Protect Your Mental Health After Mesothelioma Diagnosis
Mesothelioma is cancer that affects the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It can be caused by exposure to asbestos. This dangerous mineral was used to insulate homes and buildings from the 1940s through the 1970s. Many workers were exposed to asbestos during this period, putting them at risk for developing mesothelioma later in life.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be wondering what steps you can take to protect your mental health. Here are 15 strategies that can help you cope with mesothelioma:
1. Seek Support from Family and Friends
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed by your diagnosis. But it can be helpful to talk about your feelings with loved ones. If you’d rather not speak about your diagnosis publicly, consider confiding in close family members or friends. By sharing your fears and concerns, you can receive encouragement from those who care about you, helping you stay in treatment.
2. Learn About Your Condition
Being informed about your condition can be an essential step toward managing it. Understanding how mesothelioma progresses and the available treatment options can help you prepare for future treatments. Learning more about your condition can also help alleviate some of the stress and fear surrounding your diagnosis. Websites like mesotheliomaveterans.org offer free information about mesothelioma, including details about symptoms and its progression.
3. Make a Plan for the Future
Your prognosis, or the likelihood of surviving your disease, depends on the cancer stage. As a result, it’s important to understand the possible consequences of your condition. Knowing what lies ahead can help you prepare mentally for the challenges. Moreover, planning for your future can make you feel less helpless in the face of such uncertainty.
4. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal can be therapeutic. Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help relieve stress and anxiety. It can also help you organize your thoughts and identify patterns in your behavior. In addition, keeping a journal can help you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. It’s normal to experience negative feelings after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. It can be helpful to reflect on your past experiences and appreciate what you have learned.
5. Stay Active
Physical activity helps keep your body fit and strong. Exercise can help release tension and stress and boost your mood. Start small if you’ve had difficulty staying active due to pain or fatigue. Even taking a short walk around your neighborhood can be beneficial. Mental health experts recommend exercising for at least 30 minutes each day.
6. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a form of relaxation that involves focusing your attention on your breathing and inner self. Studies suggest that meditation can help lower blood pressure and relieve stress. Try practicing for 10 to 20 minutes per day. You can learn different techniques online or attend classes at your local yoga studio. If you’re struggling with depression, try meditating once or twice weekly.
7. Be Mindful Of Your Diet
The food you eat can have a profound effect on your mood. Many people feel better after eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed and other junk foods that may negatively affect your mental state. Also, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep every night. You should aim to get between seven and nine hours of rest each night.
Helping others can be rewarding. Volunteering allows you to connect with others while giving back to your community. You can do anything from helping out at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen to teaching young children a skill you may have. Contributing positively to society and making a difference is important for your mental well-being.
9. Take Time to Relax
When you’re faced with a stressful situation, it can be tempting to stay busy to avoid thinking about your diagnosis. However, it’s important to take time to relax and unwind. Spending time with loved ones and relaxing can help you to feel more grounded. Taking time to do things you enjoy can also help you focus on the positive aspects of your life.
10. Become Involved With Mesothelioma Research
Making a gift to honor your diagnosis can support the fight against mesothelioma. Consider donating money to a nonprofit organization or joining an advocacy group. Donating your time can also be valuable, especially if you’ve received treatment from a specific hospital or research facility. Not only will you be helping others, but you can also meet new people and make lasting connections.
11. Join a Support Group
Joining a support group can be helpful for those coping with a serious illness. You can meet others who share similar experiences and gain insights into the disease from people who have lived through it firsthand. Sharing your feelings and getting advice can be comforting, especially when experiencing a difficult time. Talking about your story may even inspire someone else to seek treatment.
12. Connect With Others on Social Media
Social media websites can be helpful tools for connecting with others coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis. In particular, Facebook groups have become popular online communities where you can ask questions, discuss symptoms, and offer advice to other patients. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to face this challenge.
13. Learn More about Your Condition
Read up on your disease as much as possible. This will give you a greater understanding of available treatments and how your prognosis may change over time. Knowledge is power, and knowing more about your condition can help you to cope with your diagnosis. If your diagnosis is taking a toll on your mental health, consider finding a counselor or therapist specializing in mesothelioma.
14. Seek Professional Help If Necessary
Mesothelioma is rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. As such, most people don’t understand the disease. Seeking professional counseling can help you cope with the challenges of this type of cancer. A counselor will work with you to develop coping skills, improve your self-esteem, and provide you with the support you need during this difficult period.
15. Ask For Help
It’s important to reach out to family and friends when struggling to cope with your diagnosis. Letting them know that you could use their help can help to alleviate some of your stress. Having someone to talk to can also be beneficial, especially when feeling overwhelmed or depressed.
Cancer is a disease that requires long-term treatment. Coping with the symptoms of your condition can be challenging, especially when they begin to interfere with your daily life. By following these tips, you can learn to live with mesothelioma and continue to enjoy your life.