You can be in a room full of people and still feel incredibly lonely. No one really sees you, hears what you’re trying to say, or understands what you’re going through. When you feel this way, what can you do?
People often think that loneliness and being alone are the same thing. But that’s not necessarily true. You can be on your own and have a great time, curled up on the couch with a good book, playing the piano or taking yourself on an artist date. If you’re introverted, you probably even need alone time to recharge.
That’s why loneliness isn’t so much a state of solitude as it is about feeling alone, while you crave human connection. That emptiness can be caused by having a limited social network, with little (close) family and friends to talk to and spend time with. But there’s a second kind of loneliness that’s often overlooked: emotional loneliness.
Studies show a chronic illness affects patients and their partners. Apart from relationship dynamics, chronic illness changes the participants’ personalities. This is especially true if a chronic illness occurred midway into the relationship.
Even if your partner was already battling a chronic illness when you met, seeing the love of your life in pain is heartbreaking. Here’s how chronic illness affects relationships.
Human connection and relationships are something that most individuals crave in life, especially those that are romantics. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin or how to try your hand at love after you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Dating is naturally hard for everyone, but those of you with chronic illness may face additional challenges, like bringing any medications you may need when you’re on a date or worrying if you’ll have any sudden symptoms or pain.
Everyone deserves to find someone who loves them unconditionally and will support them through the positives and negatives in life. Remember that finding the perfect partner takes time as well as trial and error. Keep reading to learn how you can get back into dating with a chronic illness and still keep your health a priority.
Though life looks a little different right now, the most important things are still right at our fingertips: The people that matter to us and the moments we share with them. Even if only long-distance, or for a few minutes, putting a smile on someone else’s face can out both of you in a great mood.
Not only does doing something kind feel good, but it can actually be good for you, too. Research shows that being kind to others can help speed recovery from illness and even lengthen your lifespan. However, additional research has found that repeated acts of kindness are necessary to sustain the oxytocin boost you get from doing something nice for another person. That’s why creating a habit of compassion and kindness can be incredibly beneficial to your mental and physical health.
Whether you sign up for weekly volunteer sessions, or go out of your way to smile at passers-by, the intention and consistency is more important than what exactly you do, so don’t stress about making the biggest impact. Small acts can go a long way.
To jump-start your kindness habit, here’s a list of small acts of kindness you can do. Try completing all 30 in the month, and you’re sure to feel especially happy.
All you want as a parent is for your kids to be happy and eventually become kind, responsible adults.
But then again, you also don’t want your children to have to grow up too soon. Unfortunately, being a parent with chronic illness can make your job a lot harder.
When mom or dad becomes sick and does not get better, the life of your entire family changes. Kids may have to learn how to do things independently more quickly than you would have liked to. What’s more, your son or daughter may worry about you or feel sad you can’t attend their concert or ball game.
Now there’s nothing wrong with doing chores around the house and learning taking care of each other. But as a parent who’s daily functioning is affected by chronic illness, you’ve probably found yourself worrying: What effect will my disease have on my kids? Am I putting too much weight on their small shoulders?
When a child takes on the job of looking after their parent(s) instead of the other way around, we call this parentification. There are two kinds of parentification:
Instrumental parentification: The kids take over many or all physical chores of the parent(s), including looking after siblings or paying the bills.
Emotional parentification: Children are asked to provide emotional support to a parent and listen to their (adult) problems.
This kind of role reversal disrupts the development of a secure attachment and has far-reaching effects on kids’ mental health. Parentified children may show signs of depression and anxiety, constant worrying and physical symptoms of chronic stress, like headaches and stomach pain. Even later in life, adults who were parentified as kids have an increased risk of mental health problems, substance abuse and getting involved in unhealthy relationships.
When you can’t shield your kids from the reality of living with (severe) chronic illness, what can you do to not overburden your kids?
Every family, illness and situation is different, but here are some suggestions.
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