If you have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you probably have many thoughts and feelings racing through your mind. There is so much to consider and plan for when you get this type of news. If possible, lean on your family and/or friends during this time.
You may also be wondering what to do from here, and how to cope with your diagnosis. While there is no one-size-fits all answer, there are several things that could be useful for many people in this situation. Some things to consider when learning to cope after being diagnosed with a terminal illness, if they work for your situation, include:
Seek Out Support
As mentioned, in an ideal world, you can lean on your family and friends as you begin to cope with your diagnosis. If you are not in this ideal situation, or you are finding that you require more support, turn to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend additional specialist care and can also refer you for more support.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend other avenues for support, including further information about your diagnosis, financial support that you may qualify for, counseling, and even grief support groups in your area, if you or a loved one find that you are suffering from anticipatory grief.
Take Care of Yourself
You are probably doing every single thing your doctor is telling you, so of course you are taking care of yourself medically. And if you have sought out support, such as counseling or a support group, you are probably doing your best for your mental health too. But if you still find something is lacking, look to self care activities.
You may see some benefits to your physical body or mood with complementary therapies, like getting a massage or aromatherapy. You might also enjoy taking some time to relax and get back into old hobbies like reading. Taking care of yourself can also take the form of letting others take care of you when they offer. Both you and your loved one might benefit from them bringing you a meal and eating together or going grocery shopping together for your weekly needs.
Address Worries About the Future
If you find yourself spending much of your time worrying and focusing on questions that you cannot answer, use the support resources referenced about. In a support group or counseling, you can address these questions. You can also talk with a beloved family member or friend about your worries.
Instead of a general support group, you might find a support group specific to your diagnosis in your local area or online, where you can talk with people who share your diagnosis. Some may find comfort in addressing their worries and questions in prayer or with a religious leader. Some may find a sense of comfort in writing down their worries in a journal, or to organize them in writing to discuss with one of the support people listed above.
If you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness recently, there is no best way to cope for every single person. However, seeking out support, taking care of yourself, and addressing worries are options for you.