Cancer And The "Big Sad"

Posted: October 16, 2020


Mental Health







Get ready to feel all of the feelings. 

After a cancer diagnosis, there’s no way to predict how you’re going to feel at any given time throughout treatment or recovery. Some days, you might be borderline weirded out by how well you’re handling things. Others, you could be tempted to scream at the sky. Sadness, however, is always ready to make an appearance. Often, with tears as the supporting actor.

We’re telling you. You’re going to be surprised at just how often your face leaks. 

Making pancakes and can’t get the flip down? Cue the sadness. Over getting poked with needles? Here come the tears! Sadness is a spectrum that isn’t just black and white. There’s this whole gray area. Its intensity varies from day to day and even throughout the day. 

You might feel pressured to feel happiness about good test results or much anticipated N.E.D. news… And then inevitably feel sad if you don’t. Sadness may also rear its ugly head at uncertainty. Constantly wondering whether your cancer will come back some day takes a toll. Crying about that is valid too. 

These emotions are quite often associated with side effects that aren’t often talked about: depression, PTSD, and “survivor’s guilt” to name a few.

Like always, we’d love to share our best tips for feeling better with our buds. 

Before we get started: This should be obvious, but it’s worth noting. We are NOT doctors trained to provide a diagnosis or medical advice about your mental health. If you find that feelings of anxiety or depression are interfering with your ability to make it through the day, please seek professional help. 

None of us ever really wants to (who would volunteer to be sad!?), but you’ve got to feel your feelings.

It’s important to your recovery to acknowledge each emotion as it enters the room. Dismissing your feelings or bottling them up leads nowhere fast. It doesn’t make anything better, because it doesn’t help you get to the root of what you’re experiencing. When you’re feeling down, take a quick break and try putting your thoughts onto paper.

Don’t have the energy to write? Allow us to get back on our meditation soap box. It’s a great way to get in tune with your emotions! Headspace and Calm offer live and guided meditations for the cause that you can stream from home no matter your skill level. 

Endorphins are your friend. 

These natural “happy chemicals” can be created just by doing something you enjoy. Simply sitting down with a craft and turning off your phone works wonders as art therapy. Twist Out Cancer offers a more structured approach, connecting people touched by cancer to creative arts all around the nation. Their Virtual Twistshops are run by a licensed clinical art therapist. Oh, and never ever underestimate the power of a great dance party! 

Somatic breathwork can help you tackle the root cause: trauma. 

According to Stephanie Rae from Stephanie Rae Coaching it’s, “a therapeutic way to embodied living, thriving in your truth, sexual and personal empowerment, and trauma healing.” From a somatic breathwork standpoint, sadness can be a side effect of “stuck and frozen energy” that, with the right technique and attention to your body, can be released. At the heart of the practice is a belief that our bodies already know how to heal, and with a little help we can tap into their innate wisdom to do it. 

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