My First 100 Days: Part 2 Denial

February 18th I was in my optometrist’s office. I had the diagnosis from my ophthalmologist but I was looking for another answer. Something simple like needing new glasses would have been nice.

Now, I hate to be predictable, but considering the theory on grief and loss, I was totally predictable. Stage 1: denial. I was not believing my diagnosis and I was especially not believing my prognosis. What do you mean there is nothing that can be done about this?!?! There has to be something! Are you kiddin’ me????!!!!!

Denial, believe it or not, is not a bad thing. It is a coping mechanism. Denial allows you to accept a loss a little bit at a time instead of having it all crash down on you at once.

Denial only becomes bad when it becomes purposeful avoidance or escape.

According to the Grief Healing website, denial and all of the other stages of grief, don’t have a specific time limit. No one is standing there with a stopwatch telling you your time to be in denial is up. “Move on now! Time is up!” Everyone progresses – or not – at his own pace. If it is “or not” however, and your denial actually has you stuck with no forward movement at all, it might be time to see a mental health professional.

The website suggests a lot of acceptance. Facing up to evidence there has been a loss. I looked at the Mayo Clinic site and they say the same thing. Examine what you fear. Jeez, a little hard not to face what you fear when what you fear is a big, blurry hole in the middle of whatever you are looking at!

I am happy to say I probably passed the Mayo Clinic ‘test’ without even studying! Allow yourself to express your fears and emotions. I might have done that a little. (Did you hear me screaming, Australia?). Journal about your emotions? Check! Open up to trusted friends and loved ones (and the cashier in WalMart and the waitress and the random stranger in the street?). Yeah, did that.

There were a few other suggestions from the Mayo Clinic. Think about the possible negative consequences of not taking action (lose my employment, run down someone in the street for examples?), try to identify irrational beliefs about your situation (I will never be able to live a normal life again!) and join a support group. OK. So no support group but 6 out of 7 is passing.

So, denial. It is not just a river in Egypt anymore (d’Nile; get it?😁) and like d’Nile, denial is good in moderation. Just not too much of a good thing; OK?

Next: MY FIRST 100 DAYS: PART 3

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