When you’re going through a tough time, emotional support from others can make all the difference in the world. We’ll help you get ready to talk to your friends and family about what you need.
Having a disease doesn’t define who you are, right? So you might be trying to go about life as though everything is fine. Are you telling yourself, “I can do everything on my own,” even if that’s not the case? Or do you feel like people don’t see your pain because you don’t have visible symptoms? Either way, if you’re not asking your friends and family for help, you’re missing out on important sources of support.
Emotional support can help
Asking family members for support can help you stay on track with your care plan. Having their help can also give you the confidence you need to manage your condition. Studies have even shown that social support can lead to more inner peace. And what’s more, leaning on loved ones can help you build stronger, more positive connections with them.
How do you ask for help?
Of course, it’s not always easy to ask for help: You might think you’re being a burden. But in a way, asking for help from the people who care about you is your gift to them – it gives them a way to feel useful.
Here are some tips for getting the support you need:
- If you feel that you’re not getting enough help, say so. You might be surprised how many people don’t know you’re struggling
- Don’t be shy about telling people how they can help. Maybe you just want friends to be there and listen, without giving advice. Let them know
- If you’re not sure what to ask for, ask others what they think you need
When you’re asking someone to flip roles
But what if you’re the person that everyone else leans on for support and advice? It may be as hard for them to change roles and be a support person for you as it is for you to ask them for help. Give them some guidance with these first-person tips:
- Be there emotionally. Ask me how I’m feeling. Let me know that you’re there whenever I feel like talking. And if I don’t feel like talking, tell me that’s okay, too
- Fight the urge to give advice. The most important thing isn’t what you say – it’s that you’re there and listening
- Learn more. Ask if there’s anything you can read or do to learn about my condition. If you’re not sure what to do, then ask me: “How would you like me to help?”
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Bernhard T. KevinMD. How to ask for help when chronic pain or illness strikes. Available from: https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/09/chronic-pain-illness-strikes.html [Accessed 2019-06-19]
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MedlinePlus. Living with a chronic illness – reaching out to others. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000602.htm [Accessed 2019-06-19]
Rosland A. California Healthcare Foundation. Sharing the Care: The Role of the Family in Chronic Illness. Available from: https://www.chcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/PDF-FamilyInvolvement_Final.pdf. [Accessed 2019-06-19]
Stanford Medicine. Supporting Loved Ones. Available from: https://med.stanford.edu/cfcenter/services/SupportingLovedOnes.html [Accessed 2019-06-19]