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5 Gentle Reminders If You’ve Received Multiple Diagnoses at Once

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Receiving a new diagnosis can be an emotional experience, but receiving multiple new diagnoses simultaneously can feel completely jarring. If you’ve just received multiple diagnoses at once, you may feel caught off-guard, afraid for the future and unsure of your identity. Here are five gentle reminders for anyone who’s been diagnosed with multiple conditions at once.

1. Let yourself feel all of your emotions.

New diagnoses can be an emotional adjustment, especially if you received them all in one appointment. You may feel relieved to finally have a label to point to, you may feel anxious about how the stigma of your conditions will now affect you or you may not know exactly what to feel — and any way you feel is completely OK. No matter how you feel about your new diagnoses, though, allow yourself to express any emotion that crops up. There’s no right or wrong way to process multiple new diagnoses, so give yourself the space to “feel all the feels” — your willingness to express your emotions could ultimately help you cope with these new labels.

2. You’re still the same person you were before your new diagnoses.

Getting diagnosed can cause you to question your entire identity, particularly if you receive a plethora of new diagnoses at the same time.  You may feel like you’re now a completely different person than you were before you arrived at that life-changing appointment with your doctor or that you no longer know who you are in light of this new information about your health. At the end of the day, though, your new diagnoses don’t change who you truly are — your intelligence, your kindness or your interests. They simply explain parts of what make you who you are — but they don’t change what makes you so incredible.

3. Your new diagnoses don’t define you.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with multiple conditions, it may be easy to feel like you now have a plethora of labels telling you exactly who you are. You may also feel pressure to seek out health communities for your conditions right away, even if you’re uncomfortable with your new diagnoses. No matter how you choose to cope with this new information, though, remember that your diagnoses don’t define you. You may have some new information to share with your doctors, but you’re so much more than your diagnoses, and what you do with this new information is no one’s business but your own.

4. Some diagnoses may be easier to accept than others — and that’s OK.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with multiple conditions, you may think that you’ll come to terms with them all at the same time, but it’s OK if your journey toward acceptance isn’t so clear-cut. Some of your diagnoses might make sense to you or make you feel like you have important answers, but others might come as a surprise, which could make them more difficult to process. Although you might internalize some easily, others may take time to grieve or process. If you feel like you’ll never accept your new diagnoses, remember that however long the acceptance process takes, your response is “normal.” You will someday discover that you’ve accepted the conditions with which you were recently diagnosed.

5. You aren’t alone.

When you’ve been diagnosed with multiple conditions simultaneously, you may feel like that approach isn’t “normal” — and the emotions that accompany it aren’t either. But even though it’s not particularly common to receive multiple diagnoses in one day, it isn’t uncommon, either, especially considering how many conditions often present alongside each other. Whether your diagnoses are disabilities, chronic illnesses or mental health conditions, seeking out support from health communities where you can connect with people who share similar diagnoses may help you realize that you’re never as alone as you feel — even when you receive multiple diagnoses at once.

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

Originally published: September 9, 2021
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