When a Health Crisis Engulfs You

“I felt as if I had been hit with a sledgehammer.”—John, after learning that he had an impairing illness.

“I was scared.”—Beth, after realizing the seriousness of her health crisis.

LEARNING that you have a chronic and disabling ailment or that injuries from an accident will leave you permanently impaired is one of life’s most painful experiences. Whether you hear the news of your illness in a quiet doctor’s office or are brought face-to-face with your impaired condition in a hectic emergency room, you likely find yourself in a state of disbelief. Little in life prepares you to cope with the powerful emotions that engulf you when you are rocked by a devastating health crisis.

To gather information that might be helpful for those whose health has recently suffered a severe setback, Awake! spoke to a number of individuals in different countries who have successfully coped with chronic disabling illness for many years. They were asked to give their observations on such questions as: What emotions did you experience? What helped you to weather the crisis and find your balance again? What steps did you take to regain some control over your life? The firsthand knowledge gleaned from these interviews as well as some findings of researchers who are studying the effects of long-term ailments is presented for the benefit of those facing a health crisis right now. *


^ par. 5 While this cover series is especially addressed to those who are ill or disabled, the series “Chronic Illness—Coping as a Family” (Awake! of May 22, 2000) contained information particularly directed to those who are caring for the ill.