How Can I Cope with this Fear?

roller_coaster 3In the previous article, we saw how fear is normal and inevitable. However it can also paralyze the person and prevent him or her from moving forward. How can we help someone when they are gripped with fear on the emotional roller coaster of cancer? Here are some ideas:

  • Encourage them to talk, but don’t force them to share more than they are ready to share.
  • Help them share their feelings and fears with people they can trust.
  • Listen to them but don’t disagree. If they’re feeling fear, they’re feeling fear.
  • Don’t judge them. This is not about you.Many of the Bible greats felt extreme fear.
  • Offer support and try to be positive, but don’t belittle them for their negative emotions.
  • Help them to understand it is normal to feel afraid of an uncertain future.
  • Find out where there’s a good support group they can link with
  • If necessary help them find a good counselor.
  • Pray with them, and for them when they’re not around.
  • Offer them all the spiritual support you can, and if necessary call in someone else to help.
  • Try to protect them from people who try to tell them their cancer is their own fault
  • Don’t pressure them to try some magic cure guaranteed to cure.
  • Help them practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises. Do them with them. They’re good for you too.
  • Talk to them about visualization exercises, picturing themselves in a pleasant place.
  • Remind them that this is normal, and it will pass–for a period. If it doesn’t, get them to talk to their doctor.
  • Encourage them not to bottle up their feelings or pretend they are not there.
  • Please don’t tell them to cheer up or snap out of it!
  • And don’t tell them you know just how they feel. You don’t!
  • Discourage them from blaming themselves or another person for their negative feelings. They are normal!
  • Don’t try to reason with a person whose fears are controlling them. If necessary, talk with the doctor.

A rollercoaster goes up, then it plunges down again. If your friends manage the fear, they will soon find themselves moving back up once more. Unfortunately, it will come again in waves. But each time they deal with it realistically, they will come through victorious. It’s all part of the cancer rollercoaster.  

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