Processing diagnosis and the importance of experiencing the emotions that come with it – ‘Keeping Up Courage’ Part 2

Yesterday I came across an old message I sent to a friend when she was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I kind of wish I read it as I was going through this last diagnosis over these few weeks.

You know how sometimes we are just more kind to others than ourselves? If we took our own advice and were a little nicer, things could be easier? Well, coming across this really was a wake up call to me…

“Firstly, I am sorry to hear that you are going through this at the moment. It is often a rough time being diagnosed but things do get easier. 

Hearing the words ‘chronic illness’ can be quite unsettling. The word chronic can really make things harder to digest because you don’t know the course of the illness and it usually means unpredictability. 

Even with chronic conditions which are constant you will have good times both physically and mentally and things won’t always be so bleak and holding on to that belief really helped me through the worst periods. It is important to believe it’ll get better. 

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself during this time. Any period of change in life is difficult and being aware of your limits and what you body can handle is so important. Like pretty much everyone, I went through a tough time with the transition – naturally I wanted to be well and I wanted to do more but it’s important to not compare and to let go of the fact life isn’t going to go smoothly or perfect. I think most people say this but don’t truly understand it until they’ve had something like this throw life off course, you know? 

Life with illness can feel like a struggle but you can still have a full life.”

There is a sense of relief and happiness when you get diagnosed. It is a mixed bag of emotion – you know there’s relief that ‘hey there’s something to explain how crap I’ve been feeling and now we know what it is maybe we can do something about it!’ — It is hopeful. 

But then…

It sinks in and crashes down, the realisation that you wish they figured it out sooner. The wish things didn’t have to be so bad before they discovered it. And for me I wished they listened when asked about it 7 years ago in the doctors’ surgery. 

But I guess that’s life, I guess I wouldn’t be here trying to raise awareness and activism for change and money for better research and diagnosis. So I guess I’m grateful for that. 

I think trusting our journey is a way we may find peace again. 

But I can’t stress the importance of letting yourself be upset and experiencing emotion during this time. The way you feel is justified and it’s okay that things aren’t good right now. We’re allowed to be angry and upset. I kept shutting these emotions down and reinforcing gratitude about how the surgery went well and was worth it – but burying emotions just make them settle longer and caused more anxiety. 

I had so many conflicting emotions about how I shouldn’t be upset but grateful but there are times for everything in life and sometimes you need to let yourself be upset and process things. 

And it is best to do it now … because it can boil under the surface and spill over later, at a worse time. 

When I have become upset lately everything bad seems to be amplified in my mind but we have to remind ourselves that deep down, we know it’s all working itself out. 

Receiving diagnosis can throw us off course, but it can and will lead to better things and a better future. But right now it’s okay to grieve what might’ve been. 

We will all get there eventually, but right now we’re here and that’s okay. 

37 thoughts on “Processing diagnosis and the importance of experiencing the emotions that come with it – ‘Keeping Up Courage’ Part 2”

  1. What a lovely photo! And good advice for you – it’s nice you could offer your friend some wise words!

    Hope that you are having a great week 🙂

  2. Gorgeous photo and such an important post. It’s not about being amazing and happy and positive all of the time, sometimes we need to experience the sadness and the upset to take things in. To process things. And that’s completely OK.

    // xx

    1. Thank you so much Georgia! Yes it really isn’t <3 We have to grow through what we go through and we can't do it by ignoring things. Thank you for the support xxx

  3. You really hit the nail on the head with this post, Susie! Especially with the message you wrote to your friend. Every word of that was both honest and encouraging. It’s the sort of thing I wish I’d been able to read after I was first diagnosed as well. Everything you went on to say after that describes our situations perfectly, every word of that resonated with me! It’s hard to put our circumstances and the emotions that come from them into words but you did a great job with that in this blog post! Xx

    1. Thank you so much Emily! Your comment has really touched me! I am so glad to hear that this really connected with you – it truly means so much knowing someone else gets it all. I hope you are well xx

  4. Oh no! It is always unfortunate when people we know get diagnosed with an illness. Hope there will be something that can be done to help with the situation. Sometimes, when this happens, we need to do our best to be positive. The tips you gave are very helpful. Thanks for sharing these insights.

    Nancy ♥

  5. Beautiful words, Susie. Such wonderful advice for a friend, and yes most definitely for ourselves. Sometimes (often!) we need to remember to follow our own advice, don’t we! I know I do! I think that’s such an important point you make about allowing ourselves to be upset. I’ve battled with the same as you, and given myself a hard time about not being more positive/grateful, but like you say allowing ourselves to be upset is an important part of the process. Plus we’re bound to feel upset, frustrated, mad etc with everything we’re going through! Really enjoying this series of posts, thank you. Love, Emma (Not Just Tired) xx

    1. Ohhh yes it is so hard to really listen to our own advice sometimes and so easy to forget. Thank you so so much for your kind words!! You are so lovely <3 I hope you are well xx

  6. Ah, so much truth. Yes, acceptance is key, and that includes mourning the losses, feeling the emotions and being kind to ourselves. We really are our own worst critic, aren’t we?

    By the way, I wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for the Chronically Hopeful blog award in my latest post. Wishing you a lovely week ahead. Hugs

    1. Yes acceptance is such an important thing when moving on. And YES we really are our own critics ahhaa Aw thank you do much for the nomination means a lot!

  7. This was such a powerful post! I can’t imagine what it is like to struggle with something like this, but I agree that sometimes we are much kinder to others than to ourselves. We deserve kindness and understanding too. I hope that you are feeling better and have a wonderful week xx

  8. You are so wise Susie! You’re right that we usually are kinder to others than to ourselves and the words you sent to your friend are really inspiring. I love what you said about it being okay to be angry or upset. Pushing that emotion down will only make it worse. Sending you lots of love x

    x Kara |

    1. Aw thank you so much Kara! Yes pushing things aside and down can really impact our wellbeing now and later. Hope you are well xx

  9. This is a beautifully written post with some great tips I’ve no doubt will be a huge help to others. I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for you and I love how you are striving to make others aware of chronic illness.

    Musings & More

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