Your Scoliosis Diagnosis – How to Cope Emotionally

Your Scoliosis Diagnosis – How to Cope Emotionally


No matter what stage of your life you are in, trying to digest your Scoliosis diagnosis is not an easy task. You may experience a roller coaster of emotions and quite often it is really difficult to accept the diagnosis. You may be thinking to yourself “Why me?”, “this isn’t fair”, “how am I going to be impacted physically”. These are all completely normal and sane thoughts given the severity of this condition.

I clearly remember when the doctor told my parents about the discovery of my Scoliosis. It was a lot to deal with as a twelve-year-old girl. My doctor planned to monitor my condition for  12-18 months to see how the Scoliosis progressed over time. Unfortunately, the curve was too advanced and surgery was my only option. You can read more about that here.

My parents were given a lot of medical advice about the Scoliosis diagnosis, but nothing was given to help me cope with the emotional and psychological effects of the Scoliosis.

I know at the beginning of my Scoliosis I felt angry- really really angry. I would often look at my older brother and younger sister and think “well they are fine, why was I the one to be dealt these cards?”. At times I guess I felt envious of their good health. It wasn’t that I wished the condition onto them, it was just that I didn’t want to be different. I didn’t want to feel like the outcast or the one with the “special condition”. I loved being active, playing netball at school etc, and I just wanted to be like all the other teenage kids that I knew and hung out with.

After living with Scoliosis for longer than I can remember, I am here to tell you that you can rise above and live a happy fulfilling life. Here are my top tips for dealing with your diagnosis.

Talk about it   

This sounds like obvious advice, but often it seems easier to ignore the Scoliosis. Feelings of denial are common, but the sooner you can find acceptance of your situation, the quicker you can begin to heal emotionally.

Find a person that you feel comfortable sharing your emotions and thoughts with, whether that is a family member, a close friend or a therapist. Discuss how you are feeling physically and emotionally. This release will feel like a load has been taken off your shoulders. Here are links to some useful organizations that can assist with Chronic conditions;

Australian Pain Managment Association   www.painmanagement.org.au

Beyond Blue Australia   www.beyondblue.org.au

Journalling 

I have found journal work to be extremely beneficial in all areas of my life. At times, you may not feel like sharing with another person and this is completely fine. The great thing about journaling is that it allows you to release the anxiety, stress and various other emotions that may be experiencing.

It is also a wonderful way to practice mindfulness. You will begin to feel calmer and relieved as you put pen to paper. Journal the emotions that you are feeling, make lists of the things in your life that you appreciate, write about your goals and aspirations, what makes you happy and so on. Try and set aside some time once a week to begin with and over time you will start to feel the benefits of this practice.

Journalling

Calm your mind

I can say from personal experience, that Meditation has changed my life. It helps me to cope with the pain that I experience, and it allows me to find stillness and peace. Its almost like I get to leave behind the Scoliosis for the 15 minutes that I am meditating.

You can start by simply setting aside 10 minutes per day (first thing in the morning is usually best as our minds are less active at this time). As you sit still and focus on your breath (counting to three as you inhale and counting to five as you exhale), you will start to feel the benefits almost immediately. I believe it is the most effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety.

If you are new to meditation, it might be easier for you to start with a guided meditation. This is where you listen to a recorded track that has a person’s voice talking you through the practice. There are lots of cd’s and app’s available these days that can help you get started.  Check out my Resources Page, where you will find my Beyond Scoliosis guided meditations as well as some of my other favourite self-help products.

Meditation

Create your own support network

A solid group of people that you can talk to and rely on is really important. I had my beautiful family and a small circle of friends that were with me throughout my surgery. Although they may have felt helpless most of the time, they did make a difference to my recovery.

Even now, later in life and 23 years after my surgery, it helps to know that people are there for me. From the outside, my body looks relatively normal so people often don’t know the pain or discomfort that I may be feeling on a particular day. My husband, Mum and sister are my greatest support. Being able to talk to them on those down days is priceless.

Change your state

When you find yourself in a moment of darkness or sadness, try your very best to change your state. You can do this by calling a friend, watching a TV show that makes you laugh, going for a walk out in nature, looking around for things to appreciate. Do whatever you can to try and divert your attention to something other than your Scoliosis. I am not suggesting that you will instantly feel on top of the world, but even if this practice is only for 10 minutes, your mind and body will feel the relief. You will feel a shift in your feelings as you change your state from a negative to a positive.


Beyond Scoliosis

The above blog post was taken with permission from Cherie’s Blog, Beyond Scoliosis. Cherie is the owner and author of Beyond Scoliosis, a blog about her experience living with Scoliosis. Here she offers techniques on how to cope with this condition physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.About


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