Coming home from the doctor’s office with a diagnosis in hand is confusing. Maybe it’s a point of relief, after years of knowing you’ve had something and never being taken seriously? The reaction can be a mixed bag! But if you weren’t expecting the doctor to have to tell you anything, there’s a good chance you’re panicking right now. What does this diagnosis mean? How is it going to affect your life? What do you do now to stay in the prime of health? Here are some tips on staying practical.

Don’t Keep it a Secret

If you keep it to yourself and bottled up, it’ll have power over you. You’ll always be afraid of it, especially if you’re concerned about saying something out loud. People can feel that issues ‘become real’ when they do so, but the more we try to hide something, the harder this fear is going to be to overcome.

There Will Be Others Who Have Gone Through This

You’re never going to be alone in dealing with a diagnosis, no matter how troubling. Even rare diseases are going to have a few other patients you can reach out to! This is one of the most important things to keep in mind about what a doctor has told you; there’s going to be a support group, or a charity, or a hospital sponsored program you can sign up to receive services from. Don’t try to fight off or live with something alone; there are people out there who want to help, and it’s not a bad thing to take them up on this offer.

You Can Rely on Living Aids

Living aids can be numerous and work for a variety of diagnoses and disorders. Hearing aids are number one on the list of tips for living with hearing loss; devices like these can help you get used to a new way of living. You just need to be brave enough to use them in return. Ask your doctor about getting the aids that are right for you, or enquire after potential aids that you might be entitled to.

Be Kind to Yourself

It doesn’t work to beat yourself up about a diagnosis. Thoughts along the lines of, ‘if I’d done this things would be different’, or, ‘maybe I should have taken better care of X part of my body’, are simply unhelpful. It’s normal to have some regrets right now, and talking to a therapist about this could do you some good, but don’t let these be the only thoughts you have.

From here on out you need to be kind to yourself and give yourself a break. Simple acceptance of a diagnosis is much better for you than railing against it and letting yourself fall into denial. This is easier said than done, we know! But it’s an important thing to remember going forward.

If you’ve got health panic after an unexpected diagnosis, let tips like these help you feel right.