How often have you heard the phrase, "I have to be in the right headspace...?" Positive headspace is very important for navigating life, especially when you’re dealing with a terminal illness. It could be the difference between life and death.
Processing a terminal diagnosis
Once you’re initially diagnosed with a terminal illness it can be a hard blow to deal with. However, take the hit, and then... breathe. The first 24 hours after learning of your diagnosis can make or break you.
You can choose to take the perspective, "Why is this happening to me?!" Or you can choose: "This is happening to me, and I have to fight back. What’s next? What’s going to be my game plan?" You will have some rough days, but the rough days don’t have to have you.
For instance, each time that I’ve been diagnosed with an illness, I hear it, digest it, and try to move through it. I don’t share it with anyone until I can breathe through it without having breakthrough crying spells.
The stronger you are when sharing your diagnosis with others will determine your support system. Now, there are always going to be a few humans that will make your diagnosis about them no matter how you deliver the news. There will be some who will stop communicating with you, yet ask others how you are doing. There will be those who will try to micromanage you. They will begin to tell you what you should eat, how much water you should drink, you need to rest, and the list goes on and on and on. None of that has anything to do with you; that’s their stuff. You’re only in control of the space between your two ears, your headspace.
So make sure that your headspace is a place that you don’t mind visiting. A place that doesn’t cause you undue stress every time you have to think about what seems to be your reality. I don’t allow doctors or test results to set up minefields and triggers in my headspace. If you’re not careful, others' projections of your situation can cause you to go into a downward spiral. You don't want this to happen, emotionally or physically.
This is your journey, and your headspace is at stake. I believe you’re the captain of this ship and sink or swim, you just allow others to come along for the ride. Some people become stronger by viewing your strength. Your strength comes from your trust and belief that you’re not alone. I believe that God hasn’t put you in a place where he won’t accompany you. Once you have healthy, positive headspace, nothing can really break you. Of course, you may have moments of tremors, but you won’t have to endure emotional 8.0 earthquakes.
I can recall on several occasions where I’ve had doctor's appointments and afterward I’ve felt heavy, overwhelmed, afraid, and almost helpless. But then, I’d take a deep breath, access the situation, and regroup. I had to change my headspace. Your headspace creates your perception of reality, so make it a positive space to dwell in.
How well do your friends and family understand your diagnosis?