Changes in Health
Good health is believed by many to be our most precious possession, and often something we fully expect and even take for granted – until something threatens your good health. Changes in our health can happen to anyone at any age. The change can be sudden, resulting from an accident, heart attack, or traumatic event, or come on gradually. Some health changes can be fleeting and more of an annoyance, while others require great strength and hard work from which to recover (physical therapy or treatments, for example). Some health issues can be chronic and require a life-long adjustment while others are life-threatening. If you’ve experienced a change in your health – especially a major change that is disrupting your life or your ability to enjoy life as you once did – then it is quite possible that you have also experienced the accompanying grief that comes with the loss from these health challenges.
Symptoms & signs of grief from changes in your health
- Extreme sadness
- Inability to carry out daily tasks
- Obsession with your condition, injury, or diagnosis
- Feelings of unrelenting anger
- Withdrawing from others
- Desire to withdraw and “give up”
- Thoughts of suicide
- Shock, confusion
- Lowered self-esteem
- Participating in self-destructive behaviours (alcohol or substance use, for example)
- Lack of appetite or overeating
- Digestive problems
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feeling achy
- Excessive crying
- Lower immunity
When is it time to get help?
If you are experiencing a change in your health, you’re likely feeling the symptoms of grief and possibly anxiety and depression as well, especially if you’re dealing with a serious, debilitating, or terminal diagnosis. If the symptoms of grief (or anxiety or depression) are affecting your life, relationships, or the ability to enjoy your life – then it is time to get help for the mental health issues that are accompanying your physical health challenges.
NOTE: You can feel this same kind of grief about changes in the health of a loved one as well.
Grief from changes in your health treatment methods
There are many different treatment methods that your therapist may discuss with you. Treatment may depend on what issues you are facing. For example, if you’re feeling depressed, then treatment for depression will be the best course of action. If you’re experiencing anxiety, then those treatments make the most sense. Each individual has unique circumstances – together with your therapist, you’ll find the best treatment method for your needs. In general, some treatments that have been shown to be effective for grief include:
- Grief work therapy refers to the methods used in counselling that help people to grieve loss and understand their emotions associated with the loss in a healthy way, with the ultimate goal of moving forward.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Person centered therapy differs from more traditional therapeutic approaches in the belief that, while the therapist has expertise in many areas, the client is the expert on themselves and their lived experiences. People are essentially trustworthy and have a vast potential for understanding themselves while also being able to ultimately resolve their own problems when guided properly.
- Narrative therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses narratives and/or client’s stories to help people separate themselves from their problems, believing that the person isn’t the problem; the problem is the problem.
- Faith based therapy is using science-based therapeutic techniques that are administered by a therapist with similar spiritual beliefs or an understanding of those beliefs. This is not based on any one religion or spiritual belief.
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a treatment method that’s similar to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) but emphasizes building skills to manage stress, emotional response and regulation, mental health issues, and the psycho-social aspects of relationship building.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
Dealing with challenges in your physical health has implications on your mental wellness too. We can help you to alleviate the psychological issues that only make the physical conditions worse. We can help you to feel some control at a time when it may feel like you have none. We can teach you coping skills to help you in your healing process from your physical condition or to adapt to your new normal.
Insight has therapists who specialize in grief and loss and can provide you with in-person, online, or telephone counselling. Contact us to learn more or to book an appointment.