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Serious illness: dealing with emotions

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

If a change in life has been unplanned, such as the death of a loved or being diagnosed with a serious illness, then a person can sometimes feel out of control and can get frustrated and feel resentful at having to adjust to change.

Unfortunately there are events that occur in life that are not planned. For example, if a person is diagnosed with a serious illness or they have a family member diagnosed with a serious illness, this can have a serious impact of the person's well-being:

  • The person may question their self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence as they they are no longer fit to carry out activities that they used to.

  • The person could feel resentment towards other people who are fit and healthy and seem to have nothing to worry about.

  • The person may experience feelings of guilt and sadness that they brought this illness on themselves and that they are being punished.

  • The person may develop emotional health issues, such as depression, if the person was to sit around the house without motivation or because they are too sick to get out and meet other people.

Managing reactions and emotions to these changes allows the person to develop personally and also develop their self-concept as they understand how to manage and react to certain emotions.

How could a person deal with becoming diagnosed with a serious illness?

A person could:

  • talk to friends and family. Sharing and discussing what they feel could help them understand their feelings, manage and work through this change.

  • talk to someone who has been through a similar experience as this can be comforting to the person that all will be okay and that someone has been through this before.

  • seek professional support, by speaking to a GP, if the change is causing emotional health problems such as anxiety or stress. A GP could advise on the appropriate steps to take to help the young person.

  • try to accept change and take responsibility for doing things differently and adapting to a new way of life.

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