Coping With the Stress of Medical Concerns

Image of patient being consoled by doctor and nurse It is very likely that you recall the moment after receiving a significant medical diagnosis for yourself or a loved one. Some have described it as the moment when fear—even terror—gripped their heart. They felt the earth shift under their feet, felt they couldn’t breathe, and became lightheaded. Anxiety mounted in ways they hadn’t previously known because of coming face to face with the unknown. Others have said that that they wanted to run away from the news—to push it as far away as possible. Time may be divided into pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis, symbolizing the many lifestyle changes that have become necessary after this pivotal moment in time. . .the moment when illness came knocking uninvited at your door.

We know that medical conditions—short or long term—impact every member of the family. Unwelcomed adjustments in the way the family is used to living are now required as the family struggles to come to terms with their new life and identity as a family with a medical condition. Resources may be stressed to the max. Challenges that may be present include:

  • Loss of independence for the one receiving the diagnosis
  • Pain management
  • Scheduling and attending various appointments
  • Going through testing and waiting for the test results
  • Communication and involvement with medical personnel/care-givers
  • Changes in family schedules to work around hospitalizations, appointments, care
  • Increased responsibilities that change family roles
  • Financial stress
  • Time demands
  • Depletion of emotional and physical energy
  • Less ability for involvement with hobbies, interests, social and community connections
  • A sense of being “out of step” with others
  • A sense that life has been put on hold

In addition, your hopes and dreams for the present and the future may seem to have been deferred, even lost. Circumstances may seem out of control and the future may seem uncertain. The definition of a “good day” may have significantly changed. You may be experiencing feelings of

  • Helplessness
  • Resentment or anger
  • Worry or anxiety
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Sadness or grief

You never thought it would be like this. Sometimes it is overwhelming. And all of it seems so unfair. I hear what you are saying.

I am a registered nurse with many years of experience working with adults, adolescents, and children in the hospital setting. I have witnessed the stories of many families as they have struggled to cope in the face of difficult medical conditions.

Perhaps you and your family are experiencing:

  • A short term condition that is concerning
  • A chronic condition that is not life threatening, but is causing stress and requiring adjustments
  • A life threatening illness or condition
  • A loved one’s resistance of necessary medical care

Whatever your specific situation, your concerns deserve to be heard in a safe place. Seek care for yourself. Please do not hesitate to contact me today.