Call in the Troops

By Arline Kaplan © 2015 (All Rights Reserved)

Your wife has undergone a diagnostic test for a life-threatening illness, but the results will not be known for a few days. You begin asking, “What if, she has the illness?” “What will we do?” “What if I lose her?”

Or your son calls you tearfully on the telephone, telling you his father, your ex-husband, just died suddenly of a heart attack. Your heart feels your son’s pain, and you begin to experience your own reactions of sadness and anger, arising from memories of loving times and times of bitterness and estrangement.

How do you get through these highly charged emotional times? “Call in the troops,” recommends my friend, Lori.

Call in the troops translates into using a palette of non-harmful techniques or tools that work for you. Here are some ideas.

-Allow yourself to cry, wail or scream. If you embarrass easily or your voice carries, go to your car, roll up the windows and let the emotions surge out.
– Talk through your feelings and fears with a trusted friend or counselor.
– Write your feelings and fears in a journal.
– Draw pictures about how you are feeling.
– Play or compose music.
– Go to a special place of comfort (your bedroom, the ocean, a favorite tree) where you can release your feelings.
– Read inspirational books.
-Take time to be quiet.
– Walk in nature.
– Plant new spring flowers.
– Ask for prayer support.
– Take a piece of rolled-up newspaper and hit a chair as you express every angry thought that comes up. Expressing your repertoire of cuss words also helps.
– Find people who have gone through what you are now experiencing and ask them to share what helped them.
– Plan and do something that gives you pleasure (e.g., playing tennis with a friend, taking a day trip to an area you love).
– Write affirmations.
– Go running or do some form of physical exercise.
– Ask for help.
– Be gentle with yourself, allow yourself time to grieve if you need to, according to your own timetable, not someone else’s.
– Turn on music with a primitive drumbeat and dance around the house or backyard.

I have used all of these techniques. They work.

P.S. If you have other suggestions that work for you and are willing to share them online, send them to me. My contact information is on the home page.

Viewers, Your Help is Needed:  I am a freelance medical journalist.  Most of the articles posted on this website were originally written for healthcare professionals, but I believe patients/consumers may find value in the articles as well.  Many of us who have long-lasting or life-threatening health problems become experts on them.  For that reason, I have kept the rights to electronically post these articles.  I plan to post even more and develop new ones specifically for this site.  It is my intention to keep this site free from the influence of advertisers and just offer you high-quality, well-researched information.  Your financial support is needed to continue this user-sponsored service.  You can send voluntary contributions to, or contact me at:

Arline Kaplan
915l Atlanta Ave. #5354
Huntington Beach, CA 92615

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