Fill Your Life with Hopefulness
“The lonely become either thoughtful or empty.” Mason Cooley
Dealing with the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of the treatment can have an intense impact on both your emotional and physical wellbeing. Trying to deal with the mixture of emotions you are feeling can be exhausting, even more so if you are trying to do it alone. Often, people with cancer choose to hide their feelings of fear and about feeling empty and sad in an attempt to lessen the burden of their disease on their loved ones.
“Hope almost always involves a leap of faith, as we move toward a future that even our best efforts can’t guarantee.” says psychologist Shane J. Lopez Ph.D.
You Are Allowed To Feel Overwhelmed
Being diagnosed is scary. When hearing the word ‘cancer’, feeling overwhelmed, scared or afraid is not uncommon. Being diagnosed can evoke a number of emotions and feelings. There are a number of reasons that can give rise to the emotions, anxiety, sadness, and hopelessness you might be feeling, which can include:
- Fear of the unknown, especially when doctors use medical terms that you don’t understand
- Your routine and what you consider normal is disrupted by treatments and doctors’ appointments
- You feel like life the way you know it has ended
“The urge to know what your life is all about and to know your life’s direction leaves you feeling uncertain about the future and discontent with the present.” says Marcia Reynolds Psy.D.
There are a number of ways you can change the feeling of being out of control. Start with the most important – find out everything you can about your cancer. Do not be afraid to ask the doctors and nurses questions or speak to a social worker. Seek out the support of other cancer survivors. Seek out help from a therapist. It helps to voice your emotions and learn ways to cope with them. Regardless of what you decide, it is important that you do what’s right for you. Most importantly, remember that you do not have to do this alone.
Hold on to Hope
It is important that you always remember to hold on to hope. Having a hopeful outlook and holding on to a positive attitude will support your healing. “Acceptance is the foundation of holding space and hope, because space and hope must be grounded in what is and not on what should be or could be.” According to Dr. Ili Rivera Walter, PhD, LMFT. Find the positive. Read books by survivors and take hope and encouragement from their experiences. Speak to other cancer patients. Ask questions and voice your own fears. Knowing that you are not alone in this can make a big difference. There are a number of ways to deal with the emotions or feelings of hopefulness you might be feeling. These can include:
- Speak to others and express your feelings.
- Be positive, do not think of the worst. Focus on your wellness and getting healthy.
- Find ways to relax. Look into meditation or relaxation exercises.
- Try to stay as active as possible. Get out of the house and focus on other things.
- Find ways to occupy your mind. Look into hobbies such as photography or creative art.
- Focus on the things that you can control.
- Be involved in your treatment and health care. Ask questions and speak to others about dealing with the side effects and symptoms.
You Are Only Human
“Dealing with it is the operative word. I found myself at seven years not battling it. Not struggling with it. Not suffering from it. Not breaking under the burden of it, but dealing with it.” Michael J. Fox
There is always hope. You are allowed to be afraid. You are allowed to feel emotions. What you are not allowed to do is lose hope. Find ways to take control of your life. Seek out support. Find what works for you and meets your needs. Take time to understand. Research your cancer, speak to your health care providers and ask questions. Speak to other cancer patients and survivors. It helps to know that you are not alone in what you are going through.