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Accepting Our Diagnosis

Accepting any type of diagnosis can be a difficult task. Everyone wishes to go through life without any major medical diagnoses. Unfortunately for the majority of us, that is just wishful thinking. Like any other diagnosis, sleep apnea brings a set of life adjustments.

One of the first hurdles we must overcome is accepting our sleep apnea diagnosis. This is something I probably struggled with when I received it back in my teen years. Actually, the struggle happened for all of my diagnoses over my life. I will stick to just sleep apnea for this article.

The adjustment period

Anytime we are faced with a new challenge, whether it be health-related or even a life event, there is an adjustment period. In order to overcome these challenges, we need to accept our circumstances.

I firmly believe the faster we can accept our diagnosis, the faster we can get busy treating it. I don't think most of us take our sleep apnea seriously quickly enough. 

I believe this is due to the fact that our apneas happen while we sleep. When we can't actively see something, it's easier to ignore it. Committing yourself to treatment from the get-go will be in your best interest.

Acknowledging our human nature

I think it's human nature to dream or envision that someday we won't need a particular therapy or even have to deal with our physical alignments. I tend to do this when it comes to my spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) diagnosis.

I dream of a day when I would be able to get up and not need any physical assistance to go about my day. I wouldn't say that means I haven't accepted my SMA diagnosis, but I do spend time wondering what it would be like if I didn't have it.

When it comes to my sleep apnea diagnosis, I never really think about a day where I wouldn't need my CPAP. After 20+ years of using it, it has been ingrained as a normal thing in my life.

Restless nights remind me of acceptance

There have been a handful of nights where I wasn't able to use CPAP due to a power outage. Those are restless nights for me. I wake up with a headache, sore throat from snoring, and I am extremely tired.

I believe those types of restless nights are a great reminder for me and my body that I need CPAP to feel rested. This has helped me accept my sleep apnea and CPAP. I regret not accepting this when I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea. Until I started using CPAP every night, I was fighting off a list of side effects.

Have you accepted your sleep apnea?

I am always curious about people's thoughts and experiences. Have you struggled with accepting your sleep apnea? If so, why? If you are someone who has accepted your diagnosis, what has been your process to acceptance?

If you are someone who has yet to start your CPAP therapy after your sleep apnea diagnosis, ask yourself if you have accepted this new health challenge. Acceptance may be a key to getting started.

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