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          It can take time to come to terms with a

          diagnosis of CKD. Having the right emotional
          support can help tremendously. We spoke to

          Mike Kelly (right), who is a psychotherapist

          and co-ordinator of counselling services for

          the IKA.

        Q. Being diagnosed with CKD         home. When diagnosed with a         increase as we begin to immerse
        can bring up a lot of emotions      chronic condition, this mindset     ourselves in a world that is
        for the person?                     is challenged. With a chronic       unfamiliar and uncertain.
           That is correct. We respond,     condition, we have to face the        Our psychological equilibrium,
        not just physically but also        unpleasant reality that while       that balance that allows us
        psychologically and emotionally     there may be treatment, there is    to function on a daily basis,
        to a diagnosis of reduced kidney    no cure. It is a life changing and  is threatened. This is to be
        function. In life, we carry certain  lifelong diagnosis.                expected and will happen when
        assumptions, one of which is that     Initially our reaction to a       we experience any trauma in life.
        we expect always to be healthy.     diagnosis is one of shock. The      However, with help, support and
        With a diagnosis of CKD, this       world as we have known it and       the willingness to adapt, in time
        assumption is shattered.            felt comfortable with is changed    this psychological equilibrium will
           When we think of illness, we     forever.                            be restored.
        usually think of it in acute terms    Added to this, the way we
        such as going to the hospital,      think about ourselves will also     Q. Does denial sometimes set
        being treated and discharged        change. Anxiety levels may          in after a diagnosis?
                                                                                  Denial is a common reaction
                                                                                and quite normal. By denying
                                                                                what is happening, we create a
                                                                                space that allows us to think.
                                                                                While denial is appropriate in the
                                                                                early stages, it becomes a
                                                                                problem if it is prolonged.
                                                                                  As one patient said, “Being in
                                                                                denial means not having to
                                                                                react to change. I can ignore the
                                                                                diagnosis and believe it is not
                                                                                real”. While this may be an
                                                                                appropriate reaction at an
                                                                                initial stage, it is easy to see
                                                                                the difficulties it creates if it
                                                                                becomes a per-manent attitude.

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