloud of darkness behind her.

The Worries and Anxiety That Came With My Lupus Diagnosis

When I was first diagnosed with systemic lupus erythamatosus (lupus or SLE) I was massively relieved and happy that finally I was getting some answers. But after the euphoria settled, it all suddenly got very real. It sunk in that I had an incurable, potentially life-threatening disease which could come back at any time and [...]