At Be Uplifted Inc we are always reminding breast cancer patients of the importance of looking after themselves during treatment.
In our article, Looking After Yourself During Chemo, Be Uplifted Inc Co-Founder and President Wendy Paterson talked about being kind to yourself when you are low.
Wendy mentioned how it is important to remember to take some “Me Time”, and gave suggestions of how to take some time out and pamper yourself:
- getting your nails done
- having a shoulder massage
- reading your favourite magazine with a coffee
Life Changing Treatment
These little breaks are so important at a time like chemotherapy when your body is going through so many changes.
It has been found that up to 50% of women with early breast cancer may experience anxiety and/or depression in the year after diagnosis, and 15% of women may still experience symptoms of depression and anxiety in the fifth year after diagnosis.
Why? Researchers have concluded that the very nature of breast cancer treatment, and subsequent physical changes increase the risk of depression for many reasons:
- they have received treatment for a life-threatening and dreaded illness
- treatment can leave patients debilitated, immunosuppressed, underweight and in pain
- after treatment, most patients must adjust to changes in body function, persistent pain, alterations in role and sense of self
- patients live with the possibility of cancer recurrence.
The Symptoms To Look For
Cancer Australia confirms that anxiety and depression are common feelings after diagnosis and treatment for cancer.
If you are feeling low for more than two weeks, and your sadness is causing you to withdraw or is interfering with your daily life, you may be suffering from depression.
Signs of depression include:
- always feeling low or flat
- losing interest in things that used to be enjoyable
- having difficulty sleeping
- poor appetite (although this may also be a side effect of treatment).
Likewise, being overly worried, or having constant repetitive thoughts and feelings take over that cause you to feel overwhelmed or sleep, feel or avoid social situations may indicate you anxious.
Signs of anxiety include:
- constantly feeling agitated or angry
- sleeping difficulties
- having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- avoiding distressing issues and situations
- feeling a constant need for reassurance.
Breast cancer is a trying time, emotionally and physically.
If you are concerned that you are depressed or anxious, talk to a counsellor or a GP about how to deal with your thoughts and feelings.
Want to Know More?
Karen Gray from Northwest Counselling will be a guest speaker at Be Uplifted Inc’s 2018 Information Symposium on 20 August 2018.
Be Uplifted Inc Breast Cancer Charity’s 2018 symposium is a unique opportunity for breast cancer patients, survivors, family & friends to gain valuable information from medical & health experts
Karen has completed a Masters of Counselling through QUT in 2012, and has post-graduate nursing qualifications in Oncology and Palliative Care.
Karen believes individualised counselling is vital when providing psychological support for women during a breast cancer journey to ensure they have the appropriate skills to navigate the challenges of their breast cancer diagnosis brings.
Her qualifications, plus her experience as Oncology Nurse mean that when she is offering her counselling services Karen is able to offer an empathic understanding of her patients circumstances, having first-hand knowledge of how a breast cancer diagnosis impacts not only on the physical welfare for an individual but creates challenges that may impact on the psychosocial and emotional aspects of a person’s life.
If you are feeling suicidal or in danger, talk to someone you trust immediately.
Lifeline Counselling (24 /7) 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
This website is a wealth of information, particularly for those seeking support for anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide:
- There are many online resources available, including forums
- Downloadable information and online video
- Email and online chat with quick response
- Beyond Blue has a 24/7 number: 1300 22 4636
Black Dog Institute
This website has wonderful information on mental wellbeing, including:
- A self-test you can take to see if you are depressed
- Fact sheets about depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions
- Factsheets and guides to view and download
- Information videos to watch
- An online chat facility
- A helpline – 1800 187 263