Scoliosis – coping with your diagnosis
At whichever stage in life, coming to terms with a diagnosis of scoliosis is never easy. You may experience a roller coaster of emotions, thinking to yourself “why me?” Or “this is so unfair” many times before accepting the diagnosis. These are all completely normal and sane thought to have given how scoliosis is a condition without cure and to be managed through life.
Feeling angry or frustrated is normal too. Particularly so because the information given to you will likely be in fragments and not in line with your best interests. Your own research leaves you with more and more questions rather than easing your worries. When it comes to family, your person becomes secondary to your condition. The family wants what is best to help you with managing scoliosis, sometimes overlooking what you want for yourself. Also, they may withdraw support for you to pursue some hobbies or interests if they feel it may make your condition worse. It may feel particularly unfair if you alone out of all your family members have the condition.
With the abundance of medical advice available, look also at the emotional aspect of things. You know what to do, but have you spoken out about how you feel? About the condition? Or worries about treatment or life from here on out? Do you feel singled out or left behind? These are a few methods to help you cope.
Talk about it
What is important is to find someone who listens well. Ideally, it will be someone you are comfortable to share with, who will not smother your sharing with assurances or steamroll their point of view on you. Getting someone to understand and accept how you feel and empathise with you will fast track your healing process and take a load off your mind. Although most turn to family members or close friends, speaking to a therapist is perfectly OK too.
If talking is a bit too difficult for now, how about writing it down? Perhaps you feel that talking to someone will burden them and the guilt in doing so makes it hard for you to approach anyone. This is also normal and valid. Channel your energy by putting pen to paper. Write about how you feel. Colour in some pictures. Doodle your emotions out. List down the things you are grateful for. The simple act of putting pen to paper has therapeutic effects of releasing anxiety and reducing stress. Keeping a journal helps you see how far you’ve come emotionally/physically from your beginning, if you choose to document it.
Meditation is one of those disciplines that are life changing and has many therapeutic benefits. Peace, relaxing, stillness, a sense of leaving troubles behind, to face pain and unravel it are some of the words and terms that are commonly associated with regular meditation. For newbies, some guide apps or class may help to orient your self with the practice. Using fragrances, music and temperature may help to enhance the meditative state.
Building a support network and healthy habits
Form a core group of people to support you throughout your scoliosis journey and in cultivating the habits to manage your condition. We all have ups and downs but having this network to rely on to snap you out of a funk or have a good cry with is invaluable. Additionally, they can laugh with you over shared memories much later in life.
When you find yourself spiralling into ‘dark and twisty’, try your best to change your state of mind. Turn that negative energy into productivity and divert your attention away from scoliosis. Negativity may linger with attention and ignoring it so acknowledge it but don’t wallow in it anymore than necessary.