Overcoming the emotional impact of physical illness

When you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition, both emotional effects and physical symptoms will contribute to your distress, and the emotional part can be the more difficult.

It’s normal to have negative feelings about your diagnosis, including anger, fear, depression, and guilt, but working through these feelings will help you better manage your condition and possibly improve your prognosis.

Indeed, studies have shown that managing difficult feelings and emotions can develop hope, something critical in overcoming a serious condition.

Talk about your anger with the people you love. Anger can mask other feelings, like fear, and talking with patient, loving listeners will help you find solutions to what’s troubling you the most. Overcome fear by learning all you can about your condition, the treatment options, and ways to cope with it.

Don’t try to soldier through depression. Ask your doctor about medication, or see a professional counselor for support.

Don’t overlook the idea of a support group. Hundreds of support groups exist for almost every medical condition, and even online forums can provide you with a surprising level of support if you can’t locate a specific type of group nearby. The right one can be the most powerful coping strategy of all.

Source: UTEAP FrontLine Employee (July 2014)

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