20 Things You Should Never Say to Your Family About Your Health
It can be incredibly hard to talk to the family about anything – let alone about your health. Whether it's your parents, siblings, children, or even your second cousin, your loved ones are emotionally involved in your life, which can make it difficult to tackle health issues.
What you say (or what you do not say!) And how you say it is incredibly important if you hope to keep the relationships in your life as functional as possible. Here are 20 things you should never tell your family about your health, an important read for anyone with a disease or for their loved ones.
If that's the truth, then tell it. Damn it, sing while dancing a mask. However, do not lie to your family for your health just to make them feel better. You have to be honest so they can support you. "Why should you keep something as important as the details of your physical or emotional health secret from the people you love and are part of your world?" Emphasizes Family Therapist Dana McNeil, LMFT, Founder of The Relationship Place. "Your health problems are not a burden and you do not protect your family by not sharing it with others." If you do not tell them the truth, you can only create distance and isolation by avoiding being vulnerable or seeking support and help to ask.
Being able to discuss your health with the family can be overwhelming – especially as they are likely to ask many questions. You may not want to look weak or vice versa equate stoicism with courage. However, it is very important that you do not exclude your family. They are worried and want to be part of the conversation. Try and think about the situation from their perspective and how helpless they must feel. If you need to pause for a while, gently and thoughtfully express it.
Try not to use your health as a control method for other people. Not only will it not work, it might hit you back. "Manipulation through guilt is a surefire way to destroy relationships," says renowned clinical and consulting psychotherapist Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., author of Fragile Power: Why It's Never Enough To Have Everything. "Do not do it."
Genetics is completely out of our control. Blaming your family for your health does not result in a relationship or improvement in your health. Some experts believe that negative and unhappy thinking can worsen some conditions. "While science tells us that we can inherit genetic predispositions to certain health problems, most chronic illnesses are due to what we eat, drink, breathe, do and possibly think – and thinking involves belief. What we believe in ourselves and in our prognosis is enormous, "explains dr. Cynthia Li, internist and author of Brave New Medicine: The unconventional way for a doctor to cure her autoimmune disease.
She points out that if you can stop believing that you are condemned to a chronic illness, you may be able to visualize your full health. "This enables our right hemisphere to change how our genes fold and unfold, changing their expression from inflammation to healing – not to mention how that shift could begin to heal our relationships."
With the family, your problems are also theirs. "Family members can often feel as powerless as the sick person, and retiring or reducing the challenges can make the situation worse," Dr. Li continues. "Sometimes it is most beneficial to pay attention to each other. Healing does not happen in isolation. "
If you are sick and make such a statement to your family, you are basically encouraging them to be worried. "You've just put together two things that emit smoke signals from the people you know well. At first you admitted to be in pain, and then you used the phrase "It's not so bad," roughly meaning "It hurts a lot," explains Eudene Harry, MD, Medical Director for the Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center , "Whatever you say, it's going to be the only focus of her attention now."
You may think you are making things easier for the rest of your family by doing away with the seriousness of your situation, but it's really not fair to them. "When you downplay the severity of your symptoms or condition, you miss out on the opportunity for someone in your family to help you, and there's no room for your family to be empathetic and compassionate, which is very helpful in healing. Adrienne Nolan-Smith, certified patient advocate and founder of WellBe, explains.
About 99 percent of the time we tell our loved ones that we will "take care of it later," they know right away that we will not be quick to deal with it. "These are the people who know every term, what gives you energy, and more importantly, if you are not yourself," Dr. Harry. "If you worry about your health, take care of it."
You've shared your symptoms with your family, and now they're suggesting what it could be. "It's probably nothing" is something that I often hear from my family and my patients, "reveals Dr. Harry. "I understand that often means that they are worried about the symptom, but are more worried that it might be something they just can not hear or accept." Unfortunately, what you do not know can happen to you , harm, and brush off, as nothing could seriously affect your health. "Remember, whatever it is, small or not so small, your family is there to support you."
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When you play the blame game, the family always comes first – especially when it comes to mental illness. However, nothing is solved if you point your finger at your loved ones. "No matter how difficult your children or parents are, it's never a good idea to blame them for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure or other illnesses," explains Hokemeyer. Instead, try to focus on recovery and possibly involve them in the healing process.
Your family will probably want updates on your health status, so expect many phone calls and sms. It may be annoying, but remember that they are part of your team and just want to be there for you. Send a weekly e-mail update to those affected so they know what's going on without bothering you.
When it comes to your health, it needs a village. So many people have problems asking others to help or accepting others – including their families. We do not want to put others out of the way or feel annoying. Keep in mind, however, that your loved ones are likely to feel rather helpless because they can not "fix" you. Allowing them to help you helps them, because then they feel they are making their contribution.
First and foremost, it's just wrong to tell your family that you have nothing to do with it. Second, it can be considered rude. If you do not feel like sharing, say something like "Now is not a good time" and plan a better time to talk.
Maybe your family member did not go through exactly what you're going through right now, but that does not mean that it has not (or would not go through) its own health crisis. You may not know about it. Also, remember that it can be incredible and traumatic to watch your loved one suffer.
If you are 100% sure that you are not ill, say so. However, if you have the least chance of encountering something and possibly infecting others, you have to be honest. "We're the most infectious to others, about a day before our external symptoms show, and have the potential to spread germs that can make others sick up to a week later," McNeil emphasizes. "Communicating to our family members that we are starting to feel under the weather gives them the opportunity to avoid sharing cups or kisses for a short while as their disease fades."
It may not seem like a fun conversation, but always talk to your family about the genetic history and dispositions. If you are a parent, talk to your children. And children, ask many questions. Also open the conversation with your significant other. "If you're planning to start a family, it's important to be honest with your partner about your family history," adds McNeil. "Even if there is little risk of passing on a particular gene, it shows your partner that you have given them the opportunity to assess the risk of passing these issues on to their future child."
The medication you take may not be of any concern to you, but it's important to inform your family about all the prescriptions, supplements, and even vitamins you are taking. First, McNeil points out that our family members are often at the forefront of detecting side effects. "Being with us on a daily basis, they may find that there are cognitive or physical changes that we may not notice due to the effects of medication," she says.
For example, some psychotropic drugs have an effect on appetite, sleep, and libido, and in some cases may increase suicidal thoughts. A family member helps to monitor unusual mood or behavioral changes in order to manage the potential side effects of new medications. In the event that we ever become incapable of action, they can provide medical care providers with important information about our medical history.
It is absolutely crucial to enable your family to have mental health problems. You have more than any other ability to guide you out of a dark place. "Difficult times and depression are difficult enough without leaving your support system," says McNeil. They can also help you to consult a psychologist. "Sometimes the person who has these symptoms of depression is scared or not sure how to ask for help," she continues. "When you tell a family member that you feel safe, you can make sure that the problem is paid attention to and that steps are taken to get help."
Other important symptoms that your family should be aware of are chest pain. "Most of us are probably hoping that these symptoms will pass and tell us that we should just get over them," McNeil explains. However, these symptoms can be a sign of a heart attack or stroke and lead to unconsciousness. "Your loved ones need to know what has just happened so they can better seek medical help for you."
There is no way your family can avoid worrying about you because they love you and care for you. You may be fine – especially if you know what you're going through first. And to lead your happiest and healthiest life, you should not miss these 38 ways to live a healthy life.