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If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer or is currently receiving treatment for cancer, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Stress, fear, sadness, and other strong emotions are normal during difficult experiences. Learning to manage these feelings through emotional outlets and healthy coping mechanisms is an important part of managing your overall health.

While there are many supportive resources available to you and your family, many people find comfort in writing down their experiences as they process what they’re feeling. This can mean keeping a journal or sharing updates with loved ones through communication platforms like CaringBridge.

“Cancer treatment can be challenging emotionally as well as physically, and writing down your experience can help you navigate it,” said Stephanie Andrews, social worker at Southern Cancer Center. “Journaling can help you identify your needs and communicate them to your support system.”

Create an Outlet for Self-Expression by Journaling

Emotions can be complicated. A journal can be a space to explore your feelings and thoughts by getting them out of your mind and onto the page. By physically writing down what you experience during your cancer journey, you are able to observe those moments and explore those emotions with hindsight. Taking time to jot down your thoughts and reflections can help you address your feelings, identify healthy coping mechanisms, and take steps to manage your mental health.

To get started, try:

  • Journaling after a doctor’s appointment or treatment session. This can help you process any important conversations or complicated emotions as you think through the experience.
  • Writing down three things you’re feeling. Identifying your emotions can help you begin to work through them in a healthy, productive way.
  • Making a note of things that made you feel calmer and things that made you feel distressed. This can help you discover coping mechanisms and when you need to use them.

Improve Your Memory During Cancer Treatment By Writing

Sometimes cancer, cancer treatment or its side effects can cause problems with short-term memory or impact your ability to concentrate and process information. Keeping a written record can help you keep track of important information you may have trouble remembering on your own. Try to keep a record of appointments or important conversations with your providers or caregivers.

Lean on Your Support System by Communicating Your Experiences

While keeping a personal journal can be a helpful way to process your emotions, some people may find comfort in using social media or a blogging platform to connect with their loved ones during a difficult time. Sharing updates on your health or communicating your physical or emotional needs can be a way to reach out for the support you need.

Both cancer patients and caregivers can reach out to their community by:

  • Posting photos and updates from treatment. Sharing on a blogging platform or social media is an easy way to update everyone at the same time.
  • Asking for help. Coordinate meal trains, childcare or help with household tasks by communicating your needs.
  • Rallying support from your community. Having family friends cheer you on and support you through hard moments can remind you that you are not alone.

Build a Community

If you choose to share your story on a communication platform, you may reach others experiencing a similar cancer journey. Patients often find comfort in the reminder that they are not alone and can create a network of support. Trading stories and experiences can be a great way to share advice and provide and receive additional emotional support. Sharing the experience of living with cancer and receiving treatment can help make the experience less daunting while encouraging compassion and empathy.

Learn More About Sharing Your Experiences with CaringBridge

Southern Cancer Center has partnered with CaringBridge, a nonprofit, no-cost health communication platform for family, caregivers, and the loved ones they support on a health journey. CaringBridge provides a secure space to create personalized pages specifically designed for sharing health journeys. Users can post updates and coordinate support to foster connection and activate their community.

“As cancer care providers, we believe it’s important to prioritize the well-being of our patients and their loved ones as they navigate this difficult time,” said Andrews. “Platforms like CaringBridge make it easy to ask for help when it’s needed most.”

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