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How To Cope With Grief And Anxiety

Find Your Way Of Taking Climate Action

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Once youve felt through your grief, Bryant says that taking action can be a meaningful and positive way forward. Its about looking within and asking yourself what strengths, capacities, and resources you can bring to the climate activism table.

For Bryant, his calling was in climate-related mental health. For Nivi Achanta, a 25-year-old from Seattle, hers was launching the Soapbox Project.

Achanta was at first unsure where she fit in as a climate activist. I felt so helpless, she explains, because I recognized that I was part of the problem, but I didnt know how to be part of the solution.

So, she started a climate newsletter. It includes weekly action plans to help fight climate change. These bite-sized emails, she says, allow busy young people like herself to take meaningful action on what matters to them, even if they only have a few minutes each week.

Achanta explains how working on Soapbox helps her channel her anger and grief about climate disruption into action. Im no longer a bystander watching the world burnIm an active participant taking steps in my own life and motivating others to do the same, in a way that brings us joy and closeness.

If you feel called to take action, search for an activist group in your area. Individual actions might feel small, but theyre crucial for spreading hope, incentivizing governments to take action, and setting global change in motion.

Managing Emotional Distress: Caregivers And Co

One of the most important but often overlooked tasks for caregivers is caring for themselves. A caregivers physical, emotional, and mental health is vital to the wellbeing of the person who has chordoma.

As a caregiver, you may experience periods of stress, anxiety, grief, depression, frustration, and more. These are all common emotions for caregivers to have, and you dont have to deal with them alone. Talking with other people who are caring for a family member or friend with chordoma can help you cope. So can talking with a licensed counselor individually or as part of a support group. Oncology social workers, cancer resource centers, and your own general practitioner can help you find local support networks and resources in your area.

Some strategies for coping include:

If you or someone you love has questions about coping with distress, anxiety, depression, and grief, our Patient Navigators are here to help you get the best care possible. Our Patient Navigators are available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time.

Coping During Stress Uncertainty And Grief

During times of stress, uncertainty, and grief, it can seem impossible to stop and consider your health and wellbeing. Good mental health and wellbeing give you the tools to cope during these times. Some signs of good mental health include:

  • Ability to cope with normal life stresses
  • Confidence in new situations
  • Optimism in the face of adversity
  • Positive self-image
  • Ability to set and achieve goals
  • Active engagement with others around you

If you feel like you are struggling, dont forget to take a moment to employ strategies to manage your mental health. There are many evidence-based strategies to help you strengthen your resilience. A few ways to help you be mindful of your mental health include:

1. Stay Active

Self-care through exercise helps keep your focus on what is important you. If intense exercise isnt for you, try waking your dog, yoga, or swimming to help keep you active and mindful of your body through stressful experiences.

2. Eat and sleep well

Two important aspects of our daily lives eating and sleeping can affect our health and wellbeing. Eating a nutritious diet and having enough rest are foundations to protect your mental health.

3. Maintain a routine

Keeping to a routine will allow you to meet small daily goals. These activities and events help you focus to help you stay connected with friends and family.

4. Be kind to yourself

5. Ask for help

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Emotional Symptoms Of Grief

Shock and disbelief. Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If a pet or someone you love has died, for example, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know theyre gone.

Sadness. Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.

Guilt. You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didnt say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings . You may even feel guilty for not doing more to prevent your loss, even if it was completely out of your hands.

Fear. A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. If youve lost your partner, your job, or your home, for example, you may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure about the future. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.

Anger. Even if the loss was nobodys fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry with yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.

In The First Few Years After Losing My Dad Some Part Of My Brain Was Convinced That Crisis Was Hiding Around Every Corner

How to Deal with Loss and Grief

My anxiety spread to all areas of my life, but it was the worst when it came to worrying about my loved ones. Because my dads passing was very sudden, some part of me assumed Id lose other people in a similarly shocking way if I ever let down my guard.

Each time the phone rang, I assumed it was a family member calling with terrible news. Id panic whenever a loved one went more than an hour without responding to my messages. My arms would tingle, and my heart would race, and it was like I was back in that initial moment of loss all over again. Id be unable to think about anything else until I had proof that everyone was OK.

Meanwhile, as this trainwreck was unfolding, Id be sitting at my desk with a smile plastered on my face, staring straight through my computer screen while my brain exploded, pretending I was totally fine.

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When To Seek Help

If feelings of distress, anxiety, depression, or fear consistently last for more than a few weeks or begin to affect most aspects of life, making it hard to function or cope, it is important to seek help.

The emotional, social, spiritual, and physical impacts of chordoma affect each individual differently, which is why it is important to take the time to ask yourself questions such as:

  • What feelings am I aware of having?
  • Which of these feelings is the strongest?
  • When did I start feeling this way?
  • How are these feelings impacting my thoughts and actions?

Most of us rarely stop to take our emotional temperature in this way. We tend to think of things more generally: Im in a good/bad mood today, or Ive got so much to do and dont feel like being social right now. But we dont recognize the emotions behind these thoughts.

If you are suffering in silence or perhaps lack the tools to manage stress and uncertainty, please reach out and get support.

Acceptance is not agreement. Cancer is not okay. But finding a path to acceptance can be a game-changer.

As soon as you notice your emotions beginning to interfere with your ability to function, even if you think your feelings or thoughts are minor, talk to your care team about what youre experiencing.

Moving Forward And Overcoming Trauma

Trauma is defined as a “distressing or disturbing experience.” Those who struggle with PTSD know that a simple definition barely scratches the surface of the pain and loss such an experience elicits. However, it’s also true that we don’t have to live in pain forever. While we can’t go back to who we used to be and we can’t reclaim the losses we go through, we can move forward towards becoming stronger, more creative, more resilient, and even more successful people who lead a purpose-filled life after trauma.

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Factors Increasing Risk After Bereavement

Traumatic circumstances Death of a spouse or child Death of a parent

Sudden, unexpected, and untimely deaths

Multiple deaths

  • Delayed or inhibited grief

  • Chronic grief

A variety of psychiatric disorders can also be caused by bereavement, the commonest being clinical depression, anxiety states, panic syndromes, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These often coexist and overlap with each other, as they do with the more specific morbid grief reactions. These last disorders are of special interest for the light that they shed on why some people come through bereavement unscathed or strengthened by the experience while others break down.

It is a paradox that people who cope with bereavement by repressing the expression of grief are more likely to break down later than are people who burst into tears and get on with the work of grieving. The former are more liable to sleep disorders, depression, and hypochondriacal symptoms resembling the symptoms of the illness that caused the bereavement . Not all psychogenic symptoms, however, are a consequence of repressed or avoided grief. Some reflect the loss of security which often follows a major loss and causes people to misinterpret as sinister the normal symptoms of anxiety and tension.

These two patterns of grieving often seem to occur in avoiders and sensitisers , respectively.

Write A Letter To Your Loved One

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Sometimes the feelings we have about our loved ones are not straightforward while they were alive either of you may have said or done things that were hurtful, or which you regret. Writing to your loved one can be a helpful way of working through your feelings. Try to express how you feel, and say all the things you wish you had said. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Firstly, there is nothing you cannot say: this is a personal letter and no-one else needs to see it. Let yourself write freely from your heart.
  • You can tell your loved one the things you didnt get a chance to say to them.
  • You might tell them how you are getting on since they died you can include the good and the bad.
  • You can tell them how you remember and honor their memory.
  • You can share the memories you cherish the most.
  • You can share your regrets, or your feelings about any issues that were left unresolved.
  • You can tell them about how you feel, you might want to include the different parts of yourself.

Once youre done, think about what you want to do with your letter. You could keep it somewhere safe, or get rid of it if you prefer. There is no right or wrong answer, just be kind to yourself and do whatever feels right for you.

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What Is Anticipatory Grief

Anticipatory grief is defined as grief that occurs before death in contrast to grief after death . Rather than death alone, this type of grief includes many losses, such as the loss of a companion, changing roles in the family, fear of financial changes, and the loss of dreams of what could be.

Grief doesnt occur in isolation. Often the experience of grief can bring to light memories of other episodes of grief in the past.

When To Seek Professional Help

If you feel youre having a particularly difficult time grieving, know that this is natural and common. If its getting in the way of you completing important tasks or taking care of yourself and others, you may want to consider reaching out for help.

On some occasions, unresolved grief may lead to complicated grief or depression. Discussing how you feel with a trained professional could help you begin your path to healing.

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Taking Care Of Yourself As You Grieve

When youre grieving, its more important than ever to take care of yourself. The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.

Face your feelings. You can try to suppress your grief, but you cant avoid it forever. In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.

Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way. Even if youre not able to talk about your loss with others, it can help to write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, for example. Or you could release your emotions by making a scrapbook or volunteering for a cause related to your loss.

Try to maintain your hobbies and interests. Theres comfort in routine and getting back to the activities that bring you joy and connect you closer to others can help you come to terms with your loss and aid the grieving process.

Look after your physical health. The mind and body are connected. When you feel healthy physically, youll be better able to cope emotionally. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Dont use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief or lift your mood artificially.

UK: Cruse Bereavement Care at 0808 808 1677

Other support:

What Stress Does To Us

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Not only does stress weaken the immune system, it affects critical behaviors we dont sleep as well, we make poor eating choices, we dont hydrate as we should, and/or we turn to alcohol or drugs as coping tools. Stress also releases neurohormones that impact our brains performance. Stress causes dis-ease in the body.

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Usually The Real Anxiety Comes Later

One potential reason that these anxious feelings dont usually surface until a bit later is that the immediate aftermath of a loss can be surprisingly busy. Youre distracted by making funeral arrangements, filling out paperwork, and managing other loose ends, which makes it easier to put off the brunt of your grief until a few weeks later when all those tasks are finished.

Around that time, you may start to experience symptoms like tightness in your chest, irregular sleeping patterns, trouble focusing, sudden crying spells, and changes in your appetite. You may also feel a general sense of helplessness or bleakness about the future.

Occasionally, people develop post-traumatic stress disorder after this type of loss. If a person learns that a loved one died as the result of an accident or traumatic event, there is the potential for that to develop into PTSD, says Gerard Lawson, Ph.D., president of the American Counseling Association. PTSD is likely to surface a bit further down the line, as opposed to in the immediate aftermath of a loved ones passing. While theres no specific timeline for recovering from such a loss, Lawson suggests talking to a professional if the symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day functioning, even a few weeks later.

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