Living with a diagnosed disease, whether physical or mental, is difficult. All the questions and uncertainties that swirl around in your mind. Different people taking pity on you or trying to offer more help than you need or want. Then there’s the actual symptoms of the disease that you have to cope with. So how can you help someone who has been diagnosed with a disease live their best life?
1. Ask if they need help and if so, what kind of things would be helpful. Do not just assume that if someone has a disease they are helpless or they need you to take care of them. Find out what is helpful to the person and do that.
2. Do not dwell on the disease. If the person wants to discuss their diagnosis, then be there to listen, but do not bring it up or push the topic if they are not trying to talk about it. Remember, they are still the person that you have loved, they are not a case study or a science experiment to be examined. Try talking about things that they enjoy like gardening, music, politics, etc.
3. Take them out. If they are incapable of getting out and about on their own, make sure to schedule some fun excursions with them. Go to a park and sit and talk. Go to a museum and push them around in a wheelchair (if necessary). Ask them where they would like to go and make it happen. Help them know that they can still enjoy life even with whatever is going on inside of them.
4. Make sure they are taking care of themselves. Being diagnosed with a disease can be daunting. It can cause a person to feel like life as they know it is over or as though there is nothing to look forward to in the future. These feelings can lead to depression which can make a person stop taking care of themselves. You can help by checking in on them. Come over and bring a meal once in a while, offer to take them out (this gives them motivation to shower and perform basic hygiene tasks), call them regularly, and just try to keep them from disappearing into an abyss of despair.
5. Be there for them. Just offer a helping hand, crying shoulder, or loving ear as needed. A lot of the time, just being present is the best help you can offer and the best way to show that you care.