7 Tips for Emotionally Supporting Someone With a Scary Diagnosis

Getting a scary diagnosis is never any fun. You don’t know where to turn or what to believe. Should you hope for a miracle or some good news – or should you keep your expectations low so you don’t get disappointed? Your loved one might be struggling through a lot at this time. Luckily, you can do a few things to ease their burden and help them process their feelings about the situation.

1. Find Them a Support Group

People often find comfort in knowing other people have gone through the same thing and that it isn’t happening only to them. Find a support group specifically about your loved one’s diagnosis. Then, make sure to take them to their support group meetings so they can share their story with others.

Making friends who are going through the same thing can often give people hope and help them feel seen and heard. You may be listening to them, but you can’t fully empathize without knowing what they’re going through firsthand – and others can.

2. Keep Them Entertained

Your loved one is feeling a lot of complex emotions right now. They deserve time to process them and work through them on their own time. However, you want to distract them from those dark thoughts if you notice they’re starting to spiral downward.

Distraction can ease the pain of grief, at least for a little while. While they should eventually learn to process their emotions, you can still help them through the roughest times by supporting them with your cheerfulness.

3. Take Them to Appointments

Your loved one may need help getting to their doctor’s appointments. Even if they don’t need help driving, you can still act as their advocate during appointments if they want you in the room with them. You can help them ask questions based on their well-being that they may be too nervous to ask. Use your voice to speak up for your loved one when you can.

4. Do the Research

Knowing what to expect after a diagnosis is the first way to beat the scary emotions by obliterating fear of the unknown. Your loved one may not want to do the research for themselves for several reasons, so it might be up to you to learn more about their diagnosis and report the facts back to them in a more palatable way.

You shouldn’t need to sugarcoat things. However, because looking up medical information can make some people panic, you can always give it to them in a caring way you know they’ll respond well to.

5. Look Into Counseling

Counseling might be new for some people, but talking to a trusted professional about your feelings can help you work through challenging situations.

Grief counseling may be the best type for your loved one if they have difficulty living with their diagnosis. Attending grief counseling sessions can help them learn to manage their emotions, depression, and anxiety so they can interact with the world more productively and enjoy it to its fullest. Urge your loved one to seek counseling. It may just give them more peace of mind.

6. Help With Chores

Just because someone receives a diagnosis doesn’t mean their responsibilities stop. They may find it harder to stay on top of things in their household while processing some difficult words.

When you can, volunteer to help them with the easy chores. Having someone new around the home might help get their mind off things, and you can spend time with them while doing mundane chores that will help improve their quality of life. Chores are a small thing you can do for someone that adds up astronomically.

7. Commit to Listening

One of the best things you can do for people who are grieving their diagnoses is to offer hope and lend a listening ear. Your loved one may have been told the same things repeatedly – and they might be tired of hearing it by now.

Offering them your ear gives them the chance to talk about how they’re feeling and the opportunity to process their grief. When in doubt, don’t talk about your experience. Just offer your friend a listening ear for their troubles.

A Diagnosis Isn’t the End

Try to keep your loved one’s head above water. Give them a reason to smile and remember that one diagnosis isn’t going to be the end of the world, even though it might feel like it sometimes. You can help keep life normal for your loved one as they go through this difficult time.

Though it might be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s there – and providing your friend or family member with all the love and support you can muster will make a world of difference to them.

Mia Barnes
Author: Mia Barnes

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