Editor’s note: “Need to Know” is a series inspired by common forum questions and comments from readers. Have a comment or question about MS? Visit our forum. This week’s question is inspired by the forum post “An Open Letter to a Newly Diagnosed Patient” and this column by John Connor, both published on Aug. 9, 2019. Share your concerns, questions, or experiences in the comments below or at the original forum entry.
I’ve written previously about embracing life with MS and all its uncertainty.
Easy for me to say. I was formally diagnosed with MS seven years ago. Living with MS and learning how to deal with it requires time and space, just like the diagnosis.
If you’re newly diagnosed, you haven’t been gifted that time and space yet; you’re just living with the mysteries.
The biggest mystery of all is how to endure the emotional roller coaster of a new diagnosis.
This demands a discussion (or a refresher for some) about the stages of grief, a theory introduced in 1969 by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in the book “On Death and Dying.”
Not that MS will kill any of us anytime soon. But living in our “New Normal” can leave us with legitimate existential, physical, and emotional losses that require grieving.
The five stages
If you’re newly diagnosed, the speed in which you cycle through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance may be quick, or it may take some time. Just like MS itself, each grieving process will be specific to the person facing the loss.
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