Having a chronic illness shares many of the same features as suffering the death of a loved one. Both types of experiences are initially accompanied by intense feelings of shock. We try to convince ourselves that our new reality is, in fact, not true after all.
Typically, there is anger about the loss of our formerly vital self when we encounter physical symptoms that cruelly persist. We frequently go through periods of intense mourning, grieving the loss of who we used to be, as well as what we were previously capable of performing.
Hopefully, as time elapses, we achieve a degree of acceptance about our new reality. Optimal coping is characterized by focusing on what we remain capable of doing, as opposed to fixating on our former capabilities.