Mental and Emotional Wellness
A prostate cancer diagnosis can change your life. You may be in shock and you will most certainly go through a range of different emotions, most of which are related to anxiety and depression. You may feel sad, numb, angry, indifferent, anxious and many other emotions. These feelings may change frequently and with different levels of intensity. If you are single, you may find yourself feeling very isolated and having to reach out more to friends and professionals for comfort and support. If you are in a relationship, you may find yourself feeling guilty for thinking you are being a burden to your partner and worrying about the impact on them emotionally and financially.
Grieving is a complex process and doesn’t follow logic or specific timeframes. Being diagnosed with prostate cancer may make you feel as though you have lost control of your body – and your life. You may be grieving unfinished business and unfulfilled expectations. As difficult as it can be, try to think about what positive actions you can take now to make you feel more at peace with your situation. Be patient and gentle with yourself and don’t be afraid to reach out to others who might want to support you, but don’t know how. Tell them how they can help, even if it just means spending quiet time with you. Sometimes a respectful silence can be healing and “enough” for some people.
Keep in mind that your support network can include friends, support groups
, church and spiritual groups and your healthcare team (e.g., family doctor, oncologist, social worker, psychologist, sex therapist).
Tips to Help
Here are a few ways to maintain mental and emotional wellness during your cancer journey:
- Be honest and clear with the people who you identify as wanting support from
- Share only the information you’re comfortable sharing. If you’re not comfortable sharing something about your diagnosis or treatment then don’t
- Make a list of how each person can help you during this time (for example, drive you to appointments, help with chores, listening when you need someone to talk to)
- Ask your support network for the assistance you need, remembering that your needs may change as you move through your cancer experience
- Use relaxation techniques frequently such as deep breathing and meditation
- Take a break from everyday routine and make time for things you enjoy
- Get physical activity regularly. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression
- Join a support group. It sometimes helps talking to others who have gone through or are currently dealing with a similar experience
- Reach out to your healthcare team if you are finding it hard to cope with how you are feeling.
For more information and support: