Coping with a Serious Lung Condition
Receiving the news that you or a loved one has interstitial lung disease (ILD) can come as a shock. Getting this news affects everyone differently and it’s important to remember that the way you react may not be the same as your family members or friends.
Your Initial Feelings
There is no right or wrong way to respond to a difficult diagnosis. Some people feel numb or go silent, while others feel angry or scared for what the future holds. Everybody is different and reacts in their own way.
Give yourself the time to take in what is happening. Some people would rather be on their own, but others would rather spend time with family and friends. If you don’t feel like talking right away, you don’t have to.
As hard as it can be, try not to push your emotions aside completely. At some point, it’s better to express how you feel, even if it's uncomfortable and hard to cope with.
Share your feelings with your healthcare team so they can help you address your emotional needs.
Am I Alone in How I Feel About the Diagnosis?
Although ILD is uncommon, you are not alone. There are other people with ILD, like you or your loved one, all over the world, who are working through the emotional and mental challenges of living with a lung disease.
Participate in a Support Group
Support groups are one resource that can help you cope with your emotions surrounding the diagnosis of ILD. They can help you feel less isolated and provide access to important information.
It is normal for a diagnosis of a serious lung condition to lead to feelings of physical and emotional exhaustion, which can sometimes make it difficult to find the strength to cope with the condition. Participating in a support group offers an opportunity to get together with others who are facing similar experiences and may help you to better manage the challenges of living with ILD.
Maintaining a sense of hope for the future may help you focus on looking after your physical and mental well-being. This hope could be that you can visit special places, be there for special occasions, or enjoy time with your family and friends.
Try to share your hopes with other people, as they can help you to fulfill them. Many people benefit from the hope, comfort, friendship, and support that family and friends may provide.