Our identities are closely tied to our bodies, and our ability to experience life as we know it. Whether you have experienced a gradual loss of health or a sudden illness or injury, a serious diagnosis can create feelings of helplessness, disappoint- ment, confusion, and devastation.
Grieving Your Loss Due to Life-Changing Illness or Injury
Maybe you’ve never thought of an illness or injury as a loss to be grieved. But when you take a closer look at how life has changed, you may feel like you’ve lost parts of yourself, or even have been betrayed by your body. In some ways this type of loss is a combination of the loss of a loved one and a breakup due to betrayal. You may not feel like yourself, you may mourn what used to be. It’s important that you see this as a true loss and give yourself the time and space to grieve.
Allowing yourself to feel the sadness, the anger, and the disappointment will help ease the struggle. Looking closely at the ripple effect of this loss on your functioning and your life and relationships will give you back control and help you plan. By examining what you have lost, you can make adjustments and can see more clearly where you can control the process.
Healing Your Loss Due to Life-Changing Illness or Injury
Part of healing is gratitude. In the healing phase of your Afterwards Journey, you will begin to look back at healthier days with a sense of gratefulness for what you were able to do when your body was whole. Doing this allows you to learn to accept your body now. You’ll also discern what you’re still able to do and how to maximize those strengths. During this time you’ll learn how to pace yourself, care for your body as a sacred part of yourself, and set boundaries so that you can function as fully as possible.
Recreating Your Life After Loss Due to Life-Changing Illness or Injury
As you heal through this loss you will develop new coping and self-care techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, massage, etc., that can help you manage the physical pain and the emotional grief around your condition. You’ll learn how to be your own best advocate with your medical providers. Most of all. you’ll come to a place of acceptance of WHAT IS now. You’ll embrace fully what you CAN do instead of feeling like your body falls short. You’ll find new and creative ways to enjoy life and will find new ways to bring purpose and meaning to your life.