When you are first diagnosed with any life-threatening disease, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the decisions you have to make.
Sometimes you might make the conscious decision NOT to make any more decisions until you have more information, or until you’ve talked to that friend who has been through it. Sometimes you feel absolutely frozen in fear and can’t make any decisions at all, what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King termed “the paralysis of analysis”. Good turn of phrase!
Getting past that immobilization can sometimes be difficult. I would encourage you to do just that, however, because there is nothing worse than paralysis in the face of a threat. You must have a plan for dealing with the threat. You will notice, in the coming weeks and months, that as you face the fact of your diagnosis you begin to observe that life goes on, even with this threat hanging over you.
I have some recommendations on getting through the decision making time.
4 Ways to Help You Move Beyond the Paralysis
- If a lack of information or understanding about the path you need to take is holding you back, talk to your doctor. Talk to me. Discuss it with that friend who has been through breast cancer. Do some searches on the Internet (but don’t dwell too long there because the misinformation out there is alarming sometimes), or have a friend do the searches for you. Don’t let lack of information hold you back – we live in the age of technology when information is in abundance.
- If fear is holding you back, talk to a therapist. Discussing your plight with a neutral party can often be extraordinarily helpful.
- If anxiety is keeping you from making the necessary decisions, and if you don’t know how to meditate, learn. There is nothing more calming, more grounding, and more helpful than meditation to calm anxiety. It will also help you with your treatments for the disease. Meditation will help you focus on the problem at hand and help you make your decision for the right reasons and when you are calm and thoughtful.
- Seek solitude. A long walk along the beach or a river often helps because the atmosphere surrounding places with water is full of negative ions, which help you feel better. It can help to clear your mind and put things in perspective.
Psychology Today offers us this tasty little bit of advice: “You can practice confident decision-making by remembering a simple dictum over and over: You cannot have certainty and you don’t need it. By accepting that no certainty exists and that you don’t need it, you’ll instead harness intuition and, by extension, confidence.”
Decisions are an inevitable part of being human. It requires the right attitude. Every problem, properly perceived, becomes an opportunity.
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