It is impossible to make the life be as we plan, draw, hope and dream. Everyone will see his/her fate at any time without alarm although you struggle, plan, work hard to be the best. But suddenly, we can see one of our relatives, friends or we have a chronic illness.
So, we must be so brave and patient when we have a chronic illness.
Let’s discuss a case in the following, maybe you can find some useful advices for you and the others in your life.
Chronic Illness and Grief
Mary has terminal cancer. Her previous chemotherapy treatment did not work, and Mary has decided, with her family, not to undertake any more treatments. She is in a lot of pain and the pain relief does not seem to be working. She lives with her husband who is caring for her. She has two daughters who visit as often as they can, but when they do visit, Mary spends all her time moaning that they do not visit enough and talking about how much pain she is in. Her daughters do not want to visit but feel guilty about this. Think about what Mary is experiencing and how she could make things better for herself and her family.
Chronic illness is another difficult situation that can cause grief. If you suffer a chronic illness, it will affect you, your family, children, friends and people who know you. All of them may experience grief. You may have changes in your health and lifestyle due to the chronic illness. These may be met by denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, finally, by you and your family. These are the emotions that characterise the normal grief cycle. Mary and her family are experiencing these different emotions. Mary may be feeling angry or depressed at her state. She may have chosen not to continue with a treatment, but still resent the fact that she will not get better.
Chronic illness can also mean chronic pain. Pain can cause misery and feel as if there is no way out. It can affect your whole personality and quality of life. People with chronic illness and chronic pain may feel devalued or no longer having a sense of purpose or worth. They want to restore some worth and find their life has meaning again. Mary may be feeling negative about her pain and wants others to realise how she feels.
Our bodies can find way of dampening and enhancing pain. Attention, motivation and emotion can affect our perception of pain, whilst anxiety and apprehension can enhance and intensify the pain. We may want to deny ourselves help as we are seen as complaining. Joy, understanding, purpose and proper pain control can decrease the intensity of pain. By constantly discussing her pain, she is making her daughters sad and guilty that they are not visiting so often.
People with chronic pain can help themselves by:
- Educating themselves and their family about their condition.
- Learning about traditional and alternative methods that can support them.
- Accepting your limits and pace yourself.
- Letting go of resentments and try to be forgiving.
- Trying to be positive. Don’t waste energy on negative feelings.