5 Ways to Cope When You Get a Diagnosis

grace and linus on sofa1. Allow

At this point your emotions may be swirling, but whatever you feel is ok and you are not alone in feeling it. Judging your emotions won’t make them go away and you are allowed to feel exactly as you do right now.

You might be filled with anger, guilt, relief, or shame. You might be stinging from the injustice, or feeling broken, or empowered, but whatever you feel is right.

These are feelings sweeping through you in this moment, let them sweep.


grace on yoga mat in sunshine with Bertie dog2. Curl Up or Reach Out

I don’t know which one will work for you, it might be your instinct to curl up and take some time and space to process and for the news to sink in.

If you feel the need to be alone make sure to set yourself a time because you are processing not hiding away and curling up can end up being isolated, we don’t want that.

Or maybe alone time would just let your head spiral into incredibly detailed imaginings of your own funeral and what you really need to do is reach out to your people.

Sometimes when something difficult happens we need to talk about it, to repeat it and retell it to process it and make sense of where we go from here. If you need someone to sit with you or pick up food from the shops for you because you can’t face dealing with clothes and buses and people because you are still crying then ask for that. Your loved ones will want to know what to do and will be happy to be given direction. Figure out what works for you and go for it.


pile of medical books3. Gather Information

This is a time when you need to know what you are dealing with. Many of us have sketchy or out of date knowledge about illnesses.

Once you’ve heard the name of the condition and your mind is spiralling with terrible possibilities, stop, and pull yourself out of it for a moment.

You just need to ask the doctor to write down the name of the illness, to spell it for you and ask them where you can get some more information.

Who can you contact if you have questions? You might be referred to another department within the hospital or health service, or to a society or charity.

When you are home, ring them up and ask for an information pack.

Do connect with others who have a similar diagnosis, but here is the important bit – connect with those who are living well with the condition. Going through pain does not automatically confer wisdom and you can get conflicting misinformation in support groups as easily as you can on Google (by the way, never google or wiki your illness, promise me?).

Always, be it in person or online, consider the source.

Ask the doctor where you go from here and what you are able to do yourself? There will be something, you have power and control, maybe not over your illness right now, maybe not over your mind and attitude depending on the condition, but there will be something you can do whether it is exercise, medication, or beliefs.

grace in wheelchair in silver dress4. Reframe It

Maybe you are feeling broken right now, or like you have lost your identity under the new label of ‘Sick Chick, the one with ____ illness’. This doesn’t have to be the death of your old life, it can be a rebirth.

Yes, really, even with the pain and struggles and how hard getting dressed is now. Even with a dim prognosis, long waiting lists and lots of frustration.

I live this too you know, but we can do this together.

Maybe you don’t have to be broken, the life you had isn’t over. This is time to reinvent your dreams, to carve out a new identity and one that you consciously choose, not one you grew into this time.

You can be a Trail Blazer.

Your chronic illness, disease, disability, accident or diagnosis can be another step in your life. It’s a challenge, some days a struggle, but it’s not something what will stop your life even if it feels that way right now. Take a deep breath, it’s not the end of the world. Things may change but we can handle it.

Look up people who are living well with illness like Kris, AnnieToniVidyamalaPolly and Sue. Find new role models, be one yourself.

Grace with her back facing the camera, white dress, next to the water5. Another Way is Possible

I promise you, it doesn’t have to be like this, another way is possible. And I want you to believe that. The way things are now is not the way they will always be.  Maybe you don’t have an illness, or maybe you know just what I am talking about, but I am here to tell you that another way is possible.

This is an urgent, red hot SOS direct to your hopeful heart – it doesn’t have to be like this, I repeat; another way is possible.

When we began my Healing Journey, we began with very little hope. We believed the doctors when they said no cure meant no change. But it wasn’t the case. We decided to try to create the best possible environment for wellness. To give my body a chance to heal. Take away everything which we knew was hurting me and adding in all that we knew would hope.

There is a belief you are a brave sufferer or miraculous cured. It doesn’t have to be like this, another way is possible.

You can live well with illness, it is possible to be unwell and live well all at once. I want to see your blazing your trails, forging your healing path. You can change, design and craft a life for yourself, getting rid of what isn’t helping you, and living in full blazing colour.

Turn Trail Blazer with me, sign up to the mailing list below to get your Trail Blazing info and join the movement.

This post is dedicated to all the women who have inspired me over the years and showed me that it is possible to live well with illness and turn Trail Blazer. To each of you, thank you. 

Image Credits: All Grace Quantock bar no. 3 credit here.