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28 May 2006

Grief and Chronic Disease

I've read that with any diagnosis of chronic disease it is quite common to go through the 5 stages of grief.

1. Denial and isolation: "This is not happening to me."
2. Anger: "How dare God do this to me."
3. Bargaining: "Just let me live to see my son graduate."
4. Depression: "I can't bear to face going through this, putting my family through this."
5. Acceptance: "I'm ready, I don't want to struggle anymore."

A close friend of mine who recently passed away started a discussion on this topic one day. Here are her words:
"None of us are accepting of these darn diseases all the time. The fact that we still want to deny at times, get angry at our limitations, feel waves of depression for a day or two or make a bargain with God -- these are all signs that we are human and want to enjoy our lives. Once we can accept our condition, the other stages are fewer and further between, and when we are in them, we are better able to work through them.

It does get better. Our lives can still be rich and rewarding, and we will laugh and enjoy the good days.

When you have a few minutes, you might want to try this. Write a list of the losses you have suffered from RA (or whatever chronic illness(es) you have) and a list of what you have gained. The losses will be longest right now. Put the list away, and a month from now, do the same thing without looking at your previous list. You will probably see the positives grow -- slowly, but they will grow."

Note: This post came about through a discussion on RA-Factor.

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