Our guide to coping with your emotions
There’s no right way to feel with cancer. There’ll be times when you feel low, and the last thing you want to do is put on a ‘happy face’. It’s hard to stay positive all the time. We’ve been there. We hope this guide to coping with your emotions helps you.Emily, Hinna, Jamie & Leanne
Ask your hospital or GP for psychological support so you can talk things through. Your workplace or university may also be able to refer you for counselling.
Talking to somebody about why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling was the biggest help. It gave me a lot of practical tools I use in my day-to-day life.Hinna
Keep in touch with friends
Even if you’re not feeling great, force yourself to see people because it’s so important to have that contact, even if it’s just a text or a Facebook post.
Sometimes you get into really bad ruts where you don’t want to see people, but sometimes you’re feeling like that because you haven’t seen anyone.Jamie
Do things you love
This could be things you used to enjoy that you’re ready to get back to, or new things you’ve always wanted to try.
I play netball with the nuttiest but most supportive group of girls. An hour on the pitch letting out any anger does me the world of good.Emily
Meet people your age who’ve had cancer
A few charities organise events and activities where young adults who’ve been diagnosed with cancer can meet up.
When I’d been in remission for a year, it was nice to meet someone five years in remission who’s got a life.Emily
Create an uplifting playlist
You might find that music can help you get in the right mood to face the day.
I used to have a wall of my favourite lyrics printed out. It was comforting.Leanne
Binge watch your favourite shows or listen to podcasts
If treatment makes you tired it’s good to have things to do that don’t need much energy but keep your mind occupied.
I’d just listen to podcasts. When I was in hospital, they were a link to the outside world.Jamie
Write it all down
It can help you deal with stuff if you write it all down. If you’re happy for other people to read it, turn it into a blog.
My blog started as just a diary, but I’ve had people message me saying that reading it has helped them get out of bed in the morning.Leanne
This is about the positive effects of paying more attention to the present moment. There are loads of apps you can use if you want to try it – just google mindfulness.
When I’m feeling a bit anxious or overwhelmed, I find a quiet place to do my breathing.Hinna
Join an online forum
Forums make it easy to connect with other people with cancer, whatever stage you’re at with your treatment.
Everyone on the Bloodwise forum is so supportive and people will always respond.Leanne
Schedule “me” time
Having things to look forward to can help you get through the bad days.
It’s important to make new memories that don’t have anything to do with cancer.Emily
Where to get emotional support
In England, IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is part of the NHS’s initiative to make it easier to get treatment if you’re struggling with your mental health. You can refer yourself to services in your area.
Wherever you live, if you’re under 18, your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) may be able to offer you support. Ask your GP or hospital team about being referred to CAMHS.
You can also find trained counsellors and therapists through the Counselling Directory and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. You will need to pay, though some therapists offer free or low-cost counselling. Look at the individual counsellors’ pages.
If you’re working, your employer may have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAPs may offer counselling or psychological therapies as part of a package of services. Ask your employer how to access your EAP.
If you’re at university, you should have access to free counselling services. Go to your university’s website and search ‘student counselling’.
CLIC Sargent provides social and community workers in many specialist TYA (teenagers and young adults) treatment units around the country.
Teenage Cancer Trust provides opportunities for young people aged 13 to 24 with or after cancer to meet others in similar situations.
Young Minds offers information and urgent help for young people with emotional or mental health symptoms and offers a helpline for parents.