Coping with family illness

Family Illness

Are You and Your Loved Ones Suffering from Family Illness?

If a child, spouse, parent or extended family member is battling an illness, you may feel helpless and unsure of what to do to cope with this family illness. Do you worry constantly about your family member’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being? Are you exhausted from balancing work, home life, and doctor’s appointments? Do you wonder how you will take on the role of caregiver?

Whether your family member has a chronic disease, debilitatiaing condition, or psychological disorder, family illness can be incredibly difficult to manage mentally and emotionally. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by your fears for your loved one’s health or your desire to fix everything. You might wish you could have one day go as planned, without an unexpected emergency or complication. You might even feel as though you can’t allow yourself time to consider your own emotions. Instead, you try to hold everything together to take care of your child, partner, parent, or other family member.

Above all, you may wish you knew a way to find balance in your busy, unpredictable, and stressful days. If you long for a way to help your family process the affects of illness and heal emotionally and mentally, there is help.

 Family Illness Impacts Everyone

 No one likes to watch a loved one suffer. When facing family illness, it is normal to feel fear and worry. The process of identifying medical symptoms and reaching diagnosis can be incredibly long and complicated. Many people experience anxiety, exhaustion, and confusion as they seek the best care for their child, partner, or other family member. If a loved one is eventually diagnosed with a chronic or serious disease, it can be difficult for all members of the family to cope. Many people, while trying to move toward hope, often find themselves imagining and anticipating worst-case scenarios.

When a child is sick or suffers from a debilitating condition, a family often faces a whole separate set of challenges. Parents may wonder how they will explain a medical condition to their child, and to the child’s teachers and classmates. Many parents feel unprepared to become lifelong caregivers to a child with a chronic condition. It is common for a parent to worry about his or her own life, and equally common for that parent to then feel guilt and shame.

Family illness affects everyone: parents, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the entire family. You and your ailing loved ones might need help to better understand how and if your lives are changing. While you may feel overwhelmed by your daily responsibilities, sadness, and concerns, with the help of Waterford Counseling and Psychological Services, you can help your family work through the pain of illness.

 You Can Allow Yourself Release From Buried Pain, Fear, and Frustration

Waterford Counseling and Psychological Services provides a safe place for you to talk openly and honestly. If you are struggling with family illness, you may feel as though there is no room for your emotions because the loved one’s pain seems to occupy so much time and space. However, holding in your pain or your fear only allows it to fester. Your qualified therapist will provide you with a compassionate, understanding ear. Therapy can allow you to vent and clear negative thoughts and feelings out of your system.

Your therapist can also help you put things into perspective and challenge the belief that your loved one’s recovery is impossible. If you often jump to negative conclusions, we can help you take a step back and evaluate every aspect of your loved one’s situation. We can help you and your family work through worries and develop tools to nurture hopeful thoughts.

Our therapists also have access to resources and can help you navigate your loved one’s care. Your therapist can empower you with the confidence to ask your doctor questions. We can also help you develop tools to find balance in your day and to stop criticizing yourself.

At Waterford, we understand the stress that comes with family illness. Your therapist can help you develop skills to better cope with that stress. For example, if your child is sick, perhaps you can find joy in a simple board game or some other familiar, peaceful activity. If your loved one’s illness is making him or her depressed, he or she may need you to simply engage in a “normal” activity, or talk about something other than doctors and tests. We can help you remember the things you loved to do and give yourself permission to engage with life again. You and your family deserve to take the time to heal together.

Although you may feel that therapy can help your family cope with illness, you may still have questions or concerns…

How Can I Fit Therapy into My Already Stressed Schedule?

If you are already balancing work, household responsibilities, and medical appointments, adding therapy to your schedule may feel impossible. The therapists at Waterford Counseling understand that your life might be unpredictable. We can be flexible with you and adapt to your schedule, including rescheduling your appointment when necessary .

Even if you can only meet once every two weeks, therapy can help you develop and remember tools to stay calm and optimistic under pressure. Taking care of you and your loved ones’ mental and emotional well-being can make facing the rest of the week’s challenges much easier.

What If Other Family Members Refuses to Come to Therapy?

 Some family members can be skeptical or resistant to therapy. Discuss the benefits of therapy with your family. Listen to their concerns and assure them that Waterford Counseling provides a non-judgmental space to vent openly and honestly. Therapy is not about hard and fast answers or criticisms. Rather, it is an opportunity for release, communication, and comfort.

 I Don’t Know. My Situation Seems Hopeless.

 If your loved one’s illness has made the whole world feel grim, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to seek help. Therapy can help you remember that you are not alone in your pain. You may even find that someone else in your family shares your deepest pains and frustrations.

You Can Help Your Family Process Illness Together

You and your family don’t need to feel hopeless and alone. The qualified therapists at Waterford Counseling and Psychological Services can help you develop tools to understand and manage the emotional affects of illness. There is hope for healing.

We invite you to call Waterford Counseling Services at 630-898-5322 for a free, brief phone consultation.

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