Cancer is a complicated disease – according to WebMD, there isn’t a cure, but there are treatments that may be able to cure some people. It doesn’t help that there’s still a stigma surrounding it either with cancer being stereotyped as a life-threatening disease.
When someone we love is diagnosed with breast cancer, we may find ourselves cycling through anticipatory grief – the mourning that occurs when expecting a death. You know you have to be strong for them, but this can be difficult when you feel like you’re falling apart at the seams. We asked The Mind Faculty how to deal with these feelings without making it harder for your loved one:
- Reach out to your support network
Talk to your other family members, friends or even a counsellor. This is a scary, challenging and devastating situation, so you’re not being weak for needing extra help.
- Practice self-care
You can only be there for your loved one as much as you are there for yourself. Make sure you’re eating healthy and moving your body – even if it’s stretching for 5 minutes a day, and allow yourself a break by going out with friends or someone who is removed from the situation.
- Honor your feelings
You may be tempted to think, “I can’t be be sad, I have to be strong for my loved one”, but by minimizing the way you feel – you won’t allow yourself to grieve or process it properly. Try venting to a friend, keeping a journal or even screaming into a pillow. Your pain is valid.
It’s important to be patient with yourself as grief follows its own timeline. When it comes to caring for them while managing you own stress and anxiety, The Mind Faculty suggests:
- Create positive memories with your loved one
If it’s not possible, you can still reminisce about your favorite times together – try making them a scrapbook.
- Hold space for them
Listen without trying to ‘solve’ what they are going through. For example, if they tell you that they are scared – don’t say, “There’s nothing to be afraid about! Modern medicine is amazing”. Instead, try saying, “I can only imagine how scary it must be for you”.
- Educate yourself
Do your research on breast cancer and their treatments, but don’t overwhelm them with information. To avoid this from happening, allow them to ask you first.
- Watch how you speak about cancer
We usually use ‘war metaphors’ when speaking about cancer. For example – “we must fight it”, “she is a cancer survivor”. This suggests that people who have died from cancer didn’t fight hard enough and can make those who suffer from it feel guilty or inadequate if their treatment isn’t working.
While you can prioritize your loved one, please make sure to take care of your mental health as well. Remember – you can’t pour from an empty cup!
Follow The Mind Faculty on Instagram for more professional advice and mental health support.
During a time of social distancing and restricted movement, we find ourselves physically isolated – but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other. It’s actually essential that we do so during times like these because now, more than ever, we need each other the most!
The rise in coronavirus cases has evolved into another national crisis that’s called for us to support our own communities. If you’ve been struggling to deal with problems on your own – self-care isn’t enough to get you through this pandemic. With community care, you’ll be provided the support needed during these hard times, making collective care key to getting through this.
But what exactly is community care? It’s the compassion we show others, whether one or many, and the actions we take to do so – regardless of the size. Here are a few ways you can practice community care during the CMCO:
- Support small businesses
During the first lockdown, small businesses took a big hit – seeing the closure of many stores and restaurants across the nation. The other remaining enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat, which is why it would really help to order from home-based food businesses, buy groceries from local farmers, and shop local products from home-grown brands.
2. Check in on your family, friends and colleagues
The uncertainty has made it a stressful and anxiety-inducing time for us all, so if you have the mental capacity to do so – check in on others and let them know you’re there for them. Even if you’re unable to, show that you still care by sending them an emoji or even a song!
3. Help those in need
You don’t always have to donate money to help, you can also volunteer your time and skills. Start a fundraising campaign, help raise funds by sharing an existing campaign, or go through your belongings to find things you can donate.
4. Check for facts and fake news
This is important for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing as the spread of fake news and rumours have caused many to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Stay informed and double check any news you receive before sharing it – make sure it comes from a reputable source!
5. Be more eco-friendly
For hygiene reasons, the use of disposable plastic products has rapidly grown – causing the pandemic to have a negative effect on the environment as well. Make the effort to minimise your single-use plastic waste by switching to reusable bottles, cutlery and containers. Don’t forget to sanitize!
Community care isn’t here to replace self-care, it’s a necessary addition to it. Take care of yourself and others during this time – the only way we can curb COVID-19 again is by working together!