Sunday, 22 January 2017

KATE: COPING WHEN SOMEONE IS IN HOSPITAL

Reader Kate has some top tips on how to stay grounded and calm when someone close to you goes into hospital...

Kate says:
When a close family member - or a friend, perhaps - goes into hospital, for whatever reason, stress levels can rise to frightening levels. Sometimes even the word 'hospital' can bring you to tears, but there are ways you can deal with the pressure and the anxiety that comes with it.

It's normal to panic
Panic attacks in a stressful situation like this are not unusual, so try not to get too scared if they happen. Tell a trusted adult and get some support, because panic may be normal but it isn't good. I found that even just telling a friend and being reassured that it was normal to panic in such situations (especially if you're a hormonal wreck like me!) helped a lot. Bottling up the fears just allows them to grow. If you feel anxiety and panic beginning to take over, tell an adult.

Spend time away from the situation
For me, spending time with my friends doing something I love offered a safe and stress free retreat from a life that seemed to revolve around constant hospital visits. Just stepping away from the pressures of hospital life was a huge relief and I found I could still relax and have fun, if only for a little while. It actually helped to be able to put on a 'mask' for a bit and pretend life was perfect for a few hours without the constant reminders of reality.

Look after yourself
When you're worried about a loved one, looking after yourself is the last thing on your mind, but it matters. If you fall sick you cannot be there to support anyone, after all. Plan healthy meals rather than relying on takeaways and fast food, and offer to cook once or twice a week if you can... it's practical help that will keep everyone on an even keel. Take exercise too - this will help you to disperse feelings of stress and anxiety and stay healthy and strong.

Just be there
Sometimes it feels upsetting to be unable to help the person who is ill, but remember they are in the best place and getting the care they need. What you can do is bring a bit of the outside world in for your loved one, with chat and silly, thoughtful like gifts. It may not feel much, but it will mean the world to the patient.

Remember this won't be forever
Although staying strong when someone you care about is in hospital is very hard, try to remember that this difficult patch will not last forever. Life will go on, and though you may be a little older and wiser, and sometimes sadder, you will cope. We all have to handle ups and downs in this life, and we all come up against heartbreak at times - but there are plenty of happy endings, too. Keep smiling if you can.

Cathy says:
Kate's blog has really hit home for me... 2016 was a year of caring for people I loved and feeling pretty overwhelmed by it all. I could have done with this list! Have YOU ever worried about someone in hospital? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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