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Navigating A Diagnosis: A Guide for the Newly Symptomatic

The early stages of getting a diagnosis can be daunting, overwhelming, and sometimes disheartening. As someone who's been through it, I understand the emotional roller coaster and the perseverance required to navigate the healthcare system effectively.


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Recognising When to See a GP

The first step in your diagnosis journey is recognising when it's time to seek medical help, it's common to feel unsure about whether your symptoms warrant a doctor's visit. For me, it was a persistent pain that I couldn't ignore, even though I initially tried to downplay it. If you find yourself experiencing significant discomfort or unusual symptoms that persist over time, it's important to trust your instincts and consult a GP. It's easy to get caught up in the fear of worst-case scenarios, influenced by stories of others who delayed their diagnosis and faced severe consequences. However, it's crucial to approach this step with compassion for yourself and understand that acknowledging your symptoms and seeking help is a brave and necessary move.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Once you've decided to see a GP, preparation is key to making the most out of your appointment. Given the often limited time with healthcare providers, being organised can make a significant difference. Here are some practical tips to ensure you're well-prepared:

  1. Track Your Symptoms: Keep a detailed diary of your symptoms, noting their frequency, intensity, and any patterns you notice. This record can help your GP understand your situation better and provide more accurate advice or referrals.

  2. List Your Questions and Concerns: Write down any questions or concerns you have about your symptoms and potential diagnoses. This list will help you stay focused during the appointment and ensure you don't forget to address any important points.

  3. Bring Relevant Medical History: If you've had previous health issues or treatments, bring that information with you. Your medical history can provide valuable context for your GP.

The Diagnosis Journey Is A Marathon, Not a Sprint

The process of getting a diagnosis can feel like a marathon rather than a sprint, it's essential to approach it with patience and perseverance. Your journey might involve multiple appointments, tests, and possibly seeing different specialists. This phase can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you're in pain or discomfort, but it's important to stay the course.

Living in the moment and focusing on one step at a time can make the process more manageable. Avoid letting your mind race ahead to potential future outcomes; instead, concentrate on the present and the next immediate step.

Building Your Support Network

Having a strong support network is vital during this challenging time, your support can come from various sources; family, friends, colleagues, or support groups. It's important to communicate your needs and seek help from those you trust. For some, discussing health issues with family may feel natural, while others might find comfort in talking to friends or joining community support groups. The key is to identify who makes you feel supported and understood, and lean on them as you navigate your diagnosis journey.

Starting the diagnosis journey can be daunting, but remember that you're not alone, approach each step with patience, prepare thoroughly for your appointments, and build a supportive network around you. Believe in yourself and trust that your feelings and symptoms are valid and deserving of attention.


The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast

The Chronic Illness Coach Podcast challenges listeners to believe that all chronic illnesses can be put into remission. Alex is on a mission to engage, educate and empower those living with a chronic illness who want to change their life for the better. Join your host as she shares her journey of living with a chronic illness and invites expert guests to break down complex niches of health, science and wellness. Each episode is a lifeline for listeners, offering practical strategies, emotional support, and a sense of community. 

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