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  • Writer's pictureMyriame Lyons

Stressed About My Parent's Diagnosis: Dealing with a New Diagnosis of a Chronic Illness

Updated: Feb 22, 2023

As a child you often imagine your parents as invincible people.

Couple comforting each other

As an adult-child, this image can quickly disappear with the diagnosis of a chronic illness, like MS, cancer, or dementia.

As a counsellor in Vancouver, I have witnessed this change in perspective in clients who are suddenly overcome by emotions after receiving news of a parent's chronic illness diagnosis.

Having a parent with a chronic illness (any long-term illness that can last or recur over a lifetime) can be completely overwhelming. Feelings of fear, worry, guilt, sadness are but a few of the emotions you could be going through. These are normal reactions to learning about a parent's diagnosis. While there are many steps to take in one moment, consider the following to get the support you need.

Enlisting the Right Support Team

When it comes to feeling supported there are a few things you can do right away to make this journey a bit more comfortable.

Get Familial Support

Whether biological or chosen, family is family. Find the people closest to you that you can confide in. Having one person that will support you is unfair to yourself and them. Broaden your familial support, think of a few family members or friends that you can ask for help. When you broaden this support system you can guarantee that someone you want will be there when you need them most.

Get Social Support

Identify groups of friends (big or small) that you can count on to bring you out on the town or into the woods if you need it. Letting them know you are going through a harder time with your family can help them understand to stay nearby and stay attentive to your needs.

Get Communal Support

Find support services around you, such as a spiritual gathering space, community centre yoga class or therapist's couch! These communal services offer different support. They are neutral third-parties that are removed enough from your familial and social networks, but that can provide much solace.

Send me an email to give communal support a try!

Stay strong,


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