Cancer has a nasty habit of bringing uninvited guests along for the ride. Pain, fatigue, and anxiety are just a few.
But among the most insidious of these interlopers is loneliness.
The type of loneliness that slinks into the room when everyone else leaves, that sits beside you when you’re scrolling through social media and seeing friends live seemingly perfect lives.
Here’s the good news: While cancer may be a part of your story, loneliness doesn’t have to be.
Let’s dig into why cancer and loneliness often go hand in hand and, more importantly, what you can do about it.
1. The Lonely Reality of a Diagnosis
Cancer can be isolating.
Medical appointments flood your calendar, and your social life can suddenly dry up like a lake in a drought.
Friends may not know what to say or how to act, and sometimes they disappear because they can’t handle it (which sucks, we know).
2. Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword
Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, you might think you’re the only one dealing with something so heavy.
Social media can either help you feel connected or make you feel even more alone. Use it wisely.
Follow accounts that uplift you, and consider joining online communities where you can share, vent, and connect with people who truly get it – find yourself genuine cancer support.
3. Fostering Connections, Despite Cancer
One of the best ways to combat loneliness is to connect with others, whether it’s family, old friends, or new pals you meet in online cancer survivor communities.
Simple gestures like texting or making a short call can make a difference.
It takes a village to handle cancer, and you can build your village, even if it’s online.
4. Don’t Overlook Professional Help
There’s no shame in seeking professional support.
Therapists and counselors can offer coping mechanisms tailored to you.
They can help manage the emotional weight of cancer and the loneliness that often accompanies it.
5. Rediscovering Yourself
Sometimes, the best company you can keep is yourself.
Take this time to rediscover your likes and dislikes, forgotten hobbies, and even simple joys like reading a great book or watching a sunset.
6. Real-Life Stories: Connection Is Possible
Numerous individuals have successfully battled both cancer and loneliness.
You can find numorous real-life stories, from people who battling or battled cancer.
Some have even formed lifelong friendships with people they met during treatment.
The point is that a connection is possible, even when navigating something as challenging as cancer.
7. Get Active, Even a Little Bit
Physical activity has been shown to improve your health and elevate your mood (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Being active can be a game-changer, whether it’s a short walk, yoga, or any other form of exercise that you enjoy and your health permits.
You’re Stronger Than You Know
Cancer is tough.
Loneliness can make it even more challenging.
But you’re stronger than both.
You can turn the tables by acknowledging the issue, seeking support, and taking steps to reconnect with others and yourself. Loneliness might be an uninvited guest, but you don’t have to offer it a seat at your table.
If loneliness is weighing heavy on you, remember you can find kindred spirits in our online community. Connect, share, and find the comfort of shared experiences. It’s just a click away.