Receiving a diagnosis of an illness or a disease is just the starting point for navigating the labyrinth style maze, filled with obstacles at every corner.
It is a maze, that sometimes is never-ending, you just learn to adapt and continue your journey forward.
The obstacles can become huge setbacks in a person’s treatment and overall mental health. Side effects with medication, surgeries, infections, hospitalizations, psychosocial effects, loss of work, financial strain, disagreement with care plans, insurance issues, pain, fatigue, depression, body image, loss of normalcy and the list goes on.
Friends, family, co-workers and even medical personnel, sometimes don’t understand everything that is involved with someone’s diagnosis.
Think about how difficult it is for a pediatric patient and their caregivers to face. It is overwhelming, thank goodness for child life specialists.
Here are 3 things that you can do to help them get through the maze and build resiliency.
- Listen- People need to vent and they don’t want to be interrupted with opinions. Sometimes just letting them talk is what they need. Don’t feel obligated to give a suggestion or try to change their emotions, to a happier one. By just listening, you are helping them process what is occurring and helping them to feel safe to share.
- Checking-In– It can mean a lot to just check-in and see how they are coping. Everyone may surround the person or family during the initial diagnosis, but then overtime get consumed with their own busy lives and forget that their friend or family member is continuing to adjust. Checking-in can be as simple as sending a card, email, delivering food, or running some errands for them. These gestures are warm and supportive, letting them know that they aren’t alone.
- Feeling Normal- When you are sick, the first thing people say is, “How are you feeling?” It can be overused and irritating. Sometimes they don’t want to discuss their health, because they don’t want it to be the center point. Put the illness to the side and connect with them. Laughter, entertainment, sharing stories are just a few simple things that can bring about normalcy.