3 Emotional Truths of Physical Health Struggles

Written by Dana J.
Published on February 4, 2019
As I write this post my husband is experiencing abdominal pain, which means a possible emergency department visit and/or inpatient stay. My mind is in a fog, but I know I still need to keep moving forward.

Poem Library

I started writing poems in college while I was getting my bachelor’s degree. They are written from the heart and are meant to encourage and bring hope. These poems have been hidden away in a drawer since college and I’m wanting to dust them off and offer them to others as a form of comfort and commiseration.

You are not alone as you go through your struggles! Others have been there and are currently there. I’ve created this Poem Library to help spread that hope of appreciation of where you are in your struggle.

Gaining access to my Poem Library is free. Click the link below to find out how.

Emotions

I bet you had an emotional reaction to just that word, not to mention ACTUALLY talking/thinking about or processing real emotions. It’s hard and exhausting work! Now add to the mix that you or someone you love struggles with a physical health issue.

As I write this post my husband is experiencing abdominal pain, which means a possible emergency department visit and/or inpatient stay.

My mind is in a fog, but I know I still need to keep moving forward. Complete tasks on my to-do list, keep myself balanced, maintain stress levels. If I don’t keep moving I’ll freeze – nothing will get done – and I’ll be that much more stressed and anxiety-ridden if he’s admitted to the hospital.

The truth is that watching someone you love endure physical health struggles is heartbreaking. It puts you and them through the emotional wringer.

How do we survive, not to mention thrive, under these circumstances?

#1 Longsuffering

A great resource for learning how to process emotions and emotional situations; and to come out stronger and more authentic on the other side is Rising Strong by Brene Brown. The entire concept of Brene’s book is about getting back up after an event that causes you to land flat on your face (figuratively speaking) and doing so with authenticity.

I’m still reading through it, about halfway so far. It has some great insight into dealing with the real and very difficult emotions people face every day. I plan to do a full review once I’m finished reading it.

What I read the other night resonated with me. Brene brought up the point that this process is not an easy uplifting one.

“the rising strong process deepens our wholeheartedness, but it often feels like a good, hearty tired.”

Rising Strong pg 120, Brene Brown

Reading this I felt relief. There are many days when I feel worn out. I’m beyond the end of my energy limit. It’s all I can do to brush my teeth and crawl into bed. Having a lot of those days can get tiring, but in a way, those are the most satisfying ones.

Those are the days when I believe that I have accomplished something. Wrestling with my emotions. Determining the truth in every situation despite those emotions. Facing those emotions head-on and still completing the activities that need to be done. That is deserving of “a good, hearty tired.” (Brown, Rising Strong)

It doesn’t mean you won’t feel like throwing in the towel or asking for a good long break from all the toiling, but that leads us into my next point.

#2 Commitment

Anything in life that is worth your time is also going to take commitment. Supporting someone who is struggling with their physical health definitely falls into that category.

I love my husband. I am committed to him and to supporting him in everything he is dealing with in his life. Each relationship looks different. If you are supporting your Mom instead of your husband, how you support her will look different than how I support my husband.

Regardless of the relationship and what healthy support looks like within that construct; there will be days of discouragement when you wonder when the struggle will end. Can I take a vacation from this illness? Take a break from worrying? Can I have a moment without anxiety or stress?

In these moments we are able to choose to keep going. Commitment is not just for the calm times, but also for the trials. That is when commitment is truly tested and proved.

I challenge you to stay committed.

#3 Hope

There is always hope. In fact, we can generate it ourselves. Every physical ailment is different. For Sean and I, there are long stretches (two to four weeks) when we can settle into our regular routine and almost feel like he’s not affected by a chronic illness.

Those times are precious to me and give me hope that those times can someday last longer than two to four weeks.

I also find hope in our care team. Without them and their persistence and knowledge of Sean’s PSC I would feel completely hopeless. They keep an eye on everything going on in his body and have his best interests at heart.

It is a struggle for me to give up control of my husband’s health. Trust in the Lord gives me the hope that this illness is not all we were created for. There is SO MUCH more to Sean than his PSC and so much more to our marriage than managing it.

My Prayer for You

Heavenly Father,

I pray that these words reach peoples hearts. That they embolden them to seek you for their understanding and strength. I pray that they can find hope in You, if nowhere else. That they can take from Your example of commitment to us and show commitment to those they love. And that they reach out in faith and find You, Lord, reaching back.

You are our great redeemer and comforter. I seek You, Lord, to guide me through these posts that they may not be just ramblings.

May we seek You and love You above all else.

In Jesus’ Precious Name,

Amen

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.

woman sitting outside on steps happy smiling

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There is hope. Always.

It’s been about six years since Sean was diagnosed with PSC and it’s been almost five years, to the day, since we got married (YAY US!!). AND, we are currently 12 days post-transplant surgery. How crazy is that!?! (As of, 3/11/23)

It has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Getting put on the liver transplant waiting list. Doing endless social media posts in search of a living donor. Praying against infections. Praying for a donor to be found. Hearing that a donor is going through testing only to find out after months of anticipation that they are not a viable match…3 times!

After over a year of waiting, the surgery was scheduled and we were prepared to go through this life-saving process. The long journey of recovery has now begun. <3

I’m confident in saying that Sean and I have grown both as individuals and as a couple throughout this whole process, but we definitely still have some more growing to do. We are just getting started on our lives together and we are excited about what is to come for us.

We anticipate that this next year will be one filled with doctor’s appointments, unexpected hospital in-patient stays, and potentially stressful travel time away from our daughter (our least favorite part.)

But, we see hope as we’ve never seen it before. We feel like we can dream again.

I encourage you to have hope and to let yourself dream regardless of what stage or struggle you are currently in. I’m not assuming I can understand where you are or how you are feeling…and I know that sometimes hope just feels absolutely impossible. But, if you happen to get even just the tiniest glimpse of it grab it, hold tight to it. Because there is hope. Always. 

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