A few years ago my Dad suffered a serious heart attack. The events of that day would go on to change his way of life and that of everyone around him…forever. He went from being a confident, hard working socially outgoing guy to a man afraid to be left alone – just incase he had another heart attack. We took turns to stay close by him. Eventually it got so stressful for the whole family that we decided to seek professional help. We sent Dad to see a therapeutic counselor… and it was the best thing we ever did.
After a few meetings, we started to noticed some changes in Dad. He seemed happier in himself. He had also joined an online forum of ‘like individuals’ – people who were learning to cope with there massive change in life. As time moved on, Dad began to venture outdoors. He visited family and friends and often joined us at our favourite family restaurant.
So what had happened?
Put simply, Dad had learned to accept his situation. He had talked through his problems and come to terms with the fact that he was not the same man he used to be. That doesn’t mean that he was any lesser of man… just that events had changed him and he would learn to adapt and cope with a new way of living his life.
The first obstacles he had to overcome were his feelings of guilt and shame. He felt that his previous stress filled lifestyle had robbed him of his future health and happiness. To some extent that was right – but as I have said in other posts, the past is in the past – there is nothing you can do to change it, but you can learn from it.
His next major obstacles were his feelings to the way he had treated his loved ones. He felt ashamed of the way he had changed our lives to cater for his. But the reality is… we love him! Yes, we all had to give up some of our time and make changes, but that’s what people do for those they care about. However, it is vitally important that the carers quality of life does not get so low that they find they cannot cope. If that situation arises, you have to find help. No one person can cope with all of another persons demands. Our way was to speak to a professional and get Dad into therapy. So far it has worked for us. There are thousands of organisations that exist to help family cope with a loved ones physical and mental difficulties. Get the help you need today.
Dad now volunteers at a local health group for people convalescing from serious operations and illness. He finds it rewarding and has said that ‘paying it back’ has helped to release a lot of the feelings of shame he had for his own situation.
For the person recovering:
If you are reading this, you are alive! Be thankful.
Stop blaming yourself – that’s in the past
There is no shame in seeking help or therapy
You can still live a great life – just get out there!
Show your thanks to your family and loved ones by accepting your situation and learning to use all the strengths that you still have. They would much rather have a happier, positive, living person in their lives than someone who has given up and condemned themselves to a life of self regret and pity. Be grateful for all you have and remember to give your time to others who are just starting their journey to recovery.