Coping with a Chronic or Terminal Illness

illnessIllness happens. Humans get sick.

Though we may have been coping with symptoms for a while, receiving the diagnosis of a terminal or chronic illness is often a demarcation on our life path. History shifts from a linear progression of where we’ve been, to before and after the diagnosis. Some people breeze through this experience, while others tussle with questions around identity, body confidence and the meaning of life. Feelings of anger, fear and hopelessness become our companions. “Life as usual” has evolved into something else. Sometimes, due to decreased energy levels or physical discomfort, the world may have become smaller as we are unable to spend time with friends, engage in hobbies or exercise as much as we did.

What If My Family Member is Sick?

Family members and friends are often not spared from difficult thoughts, emotions and questions, as they accompany a loved one on this journey. Knowing what to do with these thoughts and feelings is often confusing; especially if sharing them with friends and other family members is not an option.

Speaking with a therapist can be helpful in many ways. For those of us who have been diagnosed, it provides a place and opportunity to explore how to live with this new “life companion”; as well as grieve what may have been lost. A therapist accompanies you as you look for meaning in the experience.

For those of us supporting a loved one, counselling provides a safe place to voice thoughts and feelings that may be uncomfortable, or feel unacceptable, to express to the person coping with the illness, or others. It can also help you to take care of yourself as you support your loved one.

Therapy can offer comfort and support not only to those intimately dealing with illness, but also those around them. If you think that your situation could benefit from therapy, feel free to contact me and we can explore how I can help.