Anxiety is a B*tch, and She’s Best Friends With Cancer
Unfortunately these two go together like Netflix & chill. If you were unfamiliar with anxiety before, chances are that you’re well acquainted by now. The disruptive worry and fear can strike at any stage of diagnosis, treatment or recovery. This feeling can be so overwhelming and feel impossible to escape. Whether you’re just experiencing it for the first time or have been living at its mercy for months, we want to help.
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 its management.
It’s also worth reviewing the basics about the (completely common) disorder.
Here’s how the American Cancer Society defines anxiety: “feeling uncomfortable, worried, or scared about a real or possible situation.” Sounds reasonable under the circumstances, right?
That’s because it’s absolutely normal to feel anxious when you’re sick. But, just because it’s normal, that doesn’t mean you’re not struggling. If you have any of the following symptoms every day or nearly every day and they are interfering with your daily activities, it’s time to talk to your care team:
Shaking or trembling
Dryness of the mouth
Feeling “on edge” or restless
Anxious facial expressions
Feeling short-tempered or irritable
Angry outbursts are also a symptom of anxiety, although they sometimes get written off as mere “grouchiness.” This is usually a reaction to feeling helpless to protect oneself or stay safe from harm. A lack of control and a disruption in your routine are also naturally very upsetting.
Everyone is different, but parenting, resuming “real” life after treatment, survivor guilt, financial stress, intimacy issues, or the daunting world of dating during or after treatment are all common, cancer-related anxiety triggers.
Here are some holistic methods that have helped us manage our anxiety symptoms.
In addition to treatment your doctor may recommend, we hope that maybe one or even several of these holistic helpers can help you manage these symptoms and find some calm in the storm.
We’re going to be honest. Meditation is not a quick fix for anxiety. With daily practice, though, it’s possible for mediation to build resilience. Setting aside time to reflect is also an opportunity to recognize and regulate anxious feelings building up before the downward spiral begins. If you’re not quite sure how to begin, apps such as Simple Habit make it easy to learn simple meditation techniques from home.