- you didn’t notice your symptoms sooner
- you were a burden on your family or friends
- your illness or treatment may have been a significant financial burden
- your treatment may not have worked as you thought it would
- you have survived while other people may have not survived
Guilt should be addressed because not dealing with it can lead to depression and is not very healthy.
You can address and overcome guilt by accepting that these feelings may come and go, seeking solace, or discovering tools in which to address these feelings such as a support group or a counselor. Being thankful and focusing on the positive elements in your new life may also help reduce or counteract feelings of guilt.
A new identity
Experiencing and surviving cancer can change you in many ways. Living as a survivor gives you a new identity. You may have different emotions, look at relationships in a new light, or you may take a serious look at your life in general. Maybe you’d like a more meaningful career, or maybe you’d like to work a less stressful job that would give you more time at home with your family. Cancer may cause you to look at your life through a new lens and may encourage you to live your life differently as a survivor.
Dating can always be challenging, but dating after cancer can be a different experience. Cancer survivors may have body image challenges, but once you feel confident, you should start dating. You should think of what you’d like as qualities in a partner and start from there.
Consider when you’d like to tell a date or potential partner about your experience with cancer. This is a very personal decision. Would you rather tell someone upfront or wait and see if there is a relationship developing?
Once you’re in a situation where you would like to be honest with the other person, practice how you’d like to tell the person. Being honest will prevent any future issues or possible resentment in your partner.
Successfully navigating a “new normal” that works for you may take some trial and error, but we hope these tips help.
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For tips on navigating mental health and wellness during stressful times, download Tigerlily Foundation’s Navigating Mental Health and Wellness During Times of Stress toolkit.