A situation with a long, progressive, persistent illness of a loved one, child, parent or close relative can affect anyone. Such a period of life quite often turns into a nightmare for those who care for the sick. Aif.ru turned to Gestalt therapist Alla Bazhanto learn how to organize life so that one person’s illness does not turn into hell for another.
Sick doesn’t mean helpless
Unfortunately, a person who suddenly encounters a serious illness of another begins to actively engage in the situation, not noticing how he independently restricts his freedom and transfers the patient to the category of helpless. Unconsciously, he appoints himself as a rescuer, forbidding himself to grieve, cry, admit that he is hurt and unbearable in this situation. The rescuer does not notice that there are people around whom you can ask for help. He, on the contrary, gathers in a large company of patience and tries to do everything on his own. Step by step, a person more and more obliges himself to give all his time, all his strength, all of himself to the sick person, ignoring the fact that these actions not only exhaust him, but often worsen the patient’s condition.
People get sick. So it happens too
Imagine the situation: the woman Glasha’s husband Pasha fell ill. Absolutely any other relative, of any age and in any condition, can be put in the place of a husband. The essence of this will not change. What does Glasha usually do? A woman either denies the situation until she reaches a critical point, or, on the contrary, begins to drag her husband to the doctors, winding herself and others up. If earlier she had a job, friends, hobbies and other interests, now all her time and energy is compressed into a point of tension called “someone else’s disease”.
The first thing to do is to accept the reality without distortions “everything will be fine” or, conversely, “everything is over”. It is important to recognize that a person is sick and that this can last indefinitely.
The second is to record the facts of the current state of the patient, and then consult with specialists and understand what kind of help he needs and how government agencies, relatives, friends, and neighbors can help. These simple actions will show the real picture and save Glasha from emotional overload.
Feel your feelings!
One of the reasons Glasha gets tired and depressed is because of the strong feelings that she tries to ignore or suppress. A person lives in a situation of increased stress, which exacerbates his own fantasies. It is important to change the strategy of behavior: start to notice yourself, your feelings, your feelings, live them and express them. The most harmful of them:
- it is fear (what will happen next?);
- shame (how could this happen to me?);
- guilt (what was I punished for?);
- ban on anger (it is impossible to be angry with the patient, because he should not be worried).
Then reduce the speed to save the patient. At a reactive pace, Glasha ceases to live her life: she excludes rest, leisure, sports, relationships with other people, refuses any help, reinforcing her refusal with the phrases: “I can’t leave him. He will be lost without me. Only I know how to help him.” Such a message makes Pasha more helpless, and the disease becomes larger than life and their relationship. So the disease is elevated to the rank of something powerful and holy, and Glasha imperceptibly begins to flirt with the game “Now I am valuable. I will save him.” As a rule, such games are played by people who themselves need help, but they do not know how to ask, or those who could not earn kind words from their parents in childhood and are now unconsciously involved in a situation in which they are trying to make up for the children’s deficit. It can also be people who feel guilty because their dad was an alcoholic or their mom was sick. In any case, giving up one’s interests in favor of caring for the sick is rarely associated with a sincere conscious desire.
This is my cross!
If Glasha perceives the situation as a punishment for some of her sins, she automatically appoints herself a victim who is obliged to lay her life on the altar of Pasha’s illness. He has no choice but to play along with her, thereby depriving himself of the opportunity to recover or at least remain independent.
After accepting the fact of illness, you need to organize your life in such a way as to continue living in a more or less familiar way, providing help to Pasha, but not turning it into madness: forbidding the patient to do something, focusing on his weakness, helplessness, hopelessness, forcing him to drink medicines, exercise. When it comes to an adult, you should not deprive him of the opportunity to independently make decisions about treatment methods and bear responsibility for this.
Psychological help and caregiver
Perhaps, in order to relieve herself, Glasha will have to hire a nurse, and herself turn to a psychologist for emotional support. But where to get the money for all this? Unexpected difficulties can be a good motivation to find new career paths and increase earnings. By changing the focus of attention, Glasha will not only pull herself out of the epicenter of the disaster, but will also see other ways to act in crisis situations.
Unfortunately, if you just try to tell Glasha all this, she may not understand, because she is trapped in guilt, shame, fear and pain, which cloud her perception. It turns out a vicious circle: to get rid of toxic feelings of guilt and shame, you need to go to a psychologist, to go to a psychologist, you need to slow down and see that the person has been swallowed up by toxic feelings.
Total control or complete connivance
It doesn’t matter what kind of help Glasha chooses: hire a nurse, ask relatives or friends for help, send Pasha to a hospice, the main thing is that she does not go to extremes: total control or complete connivance. In caring for a sick person, a healthy middle must be observed, and for this you will have to get rid of the social introject “You are an egoist. You went to the cinema (can be replaced by anything) and left the patient to the mercy of fate.” To support a sick person, you must first support yourself: pamper, relax. Only in a filled state can you give the sick person the love and support that he needs so much.