Strain On The Strings: Helping A Spouse Who Is Emotionally Affected By A Health Condition Diagnosis

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Was your spouse recently diagnosed with a medical condition that seems to be having an effect on their emotional and mental well being? If so, you may feel confused by their behavior changes or mood swings, especially if their condition has not changed their physical appearance. The following are suggestions that can help you to better relate to your spouse's illness and strengthen your marital bond.

Educate yourself about their condition.

One of the perks of living in these times is that people can research almost every disease and condition known to man. Educating yourself on what is expected for people with the condition your spouse has will give you a "glimpse" at what they may be experiencing that is causing them to change emotionally. For example, a person may lose interest in sex due to side effects from medications prescribed to treat their medical condition.

Watch your words. 

If they have exhibited signs of depression or sadness, it may be best not to make too many well-meaning "cure" suggestions to them. This is because they may have already secretly tried the suggestions and feel hopeless because they did not work for them. 

Refrain from using statements such as, "You don't look sick. You look normal." Accepting a new diagnosis is hard enough, and some people may question whether there is really something wrong with them or not. Comments of this type can also come across as callous to someone who is battling a debilitating condition.

Talk with your spouse about lifestyle changes for your household.

Sometimes people receive diagnoses that result in their doctors making specific lifestyle changes to them. For example, a person who has experienced a mild stroke or heart attack may have to change their eating habits. Offer to become an active participant in the lifestyle changes that are offered to your spouse. 

Scheduling for chores may also need to be reviewed. For example, a spouse who stays home and maintains it that has a newly diagnosed medical condition may no longer be able to keep up with all of their daily chores. Not being able to keep up with things as normal may lead to depression or affect self-esteem. Establishing a routine will ensure that things continue to get done by someone in the household even if it is not the ill spouse who performs the chores.

Consider counseling.

Couples counseling and individual counseling are the best resources to use as you go through hard times with your spouse. Counseling will equip you with the skills you need to effectively communicate with your spouse. It will also equip you with the coping skills needed to be a primary portion of their support system as they battle their condition and fight to improve their mental and emotional health. Contact Dr Jed Turnbull for more information about counseling.