When your child is dealing with a severe or chronic illness, you focus on them first and foremost. This can work for a short period of time. If this goes on for a longer period of time, it’s important to focus on your emotions as well. Some people don’t feel this way but many find it helpful. Processing feelings can be good for you, your child, and the rest of your family.
There are many ways to do this:
Friends: While you can share generally with your friends, choose wisely the ones you confide deeply in. They should be good listeners who can really hear you and receive your feelings. Let them know that they don’t have to fix it if listening is what you need. If you need advice, ask for it. It’s okay to have different needs at different times.
Spouse: If you are married, keep the lines of communication open – not just about all the medical and practical stuff but about your feelings. It can be challenging because your spouse is as vulnerable as you are and you may be tempted to protect each other. If your relationship starts to suffer, seek a therapist who can help you navigate this together.
Support groups: These work really well for some people because the participants can understand what they are going through. Other people find it overwhelming to hear other people’s pain when they are trying to cope with their own.
Therapist: A good therapist can be a great asset and with virtual therapy becoming so popular, you can fit it much more easily into a busy schedule. Consider individual, marital, family therapy or a combination. Some therapists who specialize in helping families dealing with serious illness can see all of you in different combinations as needed.
Know that you are not alone at this time in your life – help is available it you reach out.