Living with a serious illness

Serious illness image (cropped)
26-11-2015

Being told you have a serious illness can turn your life upside down. It can affect everything from the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with family and friends, to your work, lifestyle, hobbies and social habits.

Not only that, but you may suddenly have real fears for your future. How will you manage financially? How will your partner, children or friends react? What will happen to the career and lifestyle you’ve worked so hard for? And the plans you’ve made? What if you don’t get to see your children grow up?

The Royal College of Psychiatrists says living with a serious illness can also have an overwhelming emotional impact on people, leaving them feeling sad, anxious, frightened or even angry.

“You may feel out of control, helpless, or isolated from your loved ones because none of you knows how to discuss your illness and feelings,” says LionHeart support officer Ben Halpin.

“Coping with the long-term effects of a serious illness can also cause depression, and it is important to discuss your emotional state as well as the physical side of your illness, whether that’s with a close friend or your partner, or a health professional.”

Emotional support is an important factor in helping you to cope. You may be offered this or referred by your doctor or another health care professional. LionHeart can offer counselling to RICS members who are in need of it, too.

Some NHS trusts may be able to provide access to relaxation therapies, such as a massage or guided meditation, to help you. There are also various groups who help people with specific illnesses and these can include local meet up sessions where you can share your experiences with people in similar situations.

Long-term ill-health may also cause financial difficulties including loss of income if you are unable to work, or have to make significant changes to your life.

Practical things you can do to deal with your finances include:

  • Find out what your employer’s policy is on sick pay and income protection
  • Check your cover. Do you have critical illness or income protection insurance? This may be linked to your mortgage payments or as a separate policy
  • If you’re struggling financially speak to your mortgage lender at the earliest opportunity. Many offer payment holidays, which may give you the breathing space you need
  • Find out if you are eligible for any benefits

You also have certain rights at work. It is unlawful for an employer to sack you on grounds of chronic illness or if you need regular treatment. Under the Equality Act 2010, your employer must also make reasonable changes to your workspace and working conditions to help you do your job. This might include making changes to your job or workload, training you to do another job, or allowing you to change your hours or work from home.

How can LionHeart help?

LionHeart’s experienced team can help you every step of the way if you or a family member are facing a serious and life-changing illness. Support includes talking to one of our BACP trained counsellors; help to locate a support group specific to your condition and location; advice on finances and legal issues, such as your rights at work, and in certain cases, financial assistance to help get you through the tough times.

To find out more call 0845 6039057 or email info@lionheart.org.uk

If you are interested in making a donation to support LionHeart’s work, click here

Latest Posts

2018
April
18th - LionHeart moving to Birmingham
18th - Brad's marathon fundraiser for LionHeart
17th - LionHeart survey will help shape future support services
5th - Top tips to beat stress
February
28th - Auction of vintage surveying equipment raises over £6000 for LionHeart
26th - Bookings open for 2018 John O'Halloran Symposium
1st - How to talk to someone you're worried about
1st - Mental health ambassadors share experiences in short film
January
24th - John O'Halloran Symposium 2018
15th - Auction of vintage surveying equipment will raise money for LionHeart
4th - LionHeart ambassador highlights mental health in property
3rd - Being kinder to yourself in 2018
2017
December
20th - LionHeart
18th - 10 ways to keep your cool this Christmas
November
29th - 12 reasons you should care about mental health
14th - LionHeart Impact Report 2017 published
14th - Do you know how much you are drinking?
8th - CBRE employees raise thousands for LionHeart
6th - Support LionHeart's Christmas hamper campaign!
October
16th - LionHeart lottery launched online
10th - World Mental Health Day
9th - LionHeart launches new will-writing webinar
2nd - Work Life Week
September
11th - Pension Awareness Week
7th - World Suicide Prevention Day
August
31st - LionHeart takes part in Wellness 17
14th - Tributes to 'Grandfather' of LionHeart
9th - Men twice as likely to suffer work-related mental health problems
July
25th - Farewell to two long-serving LionHeart trustees
June
28th - LionHeart's 10 steps to wellbeing with Knight Frank
8th - LionHeart helping more people than ever before
May
24th - "I hope something positive will come from dad's suicide"
18th - Mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin to speak at Bristol Symposium
11th - Huge turnout for London John O'Halloran Symposium
April
20th - Row For James team confirmed to speak at John O'Halloran Symposium
20th - No time limit on grief
6th - LionHeart signs up to Time to Change Pledge
March
23rd - 'Switch On' to LionHeart's new webinars
8th - Top tips this No Smoking Day
February
16th - New trustees take up positions on LionHeart's Board
2nd - LionHeart working with Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
2nd - "Never under-estimate the power of talking"
1st - LionHeart counselling now requested by 1 in 5 people we support
January
23rd - Expanded work-related support for RICS professionals
12th - Tributes to long-serving LionHeart trustee Billy Jenkins
10th - National Obesity Awareness Week
3rd - 5 reasons to NOT make a New Year's resolution
2016
December
13th - Huge rise in the number of people supported by LionHeart
November
22nd - Emergency help for flood victims
15th - LionHeart launches festive fundraising campaign
3rd - LionHeart unveils new look and expanded services
2nd - Can you design LionHeart's Christmas card?
October
19th - New wellbeing workshops for APC candidates
3rd - Could you be one of our next trustees?
September
15th - Surveyor's suicide prompts industry mental health project
June
16th - Men and stress
14th - Help shape the future of support by taking our survey
8th - A carer's story
6th - Carers’ life chances being damaged by lack of support and awareness
May
26th - Mental health event remembers company MD who took his life
4th - 'Why wait for help?'
April
25th - CBRE’s RICS members donate £16,680 to LionHeart
21st - Mental health symposium will remember company MD who took his life
20th - Sharing the burden of a serious illness
12th - CV mistakes and how to avoid them
March
14th - LionHeart working with LGBT networking and support group Freehold
8th - Change your habits this No Smoking Day
February
25th - Tributes to former chairman of LionHeart trustees Frederick Jones
4th - It's Time to Talk
January
25th - Countdown to 10th annual Crypt Factor
20th - How small steps add up to big health changes
7th - Should you go Dry for January?
6th - New Year divorce spike predicted
5th - Flooding victims receive help from LionHeart
4th - Financial know-how for young professionals
4th - Planning for retirement with LionHeart
2015
December
23rd - Merry Christmas from all at LionHeart
23rd - Financial help for flooding victims still available
15th - Hosting a Christmas gathering? 10 ways to keep your cool
8th - Dealing with loneliness at Christmas
7th - Emergency grants available following Storm Desmond floods
November
26th - RICS London to Paris bike ride completed
26th - Living with a serious illness
20th - What are your rights as a carer?
17th - Am I an addict? 14 Questions to ask yourself
16th - RICS president’s London to Paris bike ride to benefit LionHeart
12th - What is counselling and how does it work?
4th - LionHeart’s top 10 stress-busting tips
4th - Why I am leaving a legacy to LionHeart
October
28th - Disconnected? Spotting and dealing with work-related stress
21st - Survey reveals key issues RICS members face
September
30th - Worcester branch donates in memory of Paul Weaver and Jonathan Chilton
May
11th - The Helpfulness of Mindfulness
April
27th - LionHeart Announces All Round Increases in Service Use and Donations
Helpline 0845 6039057* or     024 7646 6696