It’s Hard To Run Weighted Down
Know their concerns and address them: two-thirds of patients are weighed down concerned about being a burden to others. In fact, it is their number one concern, followed closely by a fear of being separated from loved ones, then by concern for how their loved ones will manage after their death, feelings of worthlessness, and lack of purpose. Whenever you can provide reassurance, reaffirm their value, help them discover purpose, it will chase the clouds away – but those clouds often return so make you reassurance a routine – such an easy way to love on them and just what they need.
To the extent patients have allowed their work, appearance, skills, avocations or their relationships define them, they are vulnerable to the whims of an illness that can so easily alter all of those. Anyone who has ever dealt with self-doubt, low self-esteem, self-rejection or depression is likely to have illness re-create the darkness of those feelings. You can be an empathetic witness to their adversities and validate their feelings, and at the same time question the accuracy of their conclusions. You can address each one head on and do it repeatedly. You can speak the truth of their goodness and their belovedness, -their value to you, family and friends and most of all by their God. If faith is your fortress, you can remind them that they are God's chosen precious creation and encourage them on their spiritual journey where they can discover that truth for themselves. When appropriate, recruit a priest, a Stephen Minister or a trained counselor to help.
When there is grief let them lead in expressing it. Be cautious in expressing your own grief around them as you don’t want to quash whatever hope and lust they still have for living by making them feel already dead.