Long-term illnesses can cause just as much emotional pain as they cause physical pain. This statement isn’t just true for the patient, but for their caregivers, family, spouse, and friends as well. When someone you love and care for suffers from a serious, long-term illness, it’s difficultÂ for you to watch them suffer.
Whether you’re the one suffering from the illness or struggling as the caregiver, a long-term ailment can be aÂ traumatic experience, one we are never prepared to face. The reality is that negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression,Â are commonÂ responses to an illness, but they only make the ailment worse. It’s important for the afflicted, as well as those around them, to have theÂ support they need. What may seem hopeless and depressing at first, might not seem so bad once you’ve received the help and support you need. ThisÂ is why many people suffering from the trauma of illness, whether it be to them or someone they love, seek the help of therapy.
In an article in the New York Times titled “Learning to Cope With Illness” author Judy Glass writes,
“Anyone who has ever been ill for even a few weeks is likely to experience some depression, anger and feelings of dependency. For the chronically ill, whether they suffer with heart disease, arthritis, kidney failure, diabetes or any other long-term illness, these feelings are intensified, often overwhelming and potentially destructive to the treatment process.
‘Chronic illness throws a monkey wrench into people’s lives,’ said Dr. Robert H. Phillips, founder and director of the Center for Coping With Chronic Conditions in Garden City, which serves Long Island patients, their families and physicians. ‘The psychological problems created by chronic illness are particularly difficult for people who would never ordinarily seek counseling. Most of the patients at the center are people who were able to cope well under ordinary circumstances.'”
As stated above, people who seek counseling due to a severe, chronic illness might be hesitant at first since they never needed any therapy before the illness or injury. This goes for their partner, family, and friends as well. It’s completely normal for people to struggle with a variety of emotionsÂ as a result of an illness or injury. Â Talking withÂ someone trained in illness counselingÂ can help.
Coming to terms with your illness is an important step towards improving the quality of your life. Â Even amidst challenging times, you can still makeÂ a positive change. Â Understand that it’s okay to feel betrayed, thatÂ you’ve received something you don’t deserve. Illnesses and injuries can happen to anyone, and for some it can cause bitterness, resentment, hopelessness, and more. Remember, you’re still the same person you were when you were healthy.Â AsÂ Medline PlusÂ poignantly states,
“Be Gentle With yourself
It’s easy to stress yourself out worrying about your illness, but that only makes things worse. But how do you change your perspective and think of ways to take your mind off your illness when you’re too distracted by the illness itself? That’s where I come in as a WeHo health therapist. My sessions offer a calm, welcoming area for you to discuss how the illness has changed your life and how it makes you feel.
Your illness/injury may be the most challenging chapter in your life, but I’m convinced the human spirit has the power to overcome any struggle. Life throws us all kinds of challenges, and we can either submit, or adapt and be happy.
Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about our West Hollywood Health Psychology sessions.