Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | July 4, 2019

Do’s and Don’ts When Your Loved One Gets a Difficult Diagnosis Part 2: Avoid Information Overload

woman sitting on sofa while looking at phone with laptop on lap Photo by bruce mars on

Avoid Information Overload

It’s tempting to start “Googling” to find out everything you can about your loved one’s diagnosis, especially if it’s one you’re not familiar with. Everyone wants to help, and you might feel helpless if you aren’t close enough to where they live to offer more material help. Looking up information online is the best tool many helpers have at their disposal.

However, speaking from personal experience, information overload might overwhelm someone who’s just gotten a difficult diagnosis. Being in the hospital yourself or making a lot of trips back and forth for someone else can be a difficult time to process a lot of information from various sources on top of everything else.

A quick Internet search will yield a lot of results where many health issues are concerned. However, keep in mind the fact that not all types of info that you find are necessarily helpful. Flooding someone coping with the onset of a major health issue with non-beneficial information, however well-intentioned, can be a major source of stress.

A few helpful things to keep in mind:

  • Grant funding for many health conditions might only be able to be dispensed through a local or regional non-profit, which will likely have its own criteria
  • Many resources can only be requested or applied for by the patient, their medical proxy or a caseworker
  • Each state has differing laws about eligibility for health and other services that may differ from your state’s

Everyone who gets a difficult diagnosis reacts differently and has distinct thoughts and emotions they need to process. As such, they need to sort out whatever information they receive on their own time, in their own way. Yours or my way of coping might not match their preferred schedule.

Know that your efforts are most likely appreciated, but they’ll need time to go through the info,  especially if they have a lot of new stuff to learn about. Don’t take it personally if some of the info isn’t immediately useful, if at all.

By reaching out and attempting to help, instead of offering platitudes, you’re making a difference.


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