Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
APRIL 10, 2017
Anxiety, sometimes more intense than others, is a part of having cancer. We know that we are greatly anxious at the time of diagnosis, when awaiting test results, whenever there is unsettling or bad news. We may be anxious when we hear of other's cancer problems. And, of course, there is the garden variety anxiety that accompanies life in general.
There are a number of techniques to manage stress and anxiety. If the feelings are taking over your days and making it impossible to function normally, it is likely time to talk with a therapist or your doctor and consider medication. Short of that, this article from Harvard Women's Health Watch is a good summary:
Staying calm in turbulent times
There are several ways to manage anxiety on your own, but it's important to recognize when to get professional help.
Nowadays, simply tuning in to the daily news is likely to be stressful. Add on the stresses of daily life — such as handling work demands or adjusting to retirement, dealing with family issues, coping with illness, or caregiving — and you may begin to greet each day with apprehension and worry. In other words, you can become anxious.
"Some degree of anxiety is normal and even necessary," says Dr. Ann Epstein, a psychiatrist at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance and medical editor of the Harvard Special Health Report Coping with Anxiety and Stress. "Anxiety signals us that something is awry or might need our attention. However, you don't want the response to become exaggerated or to dominate your life," she says. Good coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety can help you stay healthy during turbulent times.