It’s not straightforward. It’s never straightforward. And nothing can really help you forget the situation. But there are a few little tricks which may somehow soothe you or cause you to find a little excess strength and there are various other things that you should try and avoid in order to not feel much worse.
Let me attempt to summarize a few tips for you. Remember, this is not about your sick loved ones today, but about you…
Think two or three positive thoughts or recall two happy or better yet, humorous memories and keep them prepared to tell your loved one if the second arises. You have to think of these when you are lonely because life will get busy or overwhelming when near a sick person. Grab the opportunities to give them little gifts of happiness through the day. Have some stories, anecdotes or memories prepared at all times. Be ready to induce a change of subject in the conversation when you feel that you and the patient are going in circles around the same old topics. That will work as a flush of fresh, invigorating breeze.
Whenever you’re with your loved sick ones, focus all of your attention on them and try not to consider your pain. It can never match theirs. And do not let emotional digressions divert you from your real chore which is keeping yourself strong enough to help the person you love. It’s actually an unavoidable question. However, it’s a question with no answer and searching for one obsessively won’t solve the issue and will deduct from your energy reserves. When that question (or similar ones) pop into your mind, look at it squarely for a couple of seconds and then let your ideas tell it to leave you alone. Turn your focus to more fruitful endeavors. Do not sit around letting questions attack you. Do not stay in bed if you’re awake doing nothing; grab a book or get up to bake some cookies. One of my favorites is writing something for my loved ones when my mind does not seem to get any peace. The mere act of sitting in the computer or holding the pencil in my hand helps me focus and fight negative thoughts. Reading soothes my thoughts so much! It helps me run away from my reality for a little while and has been shown to be a great way to reduce stress. But whatever you read must be of interest to you. Don’t attempt to take any book laying around in your house. Choose something which has meaning and you really need to know about.
Meet up with friends who will support you too. Find minutes to vent your anger and sadness from your sick loved one but supported by friends or others who care for you. Let’s share your pain and comfort you, too. Don’t play hero all day long; it is exhausting and you will need to save up your energy.
If not with friends, try to vent your anger and distress by running, exercising, walking or practicing any game you prefer or engaging in any manual action of your choice. Doing something physical helps the mind focus. It’s OK to feel angry and frustrated, it is only natural. And crying is also excellent. But no matter what you do, don’t let the anger and frustration collect inside you. Those two are extremely destructive forces that will only result in more sadness. Feel them, face them and understand that what you are feeling is a natural reaction.
Plan little actions for every day. Some of them you will tackle, others will remain just planned. Have things to do at all times: rent a movie, order a book, organize a little reunion with friends over drinks, decide what to cook for dinner… even if your times seem completely full and overfilled, nevertheless plan ahead. Planning daily things to do with or without the individual will give you a sense of normalcy that will help bear the hours. A few of those plans you can design together with your loved one: discuss the details, discuss the options… as you would do under any other circumstances.
There’ll be times when your mind and your soul will ask for peace and quiet, for silence and inactivity. Take a break. Give yourself some moments alone and do not feel guilty for taking them. Let your thoughts and raw feelings rest a bit. But be sure those times don’t turn into self-punishment. If you feel that your mind is beginning to go in circles round unanswerable questions again, put a stop to it.
And lastly, let your loved one know that you are there, that you’re the exact old you and that you’re together in this. Sometimes, once the pain is large, we withdraw from our loved ones as it’s too much to bear. Try not to do that. Sail the ride together. It’s OK to show them that you are sad or even angry, as long as you could also show them that you’re hopeful and that you cherish these moments together.
Life is sometimes unbearably hard, you are right. And we should never pretend it is not. But it’s our job to look for the little, good things around us to help those who are sick. Use these little tips that will assist you go through your dark times.
Love life, yes, even under these terrible circumstances, enjoy the great moments in life,