As we've discussed this week, being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing experience. There are so many emotions involved. Many times a person diagnosed with cancer will feel overwhelmed about many different things. There are so many things to think about that you aren't normally faced with in the day to day. Hopefully this week you are finding ways to help a friend or family member who is battling cancer. Don't be offended if they say "no" to help.
Sometimes they may feel so overwhelmed from all the decisions to make and challenges to think about that they may not want anyone's help at the moment. If this happens, don't take it personal or make it about you. As mentioned previously, helping makes us feel like we are doing something. So if our help is "rejected" we may feel helpless in what to do. That's ok because it's not about you. They are rejecting the help, not YOU!
If you feel helpless, use some self-talk. For example, "I asked them if I could bring them a meal. They said they didn't want any food this week due to their appetite being so poor. I asked if I could watch their kids. They are set on childcare. I feel like I'm not doing anything. You know what, that's okay. Maybe next week they will need something and I can help then. I want to help but they don't need it right now. I'm going to accept that."
Just like with any uncomfortable feelings, sometimes we have to "sit" in them and do nothing. Remember, it's about what they need and they don't need anything at the moment.
Hopefully these tips are helping this week. If you read this, you are being a good friend or relative just by finding ways you can (or can't) help!
Thank you for reading. Tomorrow Joleen will follow up with two more ways to help.
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville