HOW TO COPE WITH THE STRESS OF LIVING WITH A TERMINAL ILLNESS

Stress, anxiety, fear, insecurity, and uncertainty are directly linked with terminal diseases and have an immediate effect on one’s emotional well-being. Apart from physical pain, one has to battle the chaos within one’s mind. The fear of losing it all; the uncertainty of being a burden on the people around us, the insecurity of not being accepted by society, and the financial stress smother the person who is already going through a difficult time.

While it may all seem overwhelming, there are ways that might help people living with such conditions cope and battle the desperation that they encounter.

Terminal Illnesses and Their Causes

Terminal illnesses are diseases like Dementia, Parkinson’s, HIV, lung failure, coronavirus, and cancer that ultimately lead to death. It’s hard to avoid diseases, but what can you do to protect yourself where you can?

A prominent example of terminal illness is cancer caused by exposure to carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). On average, one in every four deaths in the United States of America is caused by cancer. Common carcinogens in workplaces include radiation like ultraviolet rays, gasses, metals, dust, combustible products, chemicals, and minerals such as asbestos.

Asbestos is one of six heat-resistant minerals which gained immediate popularity in the armed forces and the construction industry. Manufacturers used the mineral in paper and clothing to make them resistant to corrosion and heat to make products such as electric blankets. However, after years of exposure to the substance, it was found that inhaling the heat-resistant fibers can cause one of the worst types of lung cancer, mesothelioma. People who developed cancer due to asbestos exposure through these products sued the manufacturers for compensation. To learn more about mesothelioma settlements and verdicts for asbestos exposure in workplaces, you can talk to a qualified legal advisor, as it can help the victims and their families cover the cost of treatments.

Another fatal illness is HIV. It is a painful degenerative disease, and it is transmitted from one person to another when the body fluids of the carrier enter the bloodstream of the receiver. This transfer usually occurs through open wounds and intercourse. However, it cannot be caused by casual contact with the infected person. On the other hand, the more recent pandemic Coronavirus can easily transmit from one person to another through casual contact, so it is recommended that you maintain your distance from the infected person, who should be isolated until they fully recover.

The majority of fatal illnesses can be managed with extreme care. However, the emotional and psychological toll needs to be handled with courage and by maintaining a positive perspective on life.

Learn to live with the thought of death

A medical diagnosis of a serious illness that will most likely prove fatal immediately creates feelings of shock, fear, and anxiety. The realization that there is no cure for your disease generates thousands of feelings and emotions such as resentment and anger that may overwhelm the mind and the heart.

Immediately thoughts of giving up take over and the idea that everything is coming to an end and the resulting grief kill a person before the actual death. However, one must battle the negativity within one’s mind and overcome the grief and feelings of helplessness. Instead, learn to manage the symptoms of the disease. Apply the skill for survival to cope with the stress of living with a terminal illness.

Acceptance is hard. It takes a lot of courage and patience to get to where people can finally accept their fate. It is impossible not to think of something very significant once in a while, but there are certainly ways that can help ease the pain and suffering.

Talk about it, let it out.

Communication truly helps. You may feel that you need space because it is not easy to take in the thought of death and a future that appears limited. Most of the time, people don’t want to force a discussion because everyone wants to avoid a sensitive issue. However, talking to friends and family helps you realize that this is a shared experience. Support and reassurance from family and friends can help reduce stress and anxiety and enables you to cope better with the issues that inevitably emerge with a chronic illness.

Physical Activities and Exertion

Physical activities and exertion help deal with the stress that a terminal illness brings. Lying in bed all day, thinking of what you could have done if things were different, and grieving about one’s situation will not benefit anyone. Whether you are dealing with a terminal illness or whether you are deeply involved in the care of a close friend or family member, you need to sweat out all the anxiety that worries you. Physical exertion helps you boost your immunity, but it also helps the way you think. It makes you feel strong. It improves brain health and drains out all the toxicity.

Eat Healthily

Eating a healthy and varied diet is one of the basic fundamental needs of the human mind to stay calm and focused. It is very important to eat right when you are ill. Clean and healthy eating helps boost immunity, which eventually helps cope with the painful effects that the illness has on the body and mind.

Indulge in some creative activities

When focused on something creative, the mind can get easily distracted from the bitter reality. Getting one’s hand on some good books, a canvas, and some colors or musical instruments can help one find comfort amidst the chaos. You can choose your medium; you can use words, paints, or musical strains to release emotional and physical stress.

You still have time

Remember, you still have time. You are still breathing. You are still alive to see the beautiful colors. Cherish that. Please do not take it for granted. A shift in perspective can help realize the potential that is still there in the time that is left. The proverbial perspective shift is illustrated by the glass half full and the glass-half-empty paradigm. You can look at the situation as either a complete loss because the glass is half empty, or you can look at the half glass of water and use it to satisfy your thirst.

Conclusion

Coping with terminal illnesses is challenging and exhausting. The emotional and physical strain can engender feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and depression. However, surviving any traumatic experience requires resilience. The best way to overcome sadness and resignation is by recognizing the potential you still have to enjoy time with your family and do some things that make you feel good. Surround yourself with family and friends, go on excursions to enjoy the natural scene, and savor the flavors you can still enjoy. Giving free rein to your creative spirit gives you an avenue to express yourself, and exercise helps you rebuild your strength and avoid succumbing to hopelessness. One should never give up hope, no matter how impossible recovery may seem.

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