When I was 15 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, this is a condition that I had never heard
of before and it took me at least a year to learn how to spell it, let alone say it. At the age of 15, I had
no clue what I was going to do and I didn’t cope well with my diagnosis.
Now I could sprout on about what you could do next medically but I doubt it would make any sense
as I am not a medical professional. I’m just someone who is offering advice based on what I have
learnt in the six years I have been living with my condition.
You’ve been diagnosed
So you’ve just been diagnosed with (insert your specific condition name here) and now you are
asking yourself what next? It’s not always easy when you become newly diagnosed with any
condition, especially when it’s a condition that can change your whole life.
Once the initial shock has set in, you’ll start to ask yourself every question possible. I know I did. I
asked myself questions like what could I have done to prevent this? Why didn’t I exercise more?
Maybe I shouldn’t have done this or that. These questions will not help you and will probably make
you feel ten times worse than you already do.
Do your research:
I would suggest doing research. Look into everything you can find about your condition, the NHS
website often has a wide range of information available. Also try taking to your GP, it is part of their
job to offer you as much information as they can on your condition. It isn’t enough for them to just
diagnose you anymore, ask them every question that you can think of. If after speaking to your GP
you still feel as if you need to know more, don’t hesitate in speaking to a doctor who specialises in
your condition. For example, for my condition I have rheumatologists who specialise in my kind of arthritis.
You need to ask your GP to refer you to a specialist who can offer you the best care for
your condition. Don’t alienate yourself Something that I have learned in the last couple of years is that I’m not alone. There are other
people out there who are like me and I have found ways to connect with them whether it is face-to-
face or using social media. I would defiantly suggest that you use your social media to connect with people who are in the same
boat as you. With all its downfalls, Facebook and Instagram are excellent ways to do this. Try typing
your condition/illnesses name into the search bar on both sites and search for support groups. Once
you have joined a group you don’t even have to share your own story if you don’t want to,
sometimes just reading other people’s stories will make you feel like you aren’t alone and that there
are people out there who understand what you are going through.
Talk about it.
A big change like a new diagnosis can bring about all kinds of feelings that you don’t always know
what to do with them. If like me, you aren’t big on talking about your feelings try writing about it. I
have found that blogging about my condition has helped me learn to cope with it. Even just writing a
diary of how you feel on a day-to-day basis can help. You don’t have to share what you have written,
sometimes it just helps to put pen to paper and get it out of your mind.
Talk to your friends and family, this is something that I didn’t do for a long time and I regret it. In fact
I didn’t tell my friends about my condition until a year after I was diagnosed. This isn’t something I
would recommend. At times like this, you need your friends and family more than anything.
After my diagnosis in 2013, it took me a long time to come to terms with it and actually express in
words how I was dealing with it. I’ve been writing about my condition and how I deal with it on a
day-to-day basis for over a year now and by doing so, I feel as if the massive chip on my shoulder has
been removed has been removed with each blog I write.
By: Megan Howse BloggerBee