It’s one thing for us to be ill, not feeling well or diagnosed with life changing illness. When someone you love is sick this is even tougher. Having coping mechanisms in place and staying strong for them and yourself can be tough.
Coping Mechanisms: How to Stay Strong When Someone You Love is Sick
It’s not easy when a family member or friend is sick. Some keep emotions inside while others turn to alcohol to cope. Neither of those is healthy but there are behaviors, or coping mechanisms, that help a person stay strong in times of need.
It may seem like a poor time to think of oneself, but that’s exactly what’s needed. Those who worry about others neglect their own diet, exercise regimen, and emotional well-being. It’s essential to take care when someone is ill. Otherwise, you’ll drain yourself of energy and have none left for others.
Get the Facts
Some respond emotionally when a loved one is sick. Get the facts to better treat a loved one who needs therapy, an operation, or medication. It’s human to get emotional upon hearing bad news. But thinking like a doctor or specialist is the best way to treat the illness. You can be an integral point of contact in relating symptoms to doctors and professionals. If a loved one is sick due to the negligence of a property manager or landlord, contact an asbestos exposure attorney.
It’s easy to drift from friends when a loved one is ill, but it’s important to stay socially connected for support and to keep your mind occupied with good news too. You don’t have to give friends all the details, but if they’re your friend, they will want to be there in your time of need.
A sick loved one is the last thing you want. It makes one feel out of control but this is why you need to find ways to keep feeling like you are in control. Try and stay on a schedule, for example even small tasks like calling a friend each night at a certain time presents a sense of control. As with being selfish, this is the right time for an internal locus of control.
Hope for the Best
A sick loved one does not need to see friends and family members with distraught looks and tears in their eyes. Hope for the best and keep a positive attitude despite the immediate condition of your loved one.
Prepare for Worse
Unless your loved one is recovering from a serious injury and in stable condition, it’s tough to know what the future brings regarding an illness. Prepare emotionally for things to get worse. Hopefully, the immediate shock of finding out about the illness is the severest blow. Obviously, you want the best but preparing for worse helps one remain emotionally stable. It may help to speak with a friend who has experience with loss. Or, go see a counselor to discuss feelings about sickness and death.
Throw Away the Script
There is no blueprint as to how to cope with a sick loved one. Specialists and counselors provide advice based on observations and shared patterns of behavior. It’s very difficult for a loved one to separate their feelings about the situation with what’s best for moving forward. It’s totally natural to feel sad and grow pessimistic, for example, but neither behavior begets positive results or reverses a loved one’s illness.
Stay Focused on Work
It’s a good idea to let a boss or manager know what’s happening in your life, for some show signs of trouble when it comes to work performance. It’s important to stay focused on work since the income is essential to your livelihood. While a good boss is understanding and may allow extended time away, there is a need to keep an objective mindset in understanding that you can’t neglect your duties for too long, or in some cases, at all.
Don’t Displace Emotions
Of course, you want to put on your best face for a sick loved one. Such feigned emotion causes some to displace their true feelings elsewhere. Perhaps you’re feeling angry or betrayed at your loved one for being sick. You may feel it’s not rational to discuss with them yet you may start lashing out at co-workers, other drivers, or friends and family. You can’t run from or deny emotions. You can only accept them and move forward in a positive manner.
Be a Listener
Those who have a sick loved one may feel as if they need to take action in speaking to doctors, getting medicine, and caring for a loved one. Be sure that you’re listening, not just hearing. A sick person may feel overwhelmed and want you to back off. Alternatively, a doctor may have a different opinion about a certain course of action. Be sure you’re staying objective and listening to those involved.