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Experiencing and Managing Feelings of Loss

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This information was reviewed and approved by Kristen E. Holm, PhD, MPH (3/1/2019).

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may affect important aspects of your life, and you are likely to experience feelings of loss. It is important to understand what the loss means to you. This will help you avoid giving the loss a meaning that is not entirely true.

When you experience loss, you naturally feel sad. Feeling sad is okay. Feeling guilt ridden is not okay. When you give loss a meaning that isn't entirely true, you may unnecessarily beat yourself up and feel even worse about your disease. Here are some examples of how a loss can be given a meaning that might not be true:



Meaning That is not True

I can't work...


I'm not valuable.

I can't travel...


I'm a burden.

I don't look good...


I'm scary to the kids.

I am afraid to have sex...


I'm half the person I was.


Write down:

  • Any life changes that feel like losses

  • For each loss, think about whether you have given that loss a meaning that might not be true.

  • Organize the losses from those you feel most able to do something about, to those you are least able to do something about. Leave a few spaces between each loss.

Now that you've listed some of your personal losses, it's time to figure out steps you can take to make them better. Below each loss you listed, try to think of one step that you could take today to move toward making that loss feel better — even if it's only a tiny step.

Don't worry if you can't think of anything yet. You can always come back later. The following pages are full of ideas that have helped many others. Some can help you.


Step 3: Accepting Help



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