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The 5 Stages of Grief I Experienced After Becoming Chronically Ill

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They say there are five stages to grief, and I feel this is something I can relate to when it comes to chronic illness. When you realize your chronic illness is here for good, you do go through various stages. Here, I will explain how I went through these stages:

1. Denial

I simply wouldn’t believe my chronic illnesses would last forever. I thought that somehow, some treatment would at least lessen my symptoms enough that my conditions would be very mild. I think some doctors played a part in my denial too. They seemed to think I’d be walking without a stick, and back to working in no time. Seven years on, I am worse than I was when first showing symptoms.

2. Anger

I felt so angry for so many reasons. These included the fact that I couldn’t just push past my symptoms. Before I became ill, I was such an active person. I’d go on nights out really often, I’d take on various hobbies such as gymnastics and cheerleading. To go from this to struggling to walk, aching all over and slowing down so much, really did make me feel angry. Why couldn’t things just go back to how they were?!

3. Bargaining

I tried resting a lot. I pushed myself to exercise a lot, I tried to eat healthy. I thought that if I did the “right” things, my symptoms would lessen. Unfortunately, nothing changed, apart from having a lot of flare-ups from exercising too much!

4. Depression

I felt so low, because these illnesses were leading to so much loss. I lost friends, I was dumped, I lost motivation, plus much more. This also led to suicidal feelings. I hated that I couldn’t control my health, and I felt so awful about myself. Because I’d lost so many friends, I felt as if I was the worst friend in the world, and that I’d lose everyone eventually. I felt completely useless because of how much I had to give up. I worried so much about the future, and whether I’d ever be able to work again.

Our society seems to base someone’s worth on their productivity and ability to work. Political parties focus on working families, and rarely mention anyone out of work – unless it’s to say they’ll cut benefits. I felt like this world was better off without me.

5. Acceptance

This is a stage I find myself frequently moving towards, and then away from. I feel like, for the most part, I’ve accepted that I am chronically ill and it will not go away. I try to manage my days, listen to my body, but remember to enjoy life as much as I’m able to. Sometimes I conserve my energy, sometimes I push myself so I can do things such as meeting friends. I pay for it afterwards, but sometimes it is worth it. I do have times when I go through the stages again. On a day where I don’t feel so ill, I may deny I’m even ill. On worse days, I might feel angry, or my depression might worsen because I can barely do a thing.

What stages do you feel you’ve been through, or are going through, when it comes to chronic illness? Can you add any more?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock Image By: javitrapero

Originally published: August 29, 2017
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