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Friend with anxiety

[Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
edited May 4 in Carers Corner
Hi all,

I have a friend who is struggling with anxiety issues as part of their treatment. Does anyone have any tips or guides to help them directly. Also tips on how I can best approach them would also be greatly appreciated.



  • puppy3puppy3 Posts: 20 ✭✭
    I would try breathing exercises. Just posted it somewhere else but try breathing in for 6 seconds and out for 6 seconds and repeat 6 times
  • puppy3puppy3 Posts: 20 ✭✭
    Also I heard yoga can help but I've never tried it
  • CarolCarol Posts: 5
    One of the support options that should be available to a patient is psychological support and personally I find it hugely useful in helping deal with anxiety issues. There are lots of cancer support centres around the country if the treating hospital doesn’t have facility. Also she can ask her doctor to refer her to the local hospice. Their services are available to anyone undergoing treatment for a wide range of illnesses- not just for the journeys end
    One mantra that I use when anxiety starts creeping is - ‘focus on what is not what if’ - it’s often the things that we think might/could happen that bother us the most 
    hope that’s useful:-) 
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,196 mod
    edited December 2018
    The wonderful MacMillans provided me with a counsellor free of charge when I found myself struggling with anxiety and depression. 
    @emilyrose mentioned hospice who are a great source of info/help here in Jersey. Our local hospice has regular seminars/get togethers for people with life limiting illnesses and are so so supportive. You will probably find that to be the case in your location too. 

    When I was really struggling, I found that going out for a long walk, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the countryside helped me to stay calm and put the world aside for a while.  I did not really want much advice or proactive help as such. Just knowing my friends and family were there for me without being judgemental was reassuring and appreciated. 

    Sorry to to be so late posting. I hope that your friend is finding things a bit easier now. 

    Rob x 
  • drdspgdrdspg Posts: 6
    Sadly, psychological and psychiatric support is very hard to access. Many of these services are geared to patients with terminal illness. I also feel that there is a lack of real understanding of the particular issues that cancer raises. I’m not slating psychologists and psychiatrists at all, it just that there are a very limited number with specific training. I have found the app Headspace very valuable; it’s worth persevering with. Bizarrely, some of the best help that I have had, has come from An Occupational health psychologist. Please don’t write of antidepressants if they are recommended (most antidepressants can be used for anxiety too). 
    CBT is also very valuable ( have a look for books and self help sites) and particularly “Compassion focused CBT”.
    I didn’t find that any of the cancer charities were able to offer any real support for severe anxiety and depression. This is purely my experience. 
    Feeling supported and understood can have a major impact as can being kind to yourself; don’t expect too much too soon. It can be a very rocky ride and we can have the capacity to be pretty hard on ourselves..”I should”, “I must”, “I ought to”..
    and...watch “Kung Fu Panda”!!
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,196 mod
    Thank you for posting and for your advice and thoughts. I couldn't agree more, Cancer is different to any other illness. It is almost certainly the disease which people fear more than any other and once you have had it, you will always wonder if it will come back again. It is life changing and I suspect that only people who have been there really understand the emotional upheaval it causes. 

    It sounds as if I have been lucky with the support I have received. Apart from the counselling, I am also taking sertraline as prescribed by my doctor. It is not a 'happy pill' or quick fix - it's purpose is to replace a lack of seratonin in the brain and it was three or four weeks before I started to feel any benefit.  I have been on it for several months now and last week told my doctor I did not think I needed it any more. 'How do you know?' he said. 'If you come off it now, you may slide back.'  He often says 'How do you know?' We have a laugh then and I get the gentle reminder that he is the expert, not me. 

    You will find this community friendly and caring. I hope that you will keep in touch and let us know how you are getting on.


  • drdspgdrdspg Posts: 6
    Hi, Rob,I’m glad sertraline is helping you. Guidelines are to give it at least 6 months after the last symptom has gone and then taper it down. As you say, follow your GPs advice and don’t stop it on your own. As your GP said, sometimes it is too soon to stop the medication. Are you doing any psychological work? 
    All the best
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,196 mod

    Happy New Year to you. Sorry to be so late responding. 
    My therapist is also very keen on CBT and it has proved very helpful to me.
    Unfortunately, friends and family had unwittingly said all the wrong things. IE People are worse off in Syria, Snap out of it, People who suffer from depression are weak etc.  
    In my depressed state, I had already decided that I was a loser and these comments seemed to confirm that. To her great credit, my wife realised that there was much more to it. We sought help together and MacMillans provided it. 
    I have tried mindfulness and meditation, but I found that long country walks and playing my keyboards were more helpful, but that is just me. 

    I Had always believed that people with depression were a bit wimpish - boy has that changed and I am delighted that LiveBetterWith has given us a platform to discuss the issue so openly. 

  • gloden02gloden02 Posts: 51 ✭✭
    Hi Rob. Since my final chemo last August I can’t seem to feel cheerful or positive in any way. I worry every day it’s coming back. My daughters are lovely and support me and say to me , You’ve got to live your life now and stop worrying but it’s not easy. Not got me back yet. Hope 2019 will be a kind healthy year for us all. Think only we know just how frightening this cancer diagnosis. They say they know how you feel but they don’t. Your wise helped me tonite . Glo x
  • gloden02gloden02 Posts: 51 ✭✭
    wise words x
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 1,196 mod

    Thanks for you kind words Glo
    I am interested in what you say about how you have felt since your treatment finished. I had five weeks of radiotherapy during which I was looked after and fussed over. I coped pretty well with that and it was not until it was over that I started to get anxious and unsettled. I felt abandoned and alone, and from chatting with others I don't think that is particularly unusual. It is somehow comforting to know that others feel the same. It does get better and it is great that your daughters are so supportive even though they can't really step into your shoes and 'get' how you really feel. 
    Rob x 
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