To say that getting a cancer diagnosis is saddening is an understatement. It entails that you have dangerous cells within the body that can travel and expand the problem areas. It means that you’ll need to take a handful of pills daily, possibly receive chemo- or radiation therapy, and pay thousands of dollars per appointment with the specialist. So, yes, that is beyond terrifying.
Understand that “Depression is different from passing sadness or temporary frustration with life’s issues. There are number of common signs for depression and they tend to be persistent.” says Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC. Some cancer patients end up developing depression because of it. After all, it’s easy to experience an all-time low when you hear that you’re already in the second or third stage of the illness. The comorbidity happening does not make the situation more manageable either. Your stress level heightens; you feel too hopeless to continue your treatments.
In case you want to snap out of your miserable thoughts, you should do these positive changes.
- Learn About Your Cancer
When I got diagnosed with a blood disease, it was so surreal for me. The doctor was saying, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer.” Then, he began to mention the medications I could try to eliminate the cancerous cells. He also told me that I should consider chemotherapy if pills are not enough to cure my illness.
During a session like that, you tend to feel helpless since you are suddenly facing a massive battle with your body, and there’s a high probability that you’ll lose. You might fear the unknown as well, considering the specialist only explained the disease briefly before moving on to talk about treatments.
If your goal is to avoid depression, you shouldn’t be afraid to learn more about your type of cancer. Say, what physical symptoms will you go through when it flares up? Are there foods that you have to forego? How fast will the illness spread? Your physician should be able to answer all of that and more. Alternatively, you can also use the internet to become knowledgeable regarding your ailment.
- Stop Pushing Loved Ones Away
You won’t merely see cancer patients leaving their family behind after getting a diagnosis in the movies. I have heard of old parents who act rude and temperamental around their kids to hide their pain. Some couples split because the ill person doesn’t want to be a burden in the other fellow’s life.
Although the depression and the drugs you’re taking make your decisions wobbly, you should never push your loved ones away. It is especially true once you reveal your disease to them, and yet they still wish to be with you. That signifies how much loved you are, to be honest. Thus, be thankful for having these special people around you.
- Avoid Hating Yourself
“Someone who’s socially isolated and doesn’t have a lot of social contacts may not feel lonely at all, but someone else may feel lonely even when they’re surrounded by lots of people,” says psychologist Amy Sullivan, PsyD. In your most depressed state, you might say, “Why am I so weak?” “Why can’t I have a strong body that is never prone to cancer?” “Why aren’t the treatments 100% effective on me?” If the hopelessness becomes severe, you may even stop showering, changing clothes, or eating. You assume that those mundane activities are no longer necessary since you’re going to die sooner than later.
The truth is that cancer won’t be the cause of your death in this scenario. It will be your negativity. You hate yourself; you hate your situation. There’s no sense of being patient with you. It’s like you don’t want to wait for months or years for the medication to work.
However, you ought to realize that such depressive thoughts can only worsen your situation. The more you absorb that negative energy, the more you might suffer because of it. The simplest way to make your life manageable is to strengthen your intrapersonal relationship and believe that you can beat the illness.
Cancer, frankly speaking, is not the easiest opponent to crush. You may go through many things to win over it. The treatments you’ll submit yourself to may have awful side effects. Nevertheless, once you persevere and keep depression out of your system, you’ll inadvertently increase your chances of overcoming the illness.