World Mental Health Day 2018

Today's World Mental Health Day (10/10/2018), so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share with the Online Community some tips on dealing with difficult emotions, and generally improving your mental wellbeing.

Whether you have cancer, care for someone with cancer or someone close to you has cancer, a diagnosis can bring with it a myriad of emotions:

  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Anxiety
  • Guilt and blame
  • Sadness
  • Fear and uncertainty
  • Loss of control, independence and confidence

… and many more. There’s no right or wrong way to feel; everyone’s different and may feel differently at different stages of a diagnosis. You might often feel confused about what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling this way - you might have frequent mood swings too. Many people go through varying emotions when dealing with their illness, or when someone close to them is ill.

To recognise today, I’ve gone ahead and asked our Macmillan Support Line teams up in Shipley for their tips on staying positive – here they are:

“1 – Do something that distracts you from the issue (I go for a run or go to the gym). 2 – Try not to think too far in advance about what may or may not happen. 3 – Write down your thoughts and feelings when you get overwhelmed.”

“… it’s wholeheartedly ok to feel however you feel. Nobody should feel bad about how they’re feeling … Writing and talking about what’s going on can be a really good way of making sense of this and often can help, in-turn, lessen the intensity of painful or uncomfortable feelings too.”

“… either think of a few positive things that will happen during the day or look back at things that happened. It doesn’t have to be massive things just small stuff like ‘It’s a nice sunny day’ or ‘I’m seeing a friend later’ or ‘I went to the park at lunch time for a walk.”

“Take time out for yourself. Do something you love. If you’re exhausted, you’ll have nothing to give so it’s actually not selfish to recharge.”

"It may not feel like it, but getting out of bed, having a wash and making a brew is a step in the right direction."

“Singing with a choir – this is the best possible way to lift my spirits, divert and challenge my brain. It’s also great for making new friends.”

“Socialising – getting out of the house and active, not being stuck in my own thoughts.”

“I usually try to get outside and spend some time in the fresh air, listen to music very loud, go for a drive or spend time with friends and family.”

“Going to the gym."

“I spend time with my great niece and nephew – they’re 2 ½ years old. That always helps my mental health, or I sit in my car and go for a long drive with Bon Jovi blasting out.”

“Getting outside, even if it’s for the briefest time; listening to music. Loudly; going for a drive.”

“Healthy eating, so you feel like you’re making a positive change in your life.”

“Volunteering’s a really positive way to boost your wellbeing and do something useful at the same time.”

I’d also like to refer to the mental health charity Mind, you might find it useful to have a look at their tips on improving your mental wellbeing. 

If you’re affected by cancer and feel like you might benefit from some emotional support, or just a listening ear, our Support Line advisors are here for you. That number’s 0808 808 0000 and our teams are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm. Our Online Community offers lots of emotional support too, but if you’re new to the site perhaps try taking a look at the emotional issues, new to the site, family and friends and bereaved family and friends groups.

If you have any positive steps you take to deal with difficult emotions, stress and generally your wellbeing, we’d love you to hear from you - you can leave your comments below.

Anonymous