Ways to Cope With Depression and Anxiety When You’re the Family Of Cancer Patients.

Once cancer explodes into your world… depression and anxiety start to  seep in.  These stressors affect everyone in the family of cancer patients.

Heads up!  If you have no idea how to deal with all this cancer business, we can help you formulate a plan to tackle the immediate issues… finding the best care, talking with your insurance company, finding resources that will actually help, and dealing with the fear, anxiety and overwhelm of this whole situation.

We can’t control the cancer, but we CAN show you how to manage this crisis.   And it’s 100% Free.

You can get the Cancer Combat Plan for FREE here…

I am naturally one of those happy go lucky people who can ALMOST ALWAYS find the silver lining in any situation.  

But, when my dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer I struggled hard, especially at first to find any positives in this situation. (Hint:  there were tons, no joke.)

Cancer is not a typical situation.  And these stressors affect everyone in the family of cancer patients. 

Cancer journeys are full of panic, anxiety, and depression and those feelings dominate everything.  

There were days during our journey that I swear I could barely get out of bed and I cried all day.  

At night I would worry to the point of sleeplessness and then try to make it through the next day on whatever sleep I managed to get.  Depression and anxiety are the hardest stressors to cope with.

Feelings of hopelessness creep in and it feels like it’s never going to get better.  Keeping your head in the game becomes the new battle you have to fight every single day.

You want to sleep all the time and doing anything… getting off the couch, makes you feel like you ran a marathon.  Unfortunately, this is what it feels like to be the family of cancer patients. 

Note:  After about a month or so, you won’t even remember what it feels like to have energy.  You just learn to live in a physically and emotionally exhausted state and you get used to it.  (I know, I know… this was not helpful but it’s SOOOOO true!)

Depression and Anxiety

There are no easy answers for these stressors that greatly affect the family of cancer patients.  

But, here is what helped my family get through this…

1. Embrace the Miserable

Adult Woman Sitting Looking Worried on The Stairway

 This pain is real and it’s raw, and it definitely can’t be ignored.  And most of the time you don’t have time to even deal with it.  You have to make time.

Spend a day or two feeling miserable.  Be sad, feel sorry for yourself, whine, cry, scream, meltdown, be mad at the world…

Some days completely suck, everything is falling apart, and it feels like it will never get better.  Determination isn’t always going to be enough to keep you going.

This does suck, this is unfair, you can be mad at the world, no one should have to deal with this shit…

Those are pretty natural feelings but if you feel unsafe talk to someone immediately…

Sadness and some depression are a part of cancer and trying to pretend that it wasn’t happening didn’t work for me and I doubt it will work for you.

I gave myself a day or two to go through the pain, cry, stress, and be miserable… and then I would get up, brush myself off and get my head back in the game.

My dad used to always say, Things look better in the morning.  And he was right, every single time.

 Be sad, be miserable, be angry… but don’t stay there.

2. Write It Out

Close up of a woman writer hand writing in a notebook at home in the kitchen

 I am convinced that the only way I survived the stress of this journey and the death of my dad, was this blog.  Here, I can unload all of the things I am feeling and hopefully make things a little easier for you in the process.

You have to get some of this stuff off your chest. 

This kind of stress and anxiety is really intense and dangerous to your health.  Writing it all down may help you find some relief, some perspective and the motivation to keep going.

Not sure where to start?

You can get Take Back Your Life From Cancer a FREE journal that was created for my family during our battle when the stress, fear and anxiety were at an all-time high.

We were EXHAUSTED and OVERWHELMED and we desperately needed an outlet…

You can grab Take Back Your Life for free here…

Writing everything out and getting this stuff off your chest makes a HUGE difference.  Huge.  

3. Talk to Someone Who Can Help 

The stress and anxiety will eat you alive if you let it.  It feels like you can’t escape. 

 You have to unload some of this stuff you’re carrying around.  

You won’t believe how much better you feel once you get it off your chest.  

 Talk to a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or text a therapist (which by the way you can do while you are running all over the place.)

4. Get Out and Do Something Fun

 Sometimes taking a break from all this is exactly what you need.  Get out of the house, go for a walk, catch a movie, take a drive, head to the beach, go for a swim, grab lunch, spend some time reading…

Whatever you feel like doing, go do it.  If today is not a possibility, then make it happen tomorrow.  

And doing it together will make your family stronger and give you a fun “break” from this whole situation.

Cancer makes you realize how short life is.  Don’t waste even one more second.

We have a ton of ideas for you to take a break from this situation.  You can find those here…

5. Spend Time With People That Make You Happy

Mother and daughter hanging out and bonding in bed in the morning.

 Family, friends, neighbors, kids, nieces, nephews, GRANDCHILDREN…  They are the key to everything.  

The reason that my dad kept fighting for as long as he did was so he could be here with the people he loved. 

 His grandchildren came first and the rest of us came (a very close) second.  ????

The people that make you happy, have a way of making everything feel better just by being around.  And kids not only make you feel better, but they are also a great distraction.

The people you love, the people who love you are better than any medicine a dr. can give you.

 6. Identify tools that help you stay in a good place

young woman lying on sofa with headphones on and closed eyes, relaxing

Figure out what works for you and make sure you always have it available.  Keeping a “bag of tricks” that you can use when things get intense can be a great way to stay mentally healthy and take a break when you need one!

 And they can be simple things, as long as they make you feel good!

  • Bubble baths
  • Cuddles with your dog
  • Journaling
  • Herbal Tea
  • Prayers
  • Mommy/daughter dates
  • Reading a good book
  • Music
  • Aromatherapy

Figure out what works for you and keep it on hand.  Make sure you use them frequently, even on the good days.

 7. Get Physical

Owner walking with Golden Retriever dog together in park

There are literally hundreds of ways that you can get physical and combat stress, depression and anxiety at the same time. 

 Most importantly, it’s about finding something you love to do, that feels good when you’re doing it.

Find ways to get physical like…

  • Exercise
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Jog 10 blocks
  • Play at the playground with your kids
  • Clean out the garage
  • Do some gardening
  • Participate in a Relay for Life with your friends
  • Go out dancing
  • Take the kids skating or bowling
  • Take a hike

You’ll use your muscles, get some exercise and feel better in the process.

 8. Talk to a doctor about options (including medication)

Sad depressed woman sitting on the pier hiding her face.

This is not a typical situation, but it’s probably going to be a long situation.  The stress and anxiety is the most intense thing I have ever experienced in my life.

And, unfortunately you need to be game on, all the time.

If you are struggling to get yourself back in the game, it may be time to talk to the doctor about something that can help.  

About 8 months into our journey, I felt like if I didn’t talk to the doctor about something to help with the anxiety, the stress alone was going to kill me.

The medicine they gave me helped tremendously with the constant worrying about everything.  Talk honestly with your doctor about what this experience is like for you and what you’re struggling with.

Cancer affects everyone in the family of cancer patients.

There may be something that can make a big difference and help you get through this.

Depression and anxiety seem to come with the cancer territory.  Don’t ignore it.  It will get worse.  You have to work at tackling this everyday (yes, I know.  One more thing to deal with).  

 You have to figure out what works for you and your family and do it as often as possible.  Your health and your sanity depend on it. 

P.S.  If you’re drowning in all this cancer business, and you have no idea where to start…  The Cancer Combat Plan is a step by step guide from someone who has struggled through this and found ways to manage the chaos, the stress and the overwhelm.   

Things feel better, and more in control when you have a plan.  So if you’re looking for action steps, resources, and strategies that will help you manage this crisis, we’ve got you covered. And it’s totally free… 

You can get the Cancer Combat Plan for free here…

This post may contain affiliate links.   In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the above post may be affiliate links.  This means that you can purchase the products we recommend at no extra cost to you.  We only recommend products or services that we use and love and that we believe will add value to our readers.