The Importance of Support
Let's not sugar coat it... A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying.
Having a good support system from the time of diagnosis, to well beyond finishing treatment is absolutely crucial to help minimize your stress and anxiety levels.
It's been clinically proven that stress can disrupt your sleep, diet, mood, digestion, and ability to focus. What many people don't know however, is that it can also affect your ability to heal and fight cancer.
It's common to experience mood changes after an initial diagnosis, but during cancer treatment you may find that your emotions are even harder to control.
Cancer treatment activates the immune system, which in turn leads to changes in brain chemicals. This can make it even more difficult to cope with stress and anxiety, especially on your own.
Even with the most supportive family and friends, many people still feel very alone throughout their cancer journey. You may feel as though they don't fully understand what you're going through or the fears you have. It's also very normal to not want to share these fears with your loved ones to keep them from worrying.
And there's a good chance that your friends and family aren't trained in supporting a loved one through depression, post-traumatic stress, body image issues, and all of the other challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis.
If you find that over several days in a row you feel helpless, sad, angry, irritable, anxious, have trouble concentrating on tasks, have difficulty sleeping, or struggle to face routine chores, it's time to ask for help.
Hoping mental health problems such as anxiety or depression will go away on their own can lead to worsening symptoms.
To get help you can:
Call or use social media to contact a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings.
Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
Contact your employee assistance program, if your employer has one, and ask for a referral to a mental health professional.
Call your primary care provider or mental health professional to ask about appointment options and get advice and guidance.
Contact organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for help and guidance on information and treatment options.
And please feel free to reach out to us directly in the link below if you need help in getting in touch with proper support. We're always here to help!