When You Are Seriously Ill

When you have a serious illness, many things change. You may experience complicated feelings and emotions. This is normal and is part of what is happening to you.

Some feelings are related to sadness. Some feelings are a result of physical discomfort or maybe pain. It will help if you can try to recognise what is causing the feelings. Your health professional can help with pain and any symptoms.

Some of these feelings and emotions will be overwhelming. This can affect how you are feeling. It can in turn affect how you adjust to the changes that are happening. All of this can be frustrating, and sometimes scary. This may cause some difficulty in carrying on as normal. These feelings of being overwhelmed are not unusual. However, if you can't function you should seek help.

A sense of loss or spiritual pain can create intense feelings. You may never have felt anything like this. Talking with someone loved and trusted is helpful. When you are very ill you may find that it makes you focus more on the important things in life. This could be spending time with family and friends. This may be the time to do the things that you have always had planned.

Dealing with the feelings and emotions of others

Not everyone is comfortable talking about death and dying. Friends and family may worry about upsetting you. They may not want to get upset in front of you.

Family and friends may be experiencing difficult emotions. They will have to make their own adjustments. They may be very sensitive to what you are feeling. They may worry if they seem not to be coping with what is happening. Often it is important for family and friends to share their emotions with you. This may be difficult for you all.

You may find it difficult to talk about things with family. Sometimes someone outside the family is easier to talk to. This could be a friend or professional person.



  • Joanne Lynn's book 'Handbook for Mortals' provides useful and caring advice and support.


Last updated 07 December 2018