17/03/2014 09:05 GMT | Updated 15/05/2014 06:59 BST

Supporting Through the Unexpected

Hurdles, unexpected situations, unplanned not what you wanted, how do you support people affected by these events?

The unexpected does not just affect one person directly affected, it ripples through the people that surround them.

Are you going through them with a partner or is your partner going through them and you are on the outside looking in? It could be a friend or a relative who has had a run of unexpected situations. How do you support?

The situation could be a loss of a job, your friend or a relative could be going through a heartbreak, an unexpected illness or a life changing situation.

Some people clam up, shut down and do not know how to speak as they struggle to heal and come to terms with the unexpected. Others go into denial and carry on with what they believe is normal. Some people who think they are helping, try to fix the situation for the person going through the difficult time.

If a partner, friend or relative has been diagnosed with an illness you wish you could take it away from them and make them better. If a partner, friend or relative feels fear or worries you wish you could get them to see the potential of not feeling the fear or stop them worrying.

Firstly do not fear the worst, believe, hope, listen and do. Feel love rather than fear.

Most of us talk too much without hearing the other person. We try to offer as much advice as possible and aim to make sense of the situation in order to calm the other person and try to make them understand. Actually hearing the other person, their fears, their wants and why they are feeling the way they do and have fear the way they do can help you understand them. Patience comes with understanding. Be patient. Active listening benefits as it identifies emotions and gathers information.

Do you plan and plan again where you want to be in 5 years' time, 10 years' time? It is part of job interviewing questions. However, how can you plan when the unexpected occurs? The unexpected might not fit in with a life plan. Losing a job could alter your plans to buy a house, or start a family, however it could send you down a path in life that might be better for you. We can prepare financially with insurance, however how do you prepare emotionally and how people react to the unexpected?

If an unexpected illness occurs, there is help and support not just for the person who has been diagnosed but also for the relatives, friends and partners. There is also support and advice for other people affected by the unexpected.

Mental Illness:

Rethink -

Army personal:

Help for Hero's -

Walking with the Wounded -


Marie Curie Cancer Care -

Cancer Research UK -



Job loss

Money Advices Service -

Citizens Advice Bureau -