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Dealing With Someone You Love Being Ill

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 22 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Dealing With Someone You Love Being Ill

Dealing with someone you love being ill would be hard for anyone. The pain of seeing a loved one suffering does not lessen as you get older nor does it fade the more you experience it. Unfortunately, dealing with someone you love being ill is one of the most emotionally painful experiences you will ever encounter, especially as a teen. With a few of the right coping skills though you might just be able to deal with it and find extra reserves within yourself to support your loved ones – an important ingredient for a full recovery in and of itself.

Be Honest About the Illness

Denying that a loved one is ill will not help anyone. Instead, use your energy to face the illness head on and be honest about the situation. Discuss the details with your loved ones, and make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding:

  • The name of the illness.
  • The symptoms of the illness.
  • Treatment options.
  • Predictions for the future.
  • How many details the family will be sharing with others.

Get Down To The Details Of The Illness

Once you understand the big picture regarding someone you love being ill, show them your support by getting involved with daily care and getting down to the details. By becoming proficient in a loved one’s illness not only are you shouldering some of their burden but you are proactively fighting the illness as well which can be incredibly motivating for all involved. Find out information such as:

  • GP/hospital/hospice/chemist appointments and schedules.
  • Preferred doctors/nurses/orderlies.
  • Medication types.
  • Medication dosages and means of administration (drip/tablets/injections, etc.).
  • Side effects of medication.
  • Recommended complementary or alternative therapies.
  • Advise about appropriate special treats for the patient.

Understand the Emotional Pain Of The Illness

In addition to the physical pain associated with an illness, anyone who is ill will need emotional support as well. Be there with support for your loved ones who are ill when they need a good fight, cry, laugh or break. Help them sort through their feelings by:

  • Reassuring them that they had nothing to do with bringing on the illness.

  • Asking a professional such as a GP to reaffirm that the illness is not the result of anything they did, thought or said.

  • Watching their behaviour. Avert outbursts or crying jags before they begin.

  • Acknowledging your own emotions. Commiserate about your shared frustrations so that they know that they are not alone.

Find Further Support

Finding others who have fought the same illness, or any illness, may be important when dealing with loved ones who are ill. A major sticking point for some patients is that they despise well wishers who think that they know what they are going through but have never actually fought the disease or condition. Show your loved ones that you understand this by researching resources that will provide them with further support, such as:

  • Support Groups
  • Church groups.
  • School counsellors.
  • Private therapists.

Take Care of Yourself and Try to Have Fun

Often in taking care of others you will find that you forget to take care of yourself as well. Tiring yourself out will help no one, so be sure to eat well and rest up when you can. When you feel that you need a break, don’t be afraid to take one and remember, you are still a teen- you need to have the time to behave like a teenager and have fun. Many professional carers recommend leisure activities to recharge flagging energy levels, so consider:

  • Taking a bath.
  • Indulging in a short nap.
  • Going to the gym or taking a walk.
  • Watching a film.
  • Reading a book.
  • Listening to favourite music.
  • Playing a favourite computer or video game.

Ask For Help

Though the above are practical suggestions for helping to cope with a loved one being ill, they are by no means ALL suggestions that a teen must take on board. Remember, you are not responsible for a loved one's life, and while you can help to make them feel better during their illness, it is not your responsibility to solely care for them or cure them. Pick and choose how and when you can help, and ask for help with the rest. Adults such as relatives, family friends, teachers, coaches and members of the clergy are all great sources of support who are usually more than willing to step in and help you sort out your role.

The cold, hard truth is that dealing with someone you love being ill will never be enjoyable. No one wishes pain on those they love, but there is much you can do to relieve the pain your loved ones may be experiencing. Being honest about the situation and becoming familiar with the details are great ways to tackle any illness head on. Understanding your loved one’s emotional anxieties and finding support groups will also provide extra comfort. Finally, looking after your own health and well being will ensure that you can remain a rock of support throughout the ordeal. Anyone would be glad to have such support on their side!

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My sister has a terminal illness, Multiple slecrosis (MS) and her muscles get really weak, I sometimes come home and find her weak and limp -but shes only like that on her bad days. Other days she's just a lively 24 year old. I care for her and inject her needles which really frightens me because I'm scared I'll do it in the wrong place and cause her relapse -but she tells me what to do.
brissy - 21-Mar-11 @ 12:08 PM
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