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Why Chronic Illness ‘Diagnosis Mourning’ Is Real

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Think about it: When you get a diagnosis, a life-changing, life-threatening, life-altering diagnosis, it’s going to change you. And whether you realize or not, you will probably go through some degree of health diagnosis mourning.

When my surgeon told me I was going to lose the function of my left arm in order to save my life because of a pre-cancerous tumor, I was sad, and I was devastated, but I wasn’t in mourning. It was only after I was diagnosed with a severe peripheral nerve injury after surgery that I realized what I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. I was also diagnosed with my chronic illnessNeurofibromatosis Type 1, when I was 10 years old. I didn’t really care back then, but it took another 10 years in order for me to be mature enough to realize what I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life.

Health diagnosis mourning is real. Going through mourning your old life, what it used to be, what you used to be able to do, things you may have lost — people, hobbies — anything you loved or had that was taken after your diagnosis. Think about it. One day, you wake up, and suddenly, you’re diagnosed with something that will change your life forever. Things are taken from you — things you love, and you can’t do anything to stop it because this is your life now. Forever.

It’s the fear of change, the fear of the unknown and the illness itself. The fear of losing things, people, your future. Chronic illness can strip you of your identity, and in my experience, mourning the old you is often the hardest part. You miss the person you used to be, and rediscovering yourself after is difficult because your diagnosis can overwhelm everything else. It’s a life-long, life-changing battle.

Health diagnosis mourning is real.

Can you relate? Let Charlotte know in the comments below.

Photo by Kunj Parekh via Unsplash.
Originally published: February 10, 2020
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