It is normal for people with cancer and their family members to feel afraid, anxious, nervous, and overwhelmed. Many people with cancer find themselves worrying more than they did before their diagnosis. However, when anxiety gets more intense and is hard to control, it may be time to seek help, especially when it’s getting in the way of every day activities. Anxiety can make coping with cancer much harder than it already is.
Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between anxiety and the normal feelings associated with cancer or symptoms caused by medications and treatment. Therefore it’s important to talk to a professional if you are experiencing any symptoms. Even if you’re not sure whether or not you’re having symptoms of anxiety, it’s OK to talk to a professional…he or she will be able to help you sort out whether or not you are experiencing severe anxiety. Once your doctor or counselor diagnoses anxiety, it can be treated. Counseling can often help you to manage your worries and there are medications that can help as well. There are also alternative methods, such as herbs and homeopathic remedies that can help.
Look at the checklist below and see if you have any of these symptoms. It’s often a good idea to print off the checklist so that you can go over it with your healthcare professional or a counselor. As mentioned, it’s normal to have some of these symptoms for a short time after being diagnosed with cancer. But you shouldn’t have to suffer long term with these symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms for longer than 2 weeks or they are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, talk to a professional. If you have thought about dropping out of treatment or have missed medical appointments because of anxiety or worry, it’s important that you seek help right away.
- Do you feel apprehensive and worried about a number of things in your life?
- Do you find that worry keeps you up at night and gets in the way of your day-to-day activities?
- Do you find you are unable to control how much time you spend worrying?
- Do you find that the muscles in your body are constantly tense?
- Do you often feel keyed up or on edge?
- Are you irritable most of the time?
- Have you noticed that your heart races, you sweat excessively, or you often feel like you are short of breath or choking?
- Do you find yourself trembling or shaking?
- Do you have racing thoughts, feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint?
- Do you spend a lot of time worrying that the worst will happen?
If you are experiencing even a couple of these symptoms, it may be time to get help…you deserve to feel better. Remember, experiencing anxiety does not mean you are “crazy” or that there is something wrong with you. The stress of having cancer can cause serious anxiety for many, and anxiety can be treated successfully.
I can help you with anxiety and collaborate with your physician if you wish. Please contact me for your free 15-minute phone consultation to see how I might be able to help by calling 207-773-1143 or emailing me at dawn[at]awakeningcounseling.com.