Leukaemia Foundation

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Depression and Anxiety

As well as coping with treatments and their side effects, living with a blood cancer can be very stressful and some people become anxious and/or depressed.

If you are feeling anxious, down or sad most of the time, it is important that you speak with someone like your doctor and the other health professionals caring for you. These people are concerned about your physical and mental health and will be able to suggest ways that help you and your family. Counselling and andti-depressant drugs can be very useful for some people.

It is worth remembering that most people feel very tired during and after their treatment. Feelings of fatigue can contribute to feeling anxious or depressed.

Treatments that include the use of steriods may also make your feelings of anxiety or depression feel worse. If you know you have experienced anxiety or depression previously, ensure you tell your doctor this before commencing your steroid therapy. This way your medical team can closely monitor the effects of the steriods on your wellbeing.

Helpful Tips

  • Try to maintain a manageable daily routine - getting out of bed at a set time, having a shower, getting dressed etc.
  • Set yourself some realistic goals for each day and for the future.
  • If possible, get out into the fresh air and do some light exercise every day.
  • Try to stay positive about your situation.
  • Take an active part in decision making about your wellbeing.
  • Plan enjoyable activities for the days you feel well (a walk on the beach, a visit from a special friend) - you can look forward to these good times on the days you are feeling not so well.
  • Learn to relax. This is very important as it can help to take the strain off you and those around you. Relaxation is a skill that can be learned and practiced.
  • If you feel you are simply not coping despite your best efforts, ask for professional help sooner rather than later.