When You Think No One Cares
The process that follows being diagnosed with cancer can be a very emotionally draining one. It is not uncommon that during and after treatment, people may find themselves overcome with a variety of overwhelming emotions. They are filled with loneliness and feel that no one cares. Being afraid is also not an uncommon emotion during a life-changing phenomenon such as cancer.
Many cancer patients also think that others such as family members have no idea how they feel or are in no position to give advice because it is not them that have cancer. The truth of the matter is that a cancer diagnosis also affects loved ones, family members, and friends. The fear, anxiety, and dread are emotions that loved ones and friends have in common with the patient. The fear of the unknown can be a very powerful thing. So simply put, you need to remember, you are not alone!
How Cancer Affects Families
“Relational dynamics are part of the family system, which often includes old baggage and unfinished business such as wounds or secrets from the past,” says Dr. Kerin Groves, PhD., LPC “It is imperative that therapists ask each [person] about that individual relationship.” she added.
Why You Are Feeling Lonely
Feeling alone or that no one cares is not an uncommon emotion for people with cancer. Relationships can seem different and even distant for various reasons, which include:
- People close to the patient sometimes have difficulty dealing with cancer and may avoid having to face their emotions.
- It is also possible that with the treatment, you might not be feeling well enough to participate in the hobbies, social activities, etc as you previously had done. This generally also means that your contact with the outside world is less active than before.
- Sometimes, even if you are around people that are close to you, you can still feel alone. This is more so the case when people are unsure how to speak to you or know what topics are safe to talk about.
- Sometimes, other people may want to help and be there for you but do not know-how.
Annually, 12.7 million people discover they have cancer. There are millions of people around the world that share the same fears and anxieties. Finding support is a healthy way to deal with what you might be feeling. Communicating with others might not be easy, which is why more recently, online forums and communities have become more popular. These forums offer you a number of support options. These include:
- Group Discussions/Chat Rooms
- Support Buddies for one-on-one support
Talking can be easier when it is with people you can relate to. Not only does it enable you to speak out about your own emotions but it will also help you manage the challenges cancer may bring. “Social connection improves health, well-being, and longevity.” says psychologist Emma Seppala, Ph.D
The Benefits of Connecting With People You Can Relate To
Cancer patients and survivors have invaluable information to share. Talking with others about the experiences, emotions, and challenges that they faced can help you better deal with what you are going through. By talking to others that have endured the same challenges and emotions when dealing with cancer, you can:
- Gain more insight and information about your specific cancer and the treatment side effects
- Have someone that will listen and offer encouragement
- Help you solve problems and offer advice on how to deal with the challenges and emotions you might be feeling
- Be inspired
- Deal with the fears and anxieties you might have about the future
“Having a positive peer group provides individuals with a balanced perspective by serving as a sounding board. It can become very easy to become isolated with one’s own thoughts and feelings and connecting with others can offer objective feedback and support.” as explained by Dr. Dana Avey, LMFT.
There are a number of discussion groups and forums that are mediated by medical staff who volunteer their time to manage the online forums and communities. There are also a few social media groups and pages that offer inspiration, Q & A sessions with professional medical staff and up to date news on research and advocacy. It helps to stay connected, even if only in a small way, it keeps you connected with reality.