How does bad news about our health affect us?

January 28, 2011

One of the blogs I follow is Belinda Brasley’s, ‘Losing vision, Gaining insight…’¬†Her journey with low vision is so parallel with my own that it is at times uncanny…. She puts into words my own experiences, including how she feels about low mobility training, using a cane, and other aids to adapt to losing one’s eyesight. Today, her post addresses how she felt at the news of having lost even more vision after being stable for some period of time. It made me think about how any kind of bad news about our health can drain us¬†emotionally and physically.

In part, we go through a number of stages when dealing with bad news about our health. It takes some time to understand and it can make us angry. We need to grieve about what we have lost. We need to understand what it means for all the other parts of our lives, including relationships and plans we had for the future–work and play. Gilotti, Thompson, and McNeilus wrote about how bad news delivery is perceived in a 2002 article in Social Science and Medicine In short, it is not a good time for small talk. And it is probably not the best time to go into a lot of information about the situation. As I said, it takes some time… Being ready for all of that information will be an important part of managing the bad news.

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One Response to “How does bad news about our health affect us?”

  1. Joey DeBernardis says:

    I feel that with this post the stages of change can be seen. This post sums up what could happen when communicating bad news about ones health. First in the precontemplation stage, ones awareness on the topic is discovered. As mentioned in the blog, there is no time for small talk. You want to be able to get to the point and stay away from dragging on the news. Contemplation is the next stage and deals with expressing a problem and recommending a practice. With this post you could relate it by getting the bad news, taking it in, try and understand the process of what is going on, and then get recommended for a practice. In the preparation stage, your health effects need to be considered. These include long and short term effects. How will this news effect the person’s lifestyle. Will things be changed drastically or is it something that wont be much different in the persons life. Action is when the person commits to a behavior change. Because of the bad news, something new must happen in order to get better. I use the vision example in this post to relate. Because her vision is bad, what are the new conditions she must put into action to not let this problem effect her that much. Finally maintenance is when the patient “rewards” themselves. In this stage you want to get as much information on the news that you have as you can. Learn about it, become an expert on the topic. It will only benefit you as a whole.

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