I’m Changing How I Respond to Family Concerns About My Health
When living with significant health problems, one must balance not only personal worries, but also those of family members and friends. This can be a lot to handle.
One of the things that upset me most after my pulmonary hypertension diagnosis was seeing how upset my parents were. Since then, my parents’ feelings about my health situation are constantly on my mind.
In the years after my diagnosis, I often would try to keep my health struggles separate from my parents. I would try to go to appointments alone if possible, as I wasn’t comfortable having an anxious parent sitting next to me while I received test results.
Maybe it says something about me, but the last thing I want in any given moment is sympathy. For a while, that’s how I perceived the concern my loved ones expressed for me. I just wanted to tell them I was fine and move on.
But of course I wasn’t always fine. Sometimes I needed to lean on them and share my worries to make them less scary. But I realized that letting someone in so that they can support me also means letting them worry about me.
I’ve learned that it is unavoidable that people who love me will worry about me. This is particularly true with parents. If not my pulmonary hypertension, my parents would worry about something else. That’s just what parents do. Shutting them out and telling them I’m fine doesn’t prevent them from worrying. If anything, it probably has the opposite effect.
I have had to surrender to the fact that my health journey isn’t mine alone, as it’s not something that’s happening only to me. It affects those around me, too. And those closest to me are facing a battle as emotionally challenging as I am.
For me, a problem shared doesn’t always feel like a problem halved, and I still struggle with being vulnerable about my health anxieties and my family. But I have accepted that they are in it with me, and that I couldn’t manage without their support. I also have come to appreciate how lucky I am to have people in my life who care about me enough to take on my worries as their own.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.