5 Stages of Grief that Come With a New Medical Diagnostics

Grief can be a devastating experience. It doesn’t just affect those who have experienced loss in the past.

You can go through stages of grief; as a result, any major life event.

Many disabled or chronically ill people find it difficult to grieve after receiving a new diagnosis. Chronic illness can cause complex grief. The cycle of grief can restart every time a new problem presents itself.

According to Elizabeth Kubler Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, we will be looking at the five stages of grief. However, we will also examine our relationship to our bodies and what it means to grieve.

Denialism Grief is a stage that many people are familiar with.

Simply put, denial is the act or inaction of rejecting reality. Because of major life changes, denial is often the first stage of grief. The mind and body must work together to deal with the situation.

There are many signs that your body is alerting you to a medical problem. These signals could include flare-ups, worsening pain, new symptoms or any other daily disturbances you may be observing.

Although you may know that you are entering into a new relationship regarding your health when you have a new medical issue or receive a diagnosis, it is common for people to experience denial before they can begin to feel what it is.

You might not believe the whole truth at the beginning of the grief cycle.

You can tell your body and mind that this is not happening. This will help you to reduce the emotional stress of grief.

As a way of coping, you might try to downplay the severity.

  • rejecting pain
  • Ignoring symptoms
  • You can hide symptoms from your loved ones
  • Pushing through health issues as if everything is fine
  • Doubt yourself and the validity of your concerns

It might seem difficult for those without chronic conditions to grasp why denial is an important first step in dealing with medical trauma. We want to find out what is wrong. We want to fix it.

These questions can be answered with a yes answer. We want an explanation and, in a dream world, a solution. It’s not so simple.

Most chronic conditions are not permanent and offer only symptomatic treatment. The reality of time kicks in when you get a new diagnosis or are still waiting for one with continuing symptoms. The timeline can change.

You realize that you don’t need a name to explain the pain, symptoms or sleeplessness. Once you have identified the root cause of your problem, the next step is to treat it.

This next step may seem impossible, however. Chronic illnesses are a case in point.

To cope with the new reality, even if it’s been waiting for a diagnosis, explanation, or someone telling you that they believe you, you may enter the denial stage. This is to convince yourself that it’s not so bad. It’s not real.

You can be happy if you are currently in denial about the state of your health. Give yourself the time to process the situation if you are able fully.

It is possible to make a list of all the facts, such as “I felt pain today,” or “The doctor said I had a tumour,” and then wait for bloodwork results to see if they feel real.

It is possible to set aside time to read a book or watch a movie in your day. Breaks are a great way for you to allow yourself to process the changes in your life and make them less overwhelming.


Whether at yourself or your doctors, or the world, anger is another strong emotion you may experience.

Anger can signify that you are beginning to see the truth of your situation. However, this does not necessarily mean you are ready to accept it.

Sometimes it’s easier to vent at others than it is to grieve for yourself.

The doctor who failed to listen to you sooner The receptionist who booked your appointment after a long day at work. Parking lot without any spots? It was their fault.

You might also turn inward, especially if denial has been experienced previously.

It’s possible to wonder why you waited so long before reporting symptoms changes or getting your medication refilled. This can lead to self-hatred that can seriously affect your mental and physical health.

Please take a moment to notice what anger is and how it feels. Anger is an important step in grieving. It allows you to feel again and also helps you examine your feelings about the situation.

You can feel ready to let go of your anger. You can use many coping strategies to help you deal with these strong emotions. These include art therapy and venting to friends. Mindfulness is another option.

Remember: Anger feelings can come back up during the grief cycle. Recognize the sensations and think about how they are manifesting. Are you clenching your jaw? Has your tone changed? You can take stock of your emotions and reconnect with your body when you are frustrated.


Depression and grief often go hand in hand.

Depression and other mental conditions can often confuse or muddle symptoms in chronically ill patients. Chronic pain can be made worse by depression.

How can you tell if your symptoms are due to depression or another medical condition?

Let’s first note that regardless of where your symptoms originate — whether they are physical, emotional, or mental — they are valid.

Many chronically ill people are labeled “attention seekers” because they don’t believe in their bodies and symptoms. This makes grieving more difficult.

Be aware that no matter your feelings, there is a community that can help you.

It can be difficult to advocate for yourself in this time of grief. It might seem futile to continue searching for a treatment or diagnosis. It’s possible to wish that all these problems would disappear.

Counseling is often required for depression. These resources can be used to assist you in times of crisis.

Bargaining or negotiating

This stage is where you will find the “what ifs.”

What if the doctor is incorrect? What if I did something different (diet, exercise medicine, therapy, surgery etc.) What if I had gotten to the specialist earlier?

Although this is not the same as a denial where you try to ignore reality, it can feel very similar because you imagine all the possible outcomes.

Although you cannot change the past or predict the future, negotiating with your healthcare can help you deal with this new reality.

Many chronically ill patients still have to work with their limitations to “complete” the grieving stage. The bargaining stage of grief, in this sense, can reoccur as our health evolves.


Acceptance is the final stage of grief.

Acceptance of reality. Acceptance of the pain. Acceptance that your relationship with your body may be different now.

Research shows that coping with chronic pain can reduce the severity of your emotional and physical pain.

Accepting it means you accept it without judgment. You can then use coping strategies and other treatments to alleviate the pain.

Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean you should be content with what’s happening to your body or health. Acceptance doesn’t have to be synonymous with contentment.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed, angry, and depressed about your situation.

Our relationship with our bodies is complex and intimate.

Although a new diagnosis or concern may restart the grieving process, acceptance is something we are always striving for.

It isn’t very comforting to realize that our bodies are not controlling us. No matter how much stems or hard work we do, we can’t make pain or illness disappear.

We can learn to accept the grief cycle and recognize that feelings of loss are temporary. We can learn to forgive ourselves and be kind to one another.

It is okay to be mad, messy, and human.

Although these feelings and experiences can make us feel vulnerable, they allow us to find strength. We always find a way out of any difficulty.


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