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Mental Distress and Mesothelioma: How to Cope

Legally Reviewed by Joseph P. Williams on July 10, 2021

Receiving any type of cancer diagnosis can be mentally and emotionally devastating. Although many people think about the physical side of a terminal diagnosis, they do not always recognize the mental side. Feelings of anger, hopelessness and depression can sometimes be harder to cope with than the physical side of a debilitating disease. Acknowledging and addressing the psychological aspect of a mesothelioma diagnosis can help you improve your quality of life. 

Don’t Suffer in Silence

Keeping your thoughts and feelings a secret can make you feel isolated and alone. It is important to talk about what you’re going through with trusted friends and family members, as well as your health care provider. During an appointment regarding your mesothelioma, tell your doctor how you’re feeling, including any mental distress, anxiety or depression. There is no right or wrong way to feel after receiving a terminal mesothelioma diagnosis. Talking through your emotions can lead to solutions, such as medications or therapy. 

Get Professional Help 

Do not be afraid to seek professional help for the mental distress you are feeling after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Visiting a psychotherapist can help you talk through your fears and emotions, as well as give you healthy coping mechanisms when you are feeling particularly depressed or anxious. You can explore topics such as family, relationships and the impermanence of life with your therapist to help you improve your quality of life and mental wellbeing.

Know That it Won’t Last Forever

Your emotions will be the most tumultuous in the first few months after your diagnosis. Many patients experience the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You may also feel shock, fear, resentment, helplessness, sadness and frustration. Know, however, that these feelings will not last and that you will start to feel greater amounts of relief and acceptance after the first few months.

Empower Yourself With Knowledge 

If you are feeling scared about your future, research mesothelioma to feel more at peace with your situation. Fear often comes from the unknown. Learning as much as you can about your diagnosis and what to expect can help you feel calmer and more in control. This can help reduce anxiety or fear related to your diagnosis. Work with your doctor to learn as much as you can about your particular diagnosis.

Ask About Palliative Care

Mental distress may also stem from physical pain and suffering related to the disease. You do not have to be uncomfortable or in pain for the remaining time that you have, however. Discuss palliative care with your doctor to find out if there are treatments that could make you more comfortable and improve your quality of life.

Join a Support Group

You are not alone as someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. In fact, over 3,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. You have medical doctors for your physical support, but you also need emotional support. Join a mesothelioma or terminal illness support group to find and talk to people who are in a similar situation as you. Sharing your experience with people who empathize can help you feel less alone during this difficult time.

Plan for the Future

Many people who are diagnosed with mesothelioma experience mental distress related to concern about the future. What will happen to your family after you pass on? If this is a question that plagues you, take actionable steps toward planning for the future. Work with an estate planning lawyer, for example, to create a last will and testament and plan out your estate. You can also preplan your funeral and memorial services to make things easier for your loved ones. Doing what you can to plan for the future can improve your peace of mind.

You can enjoy your life in the time that you still have after a mesothelioma diagnosis. For more information about the legal side of a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact a New York mesothelioma attorney to request a free consultation.

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