Telling Friends and Family That You Have Hepatitis C
Getting the news that you have hepatitis C can be one of the hardest days of your life. Telling someone you love may be even harder. You need to share the news so that you can begin to plan the next move, but you do not want to hurt your loved ones. You may also be afraid of how they will take the news.
My top ten ways to tell someone you have hep C
- Do not put it off – The longer you wait, the more likely they will learn it from someone else. It is best that you be the one to share the news.
- Do not totally surprise them – If you’ve been sick or had symptoms, let them know you are seeing a doctor. That should be a clue that something is up. They will expect to hear a diagnosis.
- Set it up – There is a time and place for everything. Breaking the news about your diagnosis of HCV may require privacy where you have plenty of time to talk about the details.
- Sit close to them - Make sure they are comfortable. Have something to drink or snack on.
- Be prepared – Have some literature like a brochure from the doctor’s office or a print out from the internet. Open a website link to help answer any questions that you both may have.
- Be informed – It’s important to know some of the basics. It not only helps you, but also reassures them that you are learning all you can about the virus.
- Be sympathetic – They may be in a state of shock for a bit. Let them take it in and react however is right for them.
- Make it about them – Even though you have just had a huge blow in discovering you have the virus, try and put your own emotions aside just for a bit. Comfort them and let them know you are sorry that they have to go through this with you.
- Bring solutions – Talk to them about the new treatment options. Let them know you are looking at dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Look at the silver lining – Stay optimistic. Remind them that you are still alive and strong. Let them know that you are going to fight to beat the virus and live a long life.
It is difficult to know what someone’s emotional response will be. They may be sad. They may be angry or feel ashamed. They may be afraid of getting the virus too. It is usually best to let them sit with their emotions and not try to change them. Let them talk about their emotions without getting defensive.
By remembering these steps, you can help your loved ones move past the first stage of learning about Hepatitis C. They can then become your support system as you move toward treatment and freedom from the Hepatitis C Virus.
Has hep C had an impact on your relationships?