If you’re sick, what happens to your family?

Is your sickness affecting your family more than you?

As I progressed with the medicines for myasthenia gravis — an auto-immune condition that affects some muscles in your body — they almost ruined my daily routine. I was weaker, slower, sloppier, sappier, and crankiest! Breakfast was never on time and never what the boys wanted. The laundry took a week longer and the clothes they wanted were never ready. My husband moaned about missing his mum’s food the most. Anyway, these were trivial. The big ones were that I had become so touchy that any fleeting comment had the power to bring out the demons in me. This meant increasing guilt and depression. It took me and my family a long time to realise it, but eventually I pulled myself out of the mess I was in. Here’s how.

 

1. Never visit the doctor alone

If you have been feeling a little under weather and if it won’t go, then apart from taking a doctor’s appointment, make it a picnic. Yes! Put your foot down that you won’t be going without your spouse. If you do, then they will never be sensitised towards the gravity of your situation. Sometimes more than the medicines, it is the moral support and compassion that works more effectively. And plan a lunch or a dinner date with them around the appointment. Make the most of the time you have together.

 2. Ask the doctor about the side effects and prepare your family

This is one mistake I made. My problems were more due to the side effects of the medicines than the issue itself. It was too boggling and heavy on me to keep wondering why I or my body was suddenly behaving weirdly. And I took it all upon myself. Secondly, once you know about what you have to expect, loop in your family. Especially your kids. They suffer the most in ignorance. They must know that you are going through some disturbance and hence you are a little or very much off key. They need to be assured that it is your disease or the medicines and not them.

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3. Give yourself and them some time off

An idol mind is… you know that one, don’t you? It’s true. When you sit at home crying all the time in front of your kids and spouse, you are not only making yourself miserable, but stifling them too. The family suffers more than the patient and so even though you don’t feel like it, step out, pursue some hobby, do anything but keep yourself occupied. Encourage your spouse and kids to have more outings with their friends to keep their sanity intact and spend some time apart.

4. Love yourself

Hating yourself for what is happening and the way the lives of people around you is affected, comes most easy. Your self-esteem takes a major hit and there is every chance that your mind and heart get flooded with extreme bitterness. Mine did. But here you and only you can get the wheel turning again. Not the ones around you. You cannot keep asking for reassurances from your loved ones round the clock. Love yourself. Keep telling yourself a million times a day that it is not your fault! That sometimes the situation is beyond your control, that it can happen to anyone, that you will come out of it and that everything is going to be fine. Only then will the real healing begin and you will start feeling better.

5. Surround yourself with only those who can help you

I know the extended family and the relatives are sooooo important. But you will agree when I say this that most of them will only bother you with stupid questions or then say wicked things. ‘’How did this happen? (As if you are Einstein) ‘’Tch tch Tch so sad’’(Hey! I am not dead yet!). Have you seen this doctor? My sister in law’s husband’s brother’s father in law went to him and he was cured completely! (I am sure you read that in the newspaper). Keep them at bay and get hold of someone who can assist you with the domestic chores and also comfort you with their genuine vibes.

An illness is just a rough patch and as the wise say, ‘This too shall pass’. But with a little change in perspective and adjustment you can pass with flying colours.

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