How to Navigate a Diagnosis Without a Good Support System
A diagnosis can change everything. Suddenly, we’re thrust into a new world of doctors' appointments, treatments, and lifestyle changes. And while having a sound support system, in general, is essential, it's especially crucial after a diagnosis.
But what happens when that support system just isn’t there? Here are some tips on navigating change when we don't have a sound support system after getting diagnosed.
1. I gradually built my support system
Just because I didn't have a pre-existing support system doesn't mean I couldn't create one. There are plenty of people in the same boat—-I just needed to find them. There are online forums, Facebook groups, and even in-person support groups for nearly every condition imaginable.
If there isn’t one that currently fits our needs, we can start our own. Sometimes others seek the very thing we think is missing in the wording. By creating that outlet to openly discuss our experiences and feelings, we can make an incredible difference in this world and the lives of others.
2. I sought out trusted healthcare professionals to answer questions
It can be challenging to sift through all the information (and misinformation) out there about diagnoses and treatments. So it's important to find doctors and other medical professionals we trust. Ones who will take the time to answer questions and address concerns.
This might mean taking time to find the right doctor that can provide the support that we need. While there are some logistical and insurance considerations to keep in mind, working with a healthcare professional who takes our health concerns seriously is vital. Remember that we’re in charge of our health care, so self-advocacy is critical.
3. I made time for self-care, both mentally and physically
This is easier said than done, of course. But remembering to care for ourselves is just as important as seeking treatment for our condition. That may come from taking personal time off, setting a reminder to go to sleep, or even prioritizing nutrient-dense foods.
The point is that taking care of our mental and physical needs is more than just a “spa” day. Even though I appreciate a spa day like the next person, that's not always an option for us. However, making time for self-care supports our mental and physical health by ensuring that we’re prepared to deal with whatever comes our way.
A diagnosis can be tough to navigate
Especially if we don't have a great support system in place already. But don't lose hope! There are plenty of ways to get the support we need, even if it means creating our support system from scratch. Seeking out trustworthy healthcare professionals, making time for self-care, and reaching out to those who understood what I was going through are just a few things that have worked for me.
What tip has helped you navigate this new chapter in your life? Please share it below.
Do you live with any other conditions in addition to AS? (choose all that apply)