Illness is something we can never really anticipate. Many times, it may come as a sudden shock. When someone from the family is stricken with something, the entire family gets affected. There are many things that have to be changed and taken into consideration.
This could impact them in many ways, including psychologically. The degree of psychological distress would depend on how critical the patient is. The more chronic the illness is, the deeper the psychological impact. Once a patient is diagnosed with an illness, he/she has to follow some kind of treatment plan. This is very crucial in the recovery process, so the patient must not forget any steps. The family is, therefore, pressured into ensuring that nothing goes wrong. This could really shake the family psychologically because it is something that they did not have the time to be prepared for.
To think that someone special’s life is on the line or is suffering greatly, makes you have mixed feelings of guilt, anger, and depression. There have been several studies that have shown a significant change in the family after going through such an experience.
As time passes, it becomes harder to stay on track. Everyone begins to feel tired and frustrated. Along with those feelings, for example, parents could also feel deeply upset that their child has to face these struggles. It is painful to restrict your child with something that you know they would’ve enjoyed. You don’t know how to tell them that they can’t have a chocolate bar because their sugar levels could crash or could lead to making their illness even worse. The rest of the family members start to worry too much and continually wish for their predicament to end.
Members of the family may also experience paranoia and feel the need to overprotect the patient. They could end up becoming so obsessed with trying to find a “cure” that it may impair the family’s ability to support the patient. Instead of helping, they are actually making the situation worse. Furthermore, it may cause more problems if the parent or whoever is taking care of the patient attempts to deal with his or her negative feelings or emotions related to the illness without any support.
Let us take this scenario for example: The Smiths were one happy family. One day, Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s daughter, Hannah, had fallen ill. She complained about having a headache. Her parents just advised her to rest and drink lots of water. After a week, her family noticed that she was constantly thirsty and needed to frequently urinate. She also began to lose a lot of weight. They finally decided to take her to the hospital to get checked by a doctor. The doctor took some tests and evaluated her symptoms. Once the results were available, it turned out that she had Type 2 diabetes.
This changed the Smiths’ lives completely overnight. Hannah was given a list of things she had to do in order to keep her blood sugar at a normal level. She constantly needed to prick herself to test her blood sugar and had to measure how much she ate. Additionally, she had to be monitored, since she needed to follow the doctor’s strict treatment plan. The role of the family is to be supportive, help in reminding Hannah to take any medication prescribed, and make sure that she stays committed to following through with what has to be done to avoid any further complications.
Aside from the fact that they have to alter their schedules and meal plans for Hannah’s sake, the situation greatly affected them as a family. Eventually, the whole family became aware of the type of illness and started doing advocacies, donated to foundations, initiated campaigns, and did anything they could to help those who were going through the same things that they were going through. It is challenging to just keep it within the family, so they need to seek support from others as well.
Hannah would have to learn to live with her illness for the rest of her life and so would her family. In the event that she does not survive, this could really traumatize the entire family. In general, the loss of a loved one could really distort your perception and your psychological wiring.
If you have ever experienced illness within the family, it is recommended that you go see a psychologist, pastor, or Christian counselor just to check because it could be affecting you consciously or subconsciously and may cause difficulty in the future.

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