Learning About Emotional Support

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When do you need emotional support?

When you have a long-term health problem, you may feel alone, confused, or scared. But you are not alone. Other people are going through the same thing you are and know how you feel.

Talking with others about your feelings can help you feel better.

Your family and friends can give you support. So can your doctor, a support group, or a church. If you have a support network, you will not feel as alone. You will learn new ways to deal with your situation, and you may try harder to overcome it.

Where you can get support

  • Family and friends: Family and friends can help you cope by giving you comfort and encouragement.
  • Counselling: Professional counselling can help you cope with situations that interfere with your life and cause stress. Counselling can help you understand and deal with your illness.
  • Your doctor: Find a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with. Be open and honest about your fears and concerns. Your doctor can help you get the right medical treatments, including counselling.
  • Spiritual or religious groups: Spiritual or religious groups can provide comfort and may be able to help you find counselling or other social support services.
  • Social groups: Social groups can help you meet new people and get involved in activities you enjoy.
  • Community support groups: In a support group, you can talk to others who have dealt with the same problems or illness as you. You can encourage one another and learn ways of coping with tough emotions.

How to find a support group

  • Ask your doctor, counsellor, or other health professional for suggestions.
  • Contact your local church, mosque, synagogue, or other religious group.
  • Ask your family and friends.
  • Ask people who have the same condition.
  • Contact a city, provincial, or national group that provides support for the condition. Your library, community centre, or phone book may have a list of these groups.
  • Use the Internet. Forums and blogs let you read messages from others and leave your own messages. You can exchange stories, vent your frustrations, and ask and answer questions.

Look for a support group that works for you. Ask yourself if you prefer structure and would like a group leader, or if you would like a less formal group. Do you prefer face-to-face meetings, or do you feel more secure in Internet chat rooms or forums?

Supportive relationships

A supportive relationship includes emotional support such as love, trust, and understanding, as well as advice and concrete help, such as help managing your time.

Reach out to others

Family and friends can help you. Ask them to:

  • Listen to you and give you encouragement. This can keep you from feeling hopeless or alone.
  • Help with small daily tasks or with bigger problems. A helping hand can keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Go to doctor visits with you. Your loved ones can offer support by being involved in your medical care.

Respect your relationships

A good relationship is also a two-way street. You count on help from others, but they also count on you.

  • Know your friends' limits. You do not have to see or call your friends every day. If you are going through a rough patch, ask friends if you can contact them outside of the usual boundaries.
  • Do not always complain or talk about yourself. Know when it is time to stop talking and listen or just enjoy your friend's company.
  • Know that good friends can be a bad influence. For example, if a friend encourages you to drink when you know it will harm you, you may want to end the friendship.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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