Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Grief of the Chronically Ill

I'm lucky that old age has been a long, slow descent. The mind has time to adjust to the fact that I'll never be able to do some things as well as I used to or in some cases ever again.

When disability strikes at younger ages the grief never goes away completely.
The grief of those with chronic health issues—for the loss of capabilities, for changed or ruptured relationships, for changes in appearance, for the forced end of a career, or for former dreams for the future—can last for long periods and recur often, as losses and uncertainty become a constant feature of life...

People who have intimate knowledge of the grief that comes with chronic health issues say it has a trajectory all its own—a trajectory that many mental-health professionals, friends and family often don’t understand. The idea that everyone goes through five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance—doesn’t ring true for many disabled people. Chronic illness, other disabilities and the grief they bring often run an unpredictable course, easing but then flaring up again, a cycle that can recur over time.  
Physical disabilities are tough enough to deal with. Combined with the emotional toll, it's nearly impossible for normals to understand what the chronically ill are going through.

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