After a diagnosis: Why do I feel numb?

Numbness doesn’t mean you’re a coward.

There are no safe guards in this life.

Just because someone suffers from lupus, doesn’t mean they can’t get diagnosed with appendicitis.

Last week my mum who has type 1 diabetes and multiple chronic illnesses was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

It’s not fair.

And that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be.

I’m going to try not to make this post a mere outpouring of my raw emotions, because that is neither helpful for others, nor in line with the tradition of this blog.

That said, such a diagnosis WILL impact my writing, and it’s not something I can keep quiet about. Partly because it’s real and leaking into every corner of my life, and partly because I hold out the hope that my reflections might help others going through similar trials.

At the moment I’m in the numb stage.

It sort of doesn’t seem real. How can this be happening to my own mum?

Continue reading “After a diagnosis: Why do I feel numb?”

3 reasons it is good to be sad after a chronic illness diagnosis

Who wants to be sad? No one. But what if it is actually a good thing?

I don’t like being sad. Do you?

Being sad means I no longer feel like laughing at someone’s joke or daydreaming in the sun. Being sad can mean I get headaches from crying, or find it difficult to concentrate during lectures, sermons or long conversations.

And yet, the truth is, when tragedy strikes our loved ones, it can actually be helpful to be sad.

Here’s why.

Continue reading “3 reasons it is good to be sad after a chronic illness diagnosis”

The 3 dangers of being sad after a chronic illness diagnosis

Sadness is valid but does that make it a good response to tragedy? Well… maybe not.

Sadness after a chronic illness diagnosis, that’s valid, right? We said it was here.

It’s a good thing… yes?

Well – sort of.

The 3 dangers of being sad after a chronic illness diagnosis

Continue reading “The 3 dangers of being sad after a chronic illness diagnosis”

What I learnt when I cried in church

I cried and ran out of church… only to find laughter.

We’ve looked at why it’s okay to cry in public and also how to respond. Now this is my story…

My story of public grief (and what it taught me about God and chronic illness)

I hesitate to share this. It’s personal. It’s ‘deep’… and this is in itself is normally an indicator that I shouldn’t post it on the World Wide Web.

Continue reading “What I learnt when I cried in church”

How to cope with grief in a public place

It’s one thing to say it’s ok to cry, and quite another to know what to do when you start crying!

I like practical answers. If something uncomfortable has to happen, I want to know how I can fix it (or, preferably, avoid it). And so, fellow Watchers, what do we do when we find ourselves crying in church?

Is this a silly question?

What do I do when I find myself crying? Is this even a question that needs to be answered? I think it is.

Why? Because weeping in public is not a common occurrence in Western culture. We generally try to avoid it – and so when we weep in public it is because we are overcome with grief. Tears take us by surprise; we are unprepared.

And personally, I’d rather not be. So let’s think about it now, before we find ourselves in that situation. What should we do when we find ourselves overcome with emotion in public place?

Continue reading “How to cope with grief in a public place”

Why I think it’s okay to grieve in church

Crying in a public place? You should avoid that. No one wants streaked mascara…

Grieving in front of people is not something we’re particularly good at in my culture. Weeping often happens behind closed doors, or in the arms of a loved one. Yet when a diagnosis of chronic illness enters our lives, or the lives of our family members, it’s impossible to avoid public places, and often just as impossible to avoid tears!

As Christians, church is a public sphere where we may find it hard to contain our grief. But should we be trying?

I don’t think so.

4 Reasons we grieve chronic illness in public

1. We grieve chronic illness in public because we care

Continue reading “Why I think it’s okay to grieve in church”

What to do when chronic illness makes you angry

Where do you turn when suffering makes you angry?

Perhaps your father has been diagnosed with cancer, or your mother with Alzeimer’s, and you’re angry. Angry at everyone: the doctors, yourself, the people around you, the sick person, and most of all, God.

So what do we do? Smash a few windows? Yell? Break down into tears? What’s the appropriate response? Is there one?

How do you cope with anger after a chronic illness diagnosis?

What happens when we’re angry at a situation but don’t want to be?

Anger is harmful

Continue reading “What to do when chronic illness makes you angry”