It’s Not Always So

“At any given moment you have the power to say this is NOT how the story is going to end. ” ~ Author Unknown

Many of us have received or know someone who has received a serious medical diagnosis. Perhaps a terminal pronouncement. Even with access to second and possibly more professional opinions, despair and resignation often sets in.

This post is not intended as a substitute for medical advice and treatment. And I’m not advocating self-diagnosis. What I am trying to create awareness around is that you are not always your diagnosis. To significant extents, in some cases, one’s physical and mental wellness is more about perspective, choice, and mind-set.

A diagnosis is inherently a label that denotes that sickness or pathology is present. Invariably, a diagnosis is then associated with negative emotional responses and assumptions, which stimulate stress responses to varying degrees.

In reality, a diagnosis reflects an imbalance in the body that is caused by a variety of factors – genetics and lifestyle behaviors being just two of them. When someone understands they are not their diagnosis, nor are they prisoners to it, they start the process of breaking free from limiting beliefs and labels. This opens the door to the possibility that a positive outcome is possible.

Illness and life problems can be reckoned with and other options for outcomes are possible. People have a choice about how they are going to go about handling their challenge(s).

Modern (Western) medicine offers success rates for recovery greater than ever before, even for serious illnesses. Some situations that would have been considered hopeless are now viewed as fairly commonplace, with patients routinely surviving and thriving. Even with medical advancements, though, there are still conditions where modern medicine holds no promise of recovery. For these patients, as well as those who simply prefer to explore treatment outside the medical mainstream, there is an ever-growing arena of alternative medicine approaches.

Given that “it’s not always so,” there are many things one can do if diagnosed with a serious ailment. Among them, these three:

  1. Do what makes you happy first. Sometimes one can feel like they’re going through days on autopilot. That can get tedious and depressing. Consider starting the day off on a positive note by engaging in an enjoyable activity. This can completely shift one’s outlook and lift the spirit.
  2. Help someone else. Take the focus away from you and do something nice for another person. It can take your mind off of more challenging things and you’ll likely feel better helping someone else.
  3. Take timeย to strengthen/rejuvenate your mind and body. The treatment road ahead could be grueling and you’ll want to be in good physical and emotional condition. Go on long hikes in the mountains, eat super healthy foods, and meditate. Picture yourself (if the patient is you) healthy and visualize good strong blood cells destroying whatever has invaded your body.

There is truth to the saying “mind over body.” Augmenting positive beliefs with positive lifestyle changes, can yield amazing outcomes. I know this.

37 thoughts on “It’s Not Always So

  1. I’m a firm believer that a positive outlook can help in so many ways. The more you wallow, the worse you will feel.

  2. I’m reminded of Terry McBride’s story and how he overcame incredible odds (book: The Hell I Can’t). Or Joe Dispenza’s recovery. Both recovered by the proper use of their minds.

    But these are just two cases that come to mind. Two people who wrote books about their challenges. How many more people out there who recover but don’t go on to write a book about it? Thousands? Millions?

    And like “you are not your diagnosis,” we have to fully believe we are not our conditions (financial, romantic, health, etc.). As many have said, “just change your story!”

    Sit down and right out a different story for yourself. Yup. It’s probably going to be a lie, but in the words of Napoleon Hill, “what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Believe in the “new story,” and one’s world changes to make it so.

    Nice post, Eric. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Exactly, Michael. How many others have chosen to change their story yet never shared their story. I advocate often for self-belief and this is just another life facet in which people can take charge. And effect desired change. I know you’re all over this (in good ways) and appreciate your adding to the conversation here. Thanks!

  3. I’ve known terminally ill patients with a positive attitude and determination for life who’ve outlived the “expected” time period by many years which I attribute to these factors as the doctors had said they could do know more than keep them comfortable. There are times it really is mind over matter.

    • I believe many of us know these people who have overcome a diagnosis by sheer will, a burning desire to live, and a mindset that won’t have it any other way. Here’s to the brave and committed people who have fought and won! Thanks for your share, Suzi.

  4. Change your beliefs (about yourself and therefore others), changes your attitude and your life. Healing by any other name….
    Lovely post, Eric.

  5. I strongly believe that our attitude affects our health and well being. Your suggestions are excellent. The main thing is to keep enjoying life every day and not let the diagnosis rule!

    • From the comments shared it seems many of us are of like view on this, Don. Healing can be what we want it to be and the positive outlook you cite, simply boosts the outcome. Thank you, returned!

    • I wish I had your name to properly address you. Please do share it, if comfortable.

      Thank you for stopping by and creating time to read and comment on the post. I agree with and appreciate your kind remarks.

  6. Great post, and your thoughts here align just where I find myself personally in life. Mindful living, positive daily choices, and steering one’s own ship through life’s waves and stormsโ€ฆmake all the difference in one’s happiness. Am so glad to have found your blog through comments on another blog I follow. Following ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. The thoughts we think are ally or enemy on the road to recovery. The Miracle Man learned to breathe without a diaphragm ( a physical impossibility) and walked out of the hospital when all doctors told him he would never walk again.

    And, even if it really IS the end of the road, you might as well enjoy it.

    • I won’t get on my soapbox about doctors as many of them are purely well-intentioned and have patients wellness as their #1 priority. But they are not always correct and open to encouraging patients to explore other possible solutions. Case in point: Th Miracle Man (and countless others). We often don’t give our mind credit for its healing capacity. Nice share, Nancy.

  8. Think yourself sick and fulfill the prophecy, so to speak.

    I’ve known a lot of people like this. One girl comes to mind who has gotten it into her head that she’s mentally ill. True, she has some behavioral problems but that label her therapist put on her became part of her identity. The same can be true with the obese, the addict, the cancer victim. I expect it’s also true about how we view ourselves as we age. Which ties back to the main theme of your blog.

    Another nice reminder, Eric.

    • I believe you are spot on, Steven. Labels, like words, can be misleading and damaging. If people would simply come to terms with who they are, the personal gifts they possess, and choose how they intend to be, there would likely be a lot of shedding — of tears, skins, beliefs and anchors.

      Thanks for adding your sound perspectives.

  9. This is a very insightful and helpful view into the world of labels, both inside and outside the world of medicine. I would like to preface my next comment by stating that I fully embrace the spirit of your post and its application to those individuals who have been labeled with a diagnosis in the medical field.

    However, I would like to suggest that not only do these symptoms and solution apply in the world of medicine, but in everything we encounter in our daily lives. Too many times, we are labeled or diagnosed, fit into a tidy and well-formed box that attempts to explain exactly why it is that we are the way we are. Whether in the world of career choices, romantic relationships, friendships, the list goes on and on, society has chosen to bin us into neat rows in an attempt to provide conformity to the uniqueness that is all around us.

    Let’s remove all labels from this materialistic world, medicinal and otherwise, and allow each individual to be just that, an individual. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful message even though I have taken it in a slightly different direction ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Had time and word count permitted, I would have taken this exactly where you have, Dave. Given their frequency, I try to limit my posts to between 400-500 words. That self-imposed boundary disallowed me (at least in a substantive manner) from expanding on the theme and intent.

      Thank you for taking the message just where it needed to be and crafting your sentiments and invitation so thoughtfully. I appreciate your contributing!

  10. Nice, I have always been an optimist…at times almost to a fault. However, I also try to create a healthy balance and understand the science/stats about ‘reality’ as well, and in health that is very important ~ but the mind is the best healer in the world (both physically and psychologically). I like how you say such thinking boosts the outcome…so true.

    • I hear and appreciate your “healthy balance” view, Randall. I strive to modulate within realistic ranges too. For those of us who value and nurture our intuition, our personal beliefs, and our overall wellness, I am okay with being periodically skeptical of modern (Western) medicine and its, at times, narrow approaches.

      As one with knowledge of and an affinity for Asia, I suspect you can appreciate alternative methods by which people have been healed, physically and otherwise, for centuries. Over simplifying the topic, I am just a big believer in heart and mind healing (and don’t ask me what that is because I don’t have a cogent response). ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Very true, I have become a great believer of Traditional Chinese Medicine (natural ingredients and methods). There is a time & place for both.

    • I think you have us mixed up. You are the angel, Linda!. Thank you for your beautiful acknowledgment of this humble blog. To the extent that its messages have resonated with you (and perhaps, others), I am appreciative.

      • you are very welcome and I am not so sure that I am an angel ๐Ÿ™‚ I think your messages are important and presented really well. I sense your commitment and values. It is all good.

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