Patients: Speak Your Truth
In her 2018 Golden Globes speech, Oprah Winfrey said, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” This is especially true when your health is at stake. Your medical team can’t give you all the help you need if they can’t see the full picture.
Speaking Your Truth at the Doctor’s Office
You know your body. Paying attention to subtle signs of change can be one of the most important steps to detecting serious conditions. Unintentional weight loss, pain, a persistent cough, or a general feeling that something’s not right are just a few of the ways your body tells you something is wrong. It’s important to speak your truth and share these concerns with a physician so they can help get to the bottom of it.
When sharing your medical history and current symptoms, be open and honest. The details are important. It’s also important to not minimize your symptoms. Speaking your truth means speaking the whole truth.
Be sure to pick physicians who listen and understand your concerns. If you feel they didn’t hear you the first time, speak up. If you’re not comfortable with your doctor, you’re not going to share the whole truth. They even need to know about the conditions you might be embarrassed to mention.
This is true of physical and mental symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms like depression, suicidal thoughts, or anxiety, your doctor can help – and it’s important to let them help. Don’t assume you know what the treatment will be or whether or not it will be effective. Work through your concerns with your doctor to find the right treatment for you.
Speaking Your Truth at End of Life
Speaking your truth at the end of life means making sure nothing is left unsaid.
Are there things in your past you wish you had done differently? You can’t change that past, but you can speak up about it and apologize to those who were affected. “I’m sorry” is a powerful phrase, and it’s important to be said if the people who were hurt are not able to forgive you. If the person is no longer around, you can still write them a letter of apology to clean your own conscience.
Journals are an excellent way to begin speaking your truth to yourself. You can explore regrets, but be sure to also explore the people and moments that you are grateful to have had in your life. You can also use your journal to express fear and anger at your current situation. A chaplain is also a good resource for expressing these feelings of fear, anger, and regret. They can speak to you about ways to find comfort from the emotional pain of these feelings.
The other important words to express at end of life are “I love you.” Take the opportunity to say these words to the people you hold close to your heart – and listen to those who express it to you.
At Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, our support services team of chaplains, social workers, and bereavement coordinators are trained to help patients navigate the emotional and spiritual impact of their terminal diagnosis while our nurses, aides, and medical directors address pain, symptom management, and personal needs.
To learn more about our services, please call 1-888-564-3405.
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