Coping in Healthy Ways After Breast Cancer Diagnosis
When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, everyone around her is likely to be affected in some way. There is often stress and anxiety for the patient and those closest to them. Spouses are confronted with feelings they have not had to deal with before, and knowing how to cope in the healthiest way possible is important for their mental, emotional and physical well-being.
The sudden shock of a diagnosis for one’s partner can send anyone spiralling down into fear and uncertainty. One carries the weight of their partner’s suffering and stress along with their own. Bracing for the worst can only take one so far until diagnosis is real. Then what does one do? Run away? Cry or yell? Stop eating?
Know that your partner needs you now more than they likely ever have. Being in a strong, stable mental state is ideal, although not always realistic. We are all human after all and this isn’t the same as being worried about finding a parking spot when you’re already late for a meeting.
So what DO you do? Here are some options:
- Talk to other family members – They can relate to what you are going through and likely share similar concerns and are an incredible resource of support and love.
- Talk to your partner – Be there for each other. Stand together and feel stronger having each other right there.
- Write down your thoughts – Let it all out. This way if you are afraid of emotionally unloading on someone else, you have a place to put everything down. Just be sure to not dwell on what you write. You want to move forward with those worries off of your chest.
- Workout – Be active and take care of yourself. You are going to likely be a very important support for your partner, and you need to be well in order to be there when they need you most.
- Eat well – encourage family to do the same.
- Join a Group for Spouses of those Diagnosed with Cancer – you can look them up online or call a local clinic for information
- Just Sit – meditation and being with yourself for at least a half hour a day promotes a healthy mind and leaves one feeling balanced and thinking at least a little clearer.
Studies show that spouses who coped in a negative way such as drinking or withdrawing from the relationship were over twice as likely to feel stressed and anxious after treatment had ended compared to partners who used positive coping mechanisms.
Taking care of those around you means taking care of yourself.