Understanding your psychological needs

Some people report feeling surprised, unprepared and confused when psychological difficulties emerge following their cancer treatment. Having an awareness that this is a particularly vulnerable time for people to develop these difficulties can be a first step to managing your wellbeing. It is very common and it’s okay to not be okay given what you have been through with you cancer.

It is really important to take your time to recover psychologically from cancer, and there is no formula or time-scale as to how to do this. Cancer does not develop overnight and the treatment is not done overnight; similarly, psychological recovery won’t happen overnight just because you are no longer having treatment.

Everyone experiences difficult days, especially following on from cancer treatment. If this is occasional and you feel able to manage on your own, or with the help or family and friends, then that’s fine. If you notice that you have been struggling with your wellbeing for a while, however, then you might want to seek help from healthcare staff.

Wellbeing is very personal to each individual. It can be very helpful to know what is normal for yourself when it comes to you wellbeing.

Some questions that might help you to gain a sense of whether or not you are struggling can include the following:

• Have you been feeling good about yourself and your achievements?
• Have you been feeling optimistic about the future?
• Have you been able to get most of the things you needed to do done?
• Have you been thinking clearly?
• Have you felt warmth for your loved ones?
• Have you felt warmth from other people?
• Have you felt able to manage problems that have come up for you in your life?
• Have you been able to make decisions and plan for the future?
• Have you been interested in doing the things that you normally enjoy doing?
• Have you been able to relax and switch off?

If you have identified some difficulties after answering these questions, and these difficulties have been persistent over some time, then it might be that you need some additional support at the moment.

Further support and help:

The advice on these pages is designed to help you prepare for the treatment ahead and support you through to recovery.

If you need further advice and support please discuss this with your key worker or healthcare professional.

  • Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Cancer support line:
    02920 745655  (9:00am to 12:30pm and 1:30pm to 4:00pm)
  • Macmillan Cancer Support:
    0808 808 00 00
  • Maggie’s Cardiff:
    029 2240 8024
  • Tenovus Cancer Care:
    0808 808 1010
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