Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Partnering Someone Who's Sick

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | May 6, 2014 3:55 PM

Being sick is no picnic, for sure, and being with someone, especially a spouse or partner, who is sick isn't good, either. First, there's the doubt that it's real, a kind of denial, like asking if the person is a hypochondriac, lazy, self-pitying or "just" depressed and overreacting. Along with those doubts are the angry feelings which go with feeling deprived of romance, fun, humor and any other activity which happens when that person isn't sick. At that point, you start to feel somewhat alone, especially when the spouse can't participate in your favorite activities.

Then, there's the realization that it's real, that someone you love is suffering and that it's not your place to be selfish and demanding but to provide comfort, space, or whatever your significant other needs. You remind yourself with gratitude that you always come home to a real human being, however incapacitated, and that love is still there in the room, even if presently dormant.

Finally, you search and hope together for answers, improvement, and a cure. At that point, there's a feeling of joint purpose and togetherness. You've come full circle in the grief process which goes with partnering someone who's sick.


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