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          Don’t Let Disease Become Your Identity

          September 24, 2002

          Receiving a clean bill of health should be a cause for celebration. But sometimes, after dealing with a serious illness, it’s hard to move on. What do you do when you realize that you have allowed your disease to become your identity? Dr. Phil offers advice:

        • Stop playing the game of life with sweaty palms. That means you need to stop letting your life slip through your hands because of fear that you might not have a future. You are here now. Don’t let your spouse, kids and years just “slip by.”
        • Accept that the disease is gone and don’t allow yourself to play the “What if?” game. Think of how stupid you’ll feel if you spend the next 40 years of your life worrying “What if the disease comes back and I die?” — only to get hit by a truck.
        • Understand that we have the right to choose how we live, not how and when we die. Don’t hold yourself responsible for a choice you shouldn’t have and don’t want.
        • Give yourself permission to be happy. Allowing yourself to feel happiness again will not jinx you, and it will not make the disease come back to “get you.”
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