1. What can I do about my distressing thoughts and feelings?
A major difficulty with a cancer diagnosis is that it tends to bring up a lot of scary thoughts and feelings that can get in the way of living well.
- “What if I am not cured?”
- “What if it comes back?”
- "Why did this happen to me?"
With cancer there are:
- No guarantees
- No quick answers
- Plenty of waiting for treatment side effects and test results
- Plenty of statistics to keep anxiety high, and
- Plenty of horror stories.
We live in a world that teaches us to CONTROL unpleasant thoughts and feelings. That if we can just “be strong” enough, we can turn off our distress. We can hide it away so it doesn’t bother anyone. We get this message every time someone tells us to “cheer up”or “be positive”.
The cartoons below illustrate this point. Have you heard people use these phrases?
Some of these suggestions may have worked in the past, but you may have noticed that since your diagnosis they just don’t seem to work anymore.
Sometimes it might even feel as if people are angry with you if you feel down. It is as if they just want you to “get over it”, and you are just not trying hard enough.