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Dealing With Terminal Illness

May 10th, 2020


“If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” - Steve Jobs

Holding the hands of a patient in a sick bed

A Death Sentence

One thing that is guaranteed about life is that one day we will all die. There is no doubt about it, at one time all of us will pass away from this life at one point or another. Most of the time, we are not sure when the time of our death will be. Our lives are fragile, at any point in time our life can be taken from us and we could take our final breath.

Sometimes, though, people develop illnesses that are terminal in nature, as the illness is likely to lead to death. This death sentence can bring a lot with it in terms of emotions and the psychological response (for example: depression and anxiety). Dealing with terminal illness can be extremely difficult for not only the individual but the friends, family, and loved ones of the one who was diagnosed with the terminal illness.

Have Hope, Faith, and Be Courageous

Maybe the most important thing someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness can do is to be courageous and be ready to fight. It is extremely important that when you get a terminal illness that you do not give up. Those who are prepared to fight against the illness and do everything in their power to stay alive, will continue living their life and doing things necessary to keep one’s health as good as possible, considering the circumstances.

On the other hand, those that give up will often quit trying in life and allow their health to completely deteriorate. They often have much poorer outcomes than those who have the courage to fight. And, make no mistake, it definitely takes courage to preserve through a terminal illness diagnosis. This is where faith comes in.

Faith often has a connotation that you are spiritual or religious. People often relate faith to a higher power or a god. This does not have to be the case, though. Faith can simply be the belief in something or having a trust in something or someone. Faith is related to hope, in that being hopeful means you are wanting something to happen and believing it will. Keeping hope alive is very important when dealing with a terminal illness. Have faith that you will get better and that even when you do pass that your loved ones will be taken care of and happy.

Ways to Reach Out for Support


Getting help from others is very important when dealing with a terminal illness. When you have a terminal illness, you may not feel like talking with many people about your feelings and what you are going through. However, it is beneficial to talk with at least one person about these things.

If one does not feel comfortable talking about such personal things with a friend or family member, then seeing a counselor or therapist would be a great decision. Therapists are there to listen and keep the things that are said to them confidential, which means that they will not tell other people what they hear. Expressing your thoughts and feelings is very important and can help prevent possible depression and anxiety.

A woman and her daughter with a cancer headscarf on looking out the window

Asking for Help With Day-to-Day Necessities

Reaching out to friends, family, and other loved ones can be helpful for not only talking and sharing one’s thoughts and feelings, but for help with other things. Dealing with a terminal illness is exhausting and can leave one extremely fatigued. Having other help out with things around the house – such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning – can be a tremendous help.

Spend Your Time Doing What YOU Love Most

Often times, when dealing with a terminal illness, the individual needs to be ready to spend their time and energy on things that they enjoy. This serves a few purposes...

One, life is precious. This is true for everyone, but especially for those who have a terminal illness. They have been diagnosed with an illness that is supposed to take their life within a certain period of time. Typically, this period of time is not long. Therefore, the individual should spend their time doing things they enjoy and love to do.

Another reason that spending time doing things that one enjoys doing is a good idea is because it can help take one’s mind off of the thought of the terminal illness. It can be extremely hard to get one’s mind off of the terminal illness and one can start ruminating on it and on death. This can lead to the development of anxiety and/or depression. This is not to say that one with a terminal illness will not think about it. Of course, that is not the case. However, thinking about it all of the time can be extremely unhealthy and devastating to one’s psyche.

The Reality is Hard.

Dealing with a terminal illness is extremely hard and requires a lot of faith, hope, and courage. If you have a terminal illness, you are strong, and you are tough. Remember that and believe that!

Reach out to support from others when you need it. And, realize that you do need help. Do not try to do everything on your own. Reaching out to a therapist can be a great idea as well. Keep fighting and try to do something you enjoy every day.

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