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Planning for Fear with a Diagnosis

When we are living and planning our lives we assume we will be here to complete our plans, to reach our goals, to live a life as we want. But what happens when plans are interrupted by a health challenge? Suddenly all of our plans, goals, and dreams are in flux.

No person is immortal. We know that on an intellectual level, but we usually don’t think about it on a daily basis. The complexities of our lives and our everyday routines allow it to stay in the back of our minds.

When faced with something like a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, is it possible to get back to the comfortable level we had before? To push dying back to the place it held in our heads before being diagnosed?

Talking and thinking about dying is usually something we all try to avoid. For some people they have an uncommon fear of death. Thanatophobia is a term used for fear of death or fear of the dying process. This fear can lead to anxiety. Treatment for this condition focuses on learning to refocus the fears, and talking about your feelings and concerns. Some of the symptoms of this anxiety based condition are panic attacks, dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, stomach pain, and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. 

When diagnosed with a new medical condition these symptoms could be attributed to the new diagnosis. When the symptoms are sorted out and anxiety is suspected, it will help the person to speak with someone and talk about their fears.

It can be a challenge for many people to obtain a balance between living and being consumed with anxiety that you cannot enjoy the present. Once people are diagnosed, they often ask how long do I have? The answer usually depends on the stage of the disease, what kind of physical shape you are in, and what you want. That is the intellectual answer. Emotionally, many people don’t hear any of it because they are overwhelmed with anxiety at the thought of dying.

Recognizing that anxiety is a part of the diagnosis of any serious health challenge, and one that needs to be treated as well as the physical symptoms of the disease, will lead to a healthy approach. The goal is to live as best you can both physically and emotionally.

We all strive for balance. Balance with accepting what life challenges us with, and dealing with those challenges, to live our healthiest lives both physically and emotionally.

Help is available. Talk to someone. Reach out to Belluck & Fox today if you’ve been diagnosed and need assistance.

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