Managing fear, anxiety and depression
You may feel anxious or stressed from time to time during your treatment. This is completely normal.
Symptoms of anxiety include worrying a lot, struggling to control your emotions and feeling tense for a long time. The physical symptoms of anxiety include tiredness, breathlessness, being unable to sleep and/or dizziness. You can always ask for help from your healthcare team who will be able to find the best way to offer emotional support and a place to talk things through.
Some people with bowel cancer experience low moods and periods of depression. Symptoms of depression include having a low mood most of the time, not getting pleasure from most activities, feeling hopeless, being irritable or lacking energy and motivation. If you are feeling any of these, speak to your healthcare team who will be able to consider your options for emotional support.
Talk about your feelings with someone who can help. You may find that your family and friends can help and support you. Some people speak to trained professionals who can help them manage their emotions, such as a counsellor, psychotherapist or mental health nurse. They may suggest a talking treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Some people may also be prescribed medicines to help them cope.
Tips for managing day to day life
- Talk to people you are close to such as your partner, family, friends, work colleagues or neighbours
- Be kind and caring to yourself
- Try and keep to a healthy diet
- Try to stay as active as possible
- Find ways to help you relax. This might include things like practising mindfulness
- Get plenty of sleep. It might help to get into a routine of regular sleep and wake times, avoid excess eating, smoking or drinking alcohol before you sleep
Where you can get support
Your healthcare team can refer you to lots of places so that you can get the right support for you.
- Ask your healthcare team to be referred for professional emotional support
- Join a support group. This could be online or face to face
- Contact other charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Maggie’s
Some people find it helpful to speak to someone who understands what it is like to live with bowel cancer. Our online community is a welcoming place for everyone affected by bowel cancer to ask questions, read about people’s experiences and support each other.
Join at bowelcanceruk.org.uk/community