If you have been recently diagnosed with mesothelioma and are experiencing feelings of panic or anxiousness, you are not alone. Take a deep breath and sit back. In this post, we will touch on many different things you can do to take control of your situation and manage these uncomfortable feelings.

A Mesothelioma Diagnosis Can Bring Intense Emotions

Learning that you have cancer, like mesothelioma, can be an intense experience. As a cancer diagnosis has the potential to significantly impact your life and those around you. It’s perfectly normal that the news will be accompanied by feelings of fear and anxiety.

No matter the stage, location or cell type, receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can be very difficult. You may feel overwhelmed by the news and anxious or scared for what the future holds for both you and your family.

These feelings are expected and you are not alone.

5 Tips and Tools for Coping With Fear and Anxiety

Just because you are experiencing a typical emotional response to a stressful situation doesn’t make these feelings any more comfortable. Below we have outlined tips and tools that may be useful in managing and coping with the feelings that are typically associated with the news of a new mesothelioma diagnosis.

1. Don’t Judge Yourself

Make no mistake, a cancer diagnosis is serious news and should be treated as such. At the beginning try not to judge yourself or your feelings.

If you are able, let yourself ride this wave of emotions without attaching a negative connotation to your feelings, such as “I am scared so I am weak.”

The future will become clearer as details develop, which will also help reduce any fear or anxiety you may be feeling.

2. You Won’t Always Feel This Way

Some cancer patients described feeling shocked and numb upon learning their diagnosis. If this is something you are currently experiencing, it’s perfectly normal. It may be reassuring to know that these initial feelings won’t last forever.

3. Try to Better Understand Your Diagnosis

By better understanding your diagnosis, you can help reduce feelings of anxiety by removing the fear of the unknown. Be sure to ask your doctor lots of questions to ensure you understand all of the elements of your case.

Asking questions about survival rates, life expectancy and side effects can be very difficult, but understanding these details can better prepare you for the future.

Once you have a clearer idea of what the future holds, feelings of fear can be managed.

4. Express Your Feelings

Though a natural response, bottling up your feelings during this difficult time can make things much harder. Try talking through your fears and anxieties with friends, family members or a therapist.

If you prefer not to talk to anyone, writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal can also be a therapeutic coping technique.

Whatever your method, try to get all of the negative thoughts and emotions out of your head and into the open. It will be easier to analyze your emotions this way and pick up on any harmful thought processes, such as black and white thinking or jumping to conclusions.

5. Try to Reduce Your Stress

Managing your stress levels will help reduce your feelings of anxiety. Try engaging in activities that you enjoyed before your diagnosis or lose yourself in a funny book or movie. Exercise is also a great way to release positive hormones and reducing stress levels.

These tips and tools are only suggestions and they will not work for everyone. Telling someone that they need to “express their feelings” may be a helpful suggestion, but it is much harder for that person to internalize and follow through with this coping mechanism.

Seeking Mesothelioma Support

The less pressure you or your family members put on yourself to be “okay” throughout the early stages of your cancer journey, the quicker you will be able to come to terms with your diagnosis. Some days you may be in a negative headspace and that is okay. You don’t have to pretend to be happy or positive each day, but do remember that things can get better and you deserve to enjoy your life

Have patience with yourself and those around you during this stressful time and remember you are not alone in this fight.

Visit our Mesothelioma Support resources to discover other emotional support services available to manage fear and anxiety for you and your family throughout your cancer journey.

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Sources
  1. National Cancer Institute, “Feelings and Cancer.” Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings. Accessed on April 30, 2018
  2. Mayo Clinic, “Cancer Diagnosis - 11 Tips for Coping.” Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-diagnosis/art-20044544. Accessed on April 30, 2018

Last modified: September 1, 2018