Mental health - HOW DO YOU COPE

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How do cope?  I personally like to play dungeons and dragons. It helps me to escape my illness and what awaits me at the end. But lately I’ve been a bit agitated and irritable. I also have a journal which helps me write my feelings and thoughts down at the time. I’ve seen the counsellors and stuff but I need advice from people who know what’s it like and can relate. 

so how do YOU cope?

  • Hi Gray, I often become agitated and irritable first then try and work out what the trigger was, often it's cancerversaries, of a target date coming up. After the first year I learnt to anticipate when the hard patches might come and plan in some distraction. For me the distractions are usually a scenic walk, or a walk playing Pokemon go. During shielding that became no walk, bought an exercise bike to use at home and a game of animal crossing for the less active times. My 33 yr old daughter incidentally plays D&D, she got me into animal crossing so we could virtually meet on our islands for a cup of tea, and swop items to make our islands more lovely. She could then still have her D&D escapism. 

    I did the counselling thing to 6 years ago, a HOPE course 18 months ago to give me some moral support and to refresh what coping strategies I might have when blips happen and walking isn’t an option. I did a bit of mindfulness, which has been helpful at times. I am not yet out of options, I am actually better health wise than when I was first diagnosed as incurable, so I still have things to be grateful and positive about. You may have seen the post 3 good things, I have used this technique to when things get tough I dig deeper to find my 3 good things and remind myself that what ever is coming is not here yet for me, and try and find some joy in the day. 

    Take care KT

  • Hi Gray, 

    I have studied and practised stoicism for years and it has always been a great help to me mentally. Other than that, I try to enjoy the time I have left. Gardening, walking the dogs, spending time with my family, working on our boat, going on a few nice holidays. I'm just having a mini retirement.

    I've been thinking about getting a motorbike again, but it feels completely selfish, so we'll see about that.

    Stuart x 

  • i went through a dark period of blame and finding reasons for very late diagnosis which is the reason I'm terminal now.  I have somehow found ACCEPTANCE. Its hard though and dealing with bowel cancer pain is difficult. You are looking at the future about endings which none of us really know until it ends. We all end in sickness or in health, but for us we have been served a kind of  notice. Many healthy people will die today unexpectedly . I try not to visit the future i just try and live for the day where possible. I talk through my feelings with partner too. Take care, Tony

  • My wife helps a lot, always checking I'm ok and always available to talk if I want to. She even understands that I get snappy at times like now when I'm waiting for scan results. I have retired early which is something I always wanted to do but would rather have done it because I was rich than because I was incurable at 54. I try to stay occupied either binge watching TV programs or building stuff for the house or garden. I found that the act of accepting that the only difference between me and others is I am lucky enough to know I'm dying so I get to set my priorities accordingly. Its been 2 yrs since I was declared incurable and a lot of people have died unexpectedly in that time. They never got to get their affairs in order or tell loved ones how they feel or do anything just because time was short.

    In many ways we are the lucky ones as we get to do the stuff just because we want to rather than put it off il a later date that we never make it too.


    be safe, be nice, be you 

  • Hi ,

    Good to have a distracting hobby which you can focus on. I am also a stoic in outlook ( like ) Focusing on each day and not looking too far ahead works for me. On the other hand, having everything in order like wills and Power of attorney etc gives peace of mind and frees you to concentrate on the now. In a similar vein, i found reading about the process of dying helped me by allaying fears and took away too much rumination. You are human and being irritable and agitated is perfectly acceptable, and moods come and go. Hope you have a supportive family who can understand why you might feel grumpy, and allow for it. They may not be able to understand, as they are not in the same position, but no doubt they too have their own fears, and being able to talk openly and honestly is crucial for all of you.

    keep on keeping on.


  • I try to focus on the present, as that's all that's guaranteed for any of us. I've kept working as I enjoy it and feel like I make a difference. I just want to make sure my children are secure and have positive memories when I go. If I'm feeling low, I like escaping into a book or I go for a walk. Work also helps as I can focus on something else and push the worry/fear/sadness to the back of my mind. It's also important to recognise that it's ok not to feel ok about this sometimes. It's a lot to get our heads round! 

  • Dear Gray,

    Like many people on here I love my garden, though I can no longer do many of the jobs in it that I used to. I have help with those otherwise I'd have a forest on my hands! A journal is good if you can get your thoughts down there. I find that, as somebody with an arts background, if I immerse myself in that and working with the calming colours of the ocean and of nature, then I can absorb myself in the creative process. Having worked with colour therapy/ Arts in Health I'm happy to share anything that may make people here cope better. It's no magic wand or cure for any of us, but it does help the spirit. Rainie x

  • My main escape is walking the dogs, it does me so much good to get out. Sometimes I take my camera and my husband bought me some binoculars for my birthday and I am trying to learn to identify birds.

    I used to cycle a lot, but don't really have the stamina these days, my ebike means i can still get into town without the car or bus.

    I play lots of scrabble and words with friends online, and do the crossword.

    I used to read a lot, but don't always have the concentration for this, I really immerse myself in books when I can.

    I am back at work since I finished my chemotherapy. Work is a great distraction, and I do enjoy my job.

    I found the Macmillan SafeFit trial really helpful for keeping active, and I recieved quite a lot of emotional support through that too. I have finished it now. I really need to find something to replace it. 


  • Hi, Gray0156 and all

    Thanks for sharing on this tricky question. I have the blues at the moment, I don't know why specifically. Things are "good" on the face of things but I feel that it sometimes catches up with you when you let your guard down. Well, also I was supposed to see my sister this weekend for the first time since November, when things were really sticky for me... COVID has stopped us. Fingers crossed I will be able to see her soon.

    To cope, I go for a walk in the park or hack back the jungle that is the garden. I ask for a hug. I listen to Radiohead or Bach. I video WhatsApp a loved one. I visit Maggie's. I paint colour blobs or write letters or cards to friends and family. I also have a little notebook of things I "discovered" on this "journey" to remind me of what helps. One of them was a thought that occurred to me one day out of the blue "My cancer(s) may still be here, but so am I". I've put that in my profile in the hope it is of use to someone else. Sometimes silly TV is what's needed to numb things a little, but mainly, facing it and having a cry or a gloomy day allows the joy to be alive to return faster than if I fight it too hard, which I find exhausting.

    With best wishes to everyone