Mesothelioma is a dreadful disease, so keeping yourself moderately healthy sometimes feels like an endless effort. This is true for both your physical and mental health. It’s very common to feel afraid, anxious and depressed post-diagnosis — in fact, somewhere between 20 and 60 percent of cancer patients show symptoms of depression and up to a quarter have been diagnosed with clinical depression.
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It’s during these times that your support network will be incredibly important. People think that only means family and close friends but that’s incorrect. While those groups are significant, don’t limit your support network to just them. Online and local support groups will bring different experiences and benefits. Talking to others who have gone through similar situations will remind you you’re not alone and that there are ways to overcome these feelings of hopelessness and isolation.
MORE: How social media is supporting people through cancer.
Maintaining relationships can be difficult because of your symptoms. Try to stay in touch with at least one person outside of the group, even if it’s just through texting. All in all, your friends and family will understand if you really can’t make it to something you had agreed to attend. Just reschedule and let them know it’s most important that you take care of yourself.
Friends and family will also help you spot symptoms of depression. Look for changes in your eating and sleeping habits, excessive fatigue, or lack of interest in work or leisure activities.
There are a few things that can help alleviate these symptoms:
- Keep yourself informed. Go to your doctor and learn as much as you can about your disease. The unknown is always scarier and bleaker than actually knowing your options.
- Keep busy. When you feel up to it, make a list of things you want to do and gradually work through them when you can. Choose a hobby and pursue it. That way, you’ll always have something to look forward to.
At the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone. If you think you need help, find a professional to talk to. Depression is a disease like any other that often needs medical attention.
MORE: How one woman turned her mesothelioma anger into action.
Mesothelioma Research News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.