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15.01.2021

ABC by Paley – HELPLESS

Joining the family of a sick child is associated with an intense wave of various emotions. Anger, fear, and resentment are intertwined with feelings of injustice and loneliness. This often comes with blaming yourself for your child's illness or critical voices you hear from other people. Lack of information, emotional support, and conflicting information received from specialists can lead to a feeling of confusion and helplessness.

Faced with the child’s difficulties, the family has to rethink its entire life and face the demanding reality. In the process of diagnosis and treatment of a child, parents sometimes have to face the information that their child will never be fully healthy. Accepting this can be extremely difficult because every parent deeply wants the baby they are waiting for to be born healthy. Coming to terms with a child’s illness is a process worth taking time for and then surrounding yourself with kind people who can tell you honestly about the difficult thoughts that may arise.

At such times, it may be helpful to connect with families who have had similar experiences. Their knowledge, understanding of the disease, and ways to deal with everyday life can bring relief to parents who are just entering the path of treating their child. Such people can tell you where to look for help, who to go to, where to get the funds needed for treatment. This is because sometimes there is a situation in which the possibilities of treatment in the country or using the public health service run out. Then, the parents have to organize collections.

The organization of fairs, events, and collections often falls on the shoulders of one of the parents – usually the mother. Asking strangers for money for treatment is not easy. This is a difficult moment that often causes shame or a feeling of humiliation. Critical thoughts about yourself, people, and the world may appear in the mind of the caregiver. Sometimes there are unpleasant situations when this malaise is further aggravated by unpleasant words addressed to parents by, more or less, strangers. At such moments, the feeling of loneliness and helplessness becomes almost unbearable. All positive experiences are suppressed and covered by hurtful sentences from people who have no idea what the parents and the child are facing.

Painful words and events are more memorable. Human brains have developed such a skill that people tend to focus on bad events. This, of course, has a protective function – it warns us of the dangers. At the same time, it makes it difficult to see the good around. And although it is not easy and does not come either easily or quickly, it is, nevertheless, worth cultivating good experiences and memories related to cordial people and situations. Knowing how our mind works, we can consciously redirect our attention to words and experiences that have been helpful for us.