As a patient coping with a health event, you have to deal not only with your body changing drastically — sometimes suddenly and sometimes gradually — but also with a significant loss of self.
Your independence is often compromised, and family members cluck and fret and frequently talk over you to your doctors. They mean well, but sometimes your caregiving team may be hindering you more than helping.
Maintaining Your Sense of Self
Despite the circumstances and stress of being ill, it is vital that as a patient, you maintain your sense of self.
You are not helpless. You are not powerless. You may be weak, debilitated or compromised, but even at this difficult time, you can and must draw your boundaries and remember that you are still empowered to make decisions, despite what others may say.
You are entitled to determine your treatment and the details of your convalescence.
Spend Your Energy Wisely
During your treatment, you may feel obligated to do things you don’t want to do.
- If you are in recovery, your precious energy should be spent doing what gives you strength, rather than on anything that diminishes it.
- Do not feel you have to talk to your aunt when she calls or have visitors when you would like to be alone.
- If your end is near and you are preparing to go, say your goodbyes on your terms.
- It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to disappoint people.
This is your time, and you must do what is right for you.
As a patient, remind yourself and others that your needs are important and valid, especially when you are at your most compromised.
We Want to Hear Your Story
How have you “maintained your sense of self” as a patient? How have you cared for yourself and sustained your emotional health in difficult times? We’d love to learn more about your thoughts and experiences. Please share.