Some are willing to talk about anxiety while others are not, remaining hidden beneath their fears and the torture of it. When my molar pregnancy disease progressed to aggressive malignant cancer choriocarcinoma, my anxiety was at its highest. A molar pregnancy is rare, and threatens the life of a child. In my case, this affected the twins I was expecting and in turn led to me getting cancer.
What is anxiety? Plainly put, it is stress, but it goes much deeper for many people; it can be internal fear, affecting everyday life, minute to minute, hour to hour. Typical signs are irregular heart palpitations,
sweating, tightening chest, adrenaline rush, extreme fear, rapid breathing, lightheadedness, sweaty palms, shortness of breath, and lack of concentration. Some other symptoms can be excessive fear, trouble sleeping or relaxing, and body trembling as if freezing cold, and rapid or pounding heart. Anxiety can rip one apart from everyday life, family, and activities, swirling into a deeper, vicious cycle.
What can be done? Well, everyone has different stress levels and weaknesses, and sometimes treatment will need to reflect those differences. The best advice is to TRY to prevent anxiety BEFORE it comes on too hard. The tricky part about this is it's easier said than done. Here are some tips that I learned first-hand when I had to deal with anxiety in my cancer journey.
When I feel anxiety coming on, I use mental mind-play.
• Stop and tell yourself to relax. Relax.
• Take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything is going to be okay.
• Focus on breathing, slow and steady pace. This lowers your heart rate tremendously. Meditating stimulates your mind, clearing it out, making you focus. This is taught to women in prep for labor of their baby.
• Positive thinking is another great way to twist negative energy. Push negativity away and think of something that makes you smile.
I take action.
• Exercising can release stress, ease the mind, and improve physique.
• Yoga is a great way to meditate while working the body at the same time.
• Get out with friends or family and forget it. Staying busy can distract you, but don't get overwhelmed. Take it one day at a time, step by step.
I seek help.
• Talk to someone, possibly another anxiety sufferer. Exchange symptoms, take notes, and help each other out.
• Seek therapeutic oils for diffusing, roll on, etc and use with care. Lavender oil is one example. Not everyone can use these oils, especially chemo patients, so seek advice prior to use.
• Visit a doctor or psychiatrist. If talking it out isn't helping, there may be other underlying issues such as a chemical off-balance or PTSD. Consider all options before agreeing to begin medications to avoid possible side effects.
• Take time to heal. Life after a traumatic event can actually be harder than the event itself. It may be years before recovery.
It is okay to ask for help!