Coping With a Diagnosis
- Justin Bieber, 29, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, were both diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare condition that causes facial drooping.
- Feinstein has scaled back her schedule after her health setbacks, and Bieber has been focusing on his mental and physical recovery.
- Anxiety, fear, sadness, and depression are all common emotions that often follow a diagnosis of a disease or cancer, nurse practitioner Jessica Perreau says.
- Counselors and therapists can offer tips and strategies for coping with your new diagnosis, can validate your concerns, and, ultimately, just give you someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through.
- Maintaining good mental health can help you cope during your journey to better health following a diagnosis.
Longtime California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, 89, has been a fixture in Congress for more than three decades. On the other hand, pop star Justin Bieber, 29, has produced several big hits since bursting onto the music scene in 2009. So what do they have in common? They both have a rare condition that causes facial drooping.
Bieber and Feinstein both were diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The neurological disorder can cause facial weakness or paralysis, leading to drooping, according to Mayo Clinic. It can also lead to ear pain and hearing loss.Read More
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“It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis. This eye is not blinking, I can’t smile on this side of my face and this nostril cannot move,” Bieber said.
The same condition is impacting Democratic Sen. Feinstein a year later.
“The senator previously disclosed that she had several complications related to her shingles diagnosis,” her spokesperson told CBS News in the wake of Feinstein’s absence.
Shingles is a condition that is also caused by the same virus as chickenpox (varicella-zoster). In Feinstein’s case, it was this outbreak that led to her having Ramsay Hunt.
The 89-year-old senator was noticeably having trouble hearing questions during a recent news interview, CBS reported.
According to NORD, the rare condition impacts about “5 per 100,000 people” each year.
Anti-inflammatory medications designed to reduce pain and swelling help treat the disease.
Help Dealing With Emotions
How to Cope With a Diagnosis
While taking time away from the spotlight to focus on his health, Bieber practiced facial exercises. His efforts helped him cope and regain muscle movement.
In March, he shared a joyful Instagram story showing his ability to move his face again.
“Wait for it,” Bieber asked in while moving his eyes from side to side and smiling. The improvement in facial movement shows the pop star has made great progress dealing with the rare condition.
London Town wif my baby Hailey Bieber pic.twitter.com/mL8jjaMo6l
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 13, 2021
As for Feinstein, the senator has reduced her schedule in recent weeks to focus on her health.
Anxiety, fear, sadness, and depression are all common emotions that often follow a diagnosis of a disease or cancer, nurse practitioner Jessica Perreau tells SurvivorNet.
“We definitely want to make sure that those are addressed appropriately, and that we make sure to minimize the anxiety and depression as much as possible, and to provide good coping mechanisms and medications as necessary,” Perreau said.
If you find yourself wrestling with emotions following a diagnosis, SurvivorNet experts recommend seeking out a counselor or therapist.
Counselors and therapists can offer tips and strategies for coping with your new cancer diagnosis, can validate your concerns, and, ultimately, just give you someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through.
Support groups can be made up of close family and friends. These groups can also be made up of people who share the same type of cancer or disease.
Most importantly, support groups help you share and validate your feelings while coping with a diagnosis. For actress Selma Blair, who has the disease multiple sclerosis, it was this validation that tremendously helped her deal with her condition.
Sometimes, if it becomes necessary, your oncologist may also be able to prescribe medication to help with anxiety. A lot of the time, an effective strategy will incorporate some combination of therapy, support groups, and medication to help you cope with a diagnosis.
WATCH: Mental health and wellbeing.
How Focusing on Mental Health Can Help
Bieber took the time away from the stage to focus on himself and his mental health.
“I wish this wasn’t the case, but my body is telling me I’ve got to slow down,” Bieber said in his Instagram post.
“I’ll be using this time to rest and relax,” he added.
Bieber shared several photos of himself spending time with his wife and cute dog while he focused on his physical and mental health.
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The term mental health refers to both our emotional and psychological well-being. Our mental health can affect how we think, feel, and behave. Certain triggers like stress, traumatic events, or change in your physical health can affect mental health.
It’s important to keep tabs on your mental health and, if necessary, seek treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional therapy, because while it may be helpful (even life-changing) for some, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
In order to keep your mental health in check, it’s important to be aware of signs — which can be subtle — that something is affecting your mind. These signs include:
- A change in eating or sleeping habits
- Losing interest in people or usual activities
- Experiencing little or no energy
- Numb and/or hopeless feelings
- Turning to alcohol or drugs more than usual
- Non-typical angry, upset, or on-edge feelings
- Yelling/fighting with loved ones
- Experiencing mood swings
- Intrusive thoughts
- Trouble getting through daily tasks
These symptoms can be wide-ranging and vary a great deal from person to person. Everyone processes difficult situations differently.
However, if you are feeling unusually sad, on edge, or like you’re no longer interested in activities you used to love, know that there are many treatment options available and many different healthy ways to help you cope.
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