Coping with a Life Threatening Illness

by Sharon Hopkins

You are stuck in reverse. You feel lonely and depressed and even if you snap out of it for a few moments, you soon find yourself right back where you started! Your anxiety, stress, and confusion can send you spiraling out of control and you may even start to hope that this is all just a nightmare. Like Rapunzel locked up in her tower, you will feel angry, question your plight, and holler at the mystical being who sent you such tribulations. This is COMPLETELY normal! Do not try to deny your emotions and do not shut your loved ones out - yes they do not understand what you are feeling but they can provide an unbelievable amount of emotional support - if you just let them.

As you pass through disbelief and denial, hysteria and panic set in; this is closely followed by anger and all you can really do is ride this emotional roller coaster. Though life is a strange combination of tough and boring experiences and even though people around you can be particularly aggravating you still want to live it, enjoy it and never want to let go of it. Whether you're twenty or eighty, those feelings of betrayal and of being cheated of your future are inevitable.

When on a road trip with your pals you want to soak in the experience fully and you will refuse to take a nap even if you can barely keep your eyes from closing. In life's journey as well, you never want to be parted from the company of your loved ones.

  • Think: For those who managed to solve the Rubik's cube, the magic brick was an object that haunted them for days and months on end. It didn't seem impossible to solve, but just too much effort. A great many 'what-if's' and a great many wrong moves.
  • Take a Cue: Look at your illness as a surmountable obstacle. Fight against your fears and bodily anxieties. Awaken that fighter instinct in you! Your illness is that perplexing Rubik's cube! A calm, focused mind can help you sail through in happy cheer.
  • Think: Is the parent always right and the child always on the wrong? Is it possible for the parent to learn a thing or two from their tiny tots?
  • Take a Cue: Revisit that glorious past when the melancholy feeling overwhelms you. Just slipping into a beautiful reverie can make you feel alive and cheery. Seize the day! Hop on a bicycle, vroom through the streets and feel the rush of the wind. Read a book, paint even if you do not know how to. Learn from the child who finds unique ways of using his toy car, blocks, puzzles and other playthings.
  • Think: Would there be other humans on earth if they were meant to live in isolation and seclusion? Why would man have the ability to talk and walk, if it were not for him to move about and reach out to others of his own type?
  • Take a Cue: Don't be afraid to communicate your feelings and emotions to your friends and family. Expressing yourself will make you feel less stressed and more loved. Do not lose confidence in yourself or your abilities. People love and accept you just the way you are. Be honest with your loved one and yourself. Join a support group, interacting with people who suffer the same way as you do will help you cope better.
  • Think: The sun is heated up. He should be yelping in pain! Instead he shines and brings a smile to our faces each day.
  • Take a Cue: 'The best way to cheer yourself is to try and cheer somebody else' said Mark Twain. Loneliness can be a silent killer. Volunteer at the old age home, read to the blind and just offer your services without expecting anything in return.

When your fears start to gain a foothold, close your eyes, calm are not alone...your family and friends will help you get through this!

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