Emotions and prostate cancer

They're often up and down

Coping with your loved one's prostate cancer is a day-by-day experience. One day you may feel incredible sadness or even despair, but the next day you may feel hopeful and optimistic.

In fact, your feelings may change from hour to hour, or minute to minute, on any given day.  At times you may even feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster. 

Give yourself some time

Take heart in knowing that your feelings are all part of the normal emotional process that occurs after the shock of a prostate cancer diagnosis or recurrence.

You may already know about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her theory about there being five stages of grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

But you may not know that there may be no particular order that you go through the stages.

And you may not even go through all of them.

Feeling foggy

You may also have difficulty concentrating or remembering things. 

This is also a very common reaction to the stress of coping with prostate cancer. 

Keep a notebook handy to write things down, which may help you keep track of what you need to remember. 

Be gentle with yourself

Everyone copes in different ways. There is no "right way" to deal with your loved one’s prostate cancer.

Some days it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other and muddling through. That’s okay.

Try not to beat yourself up for what you do or do not feel. It will only make a hard situation even harder.

Remember that you have to care for yourself to be able to care for your loved one with prostate cancer.  Read:

It's okay to have a good cry

Part of the challenge of coping with prostate cancer is the feeling of helplessness. 

It’s tempting to want to run from difficult feelings, but they have a way of catching up with us.

You may actually feel less out of control if you make time to feel your emotions.  Cry if you need to.  Have a good scream in the car too.  

To learn some simple coping techniques, visit our section about managing stress.

Emotions eventually pass

Remember that feelings are like the weather: they come and they go (unless we hold on to them). There's also an old adage: what we resist often persists.

While it's normal to have feelings of sadness, if these feelings make it difficult for you to function in your daily life, you may be suffering from a more serious form of depression.  Learn the warning symptoms of depression. 

If you are having a tough time coping with your emotions, you may want to speak with a healthcare professional.  Don't be afraid to ask for help.  It's not a sign of weakness. 

Always consult a medical professional.

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