The way you experience the impact of cancer is unique to you. I do not believe, there is a ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with it. Wherever you are at on your cancer journey, you know this takes emotional and physical stamina. It is normal to feel overwhelmed, down, angry and have a whole range of changing emotions.
Counselling can help with cancer at various stages of the cancer journey: after diagnosis and before treatment; before telling others; during treatment; after treatment; to prepare for life with cancer or to help deal with a terminal diagnosis.
There are feelings common to those diagnosed with cancer:
- Disbelief – when will I wake up from this nightmare?
- Bereavement and loss – for your life the way you knew it, for your body, your job and financial security, social status, purpose in life, control over your life.
- Anger – why me? You feel isolated and irritated with those around you.
- Finding it difficult to make life-style changes (eg regards diet, smoking or drinking alcohol).
- Uncertainty – over the success of treatment, your future.
- Fear – will I die of cancer, when? Has the cancer come back?
- Blame – was it my life-style, others, work who contributed to it?
- Being passive – I just want it all to go away.
- Feeling depressed.
- Treatment experience – feeling unwell and ‘not yourself’ (eg cognitive and physical impairment).
It is not unusual to feel this way. The risk is to get stuck and to become all-consumed by some of these emotions.
Counselling and therapy can help work through these feelings and accompany you through the various stages of your journey. Over time this can help you feel re-energised and enable you to step back and explore choices you have regards the rest of your life.