How To Manage Your Anxiety When A Second Family Member Is Diagnosed With Cancer

We have a hard time imagining that a family member will have to face the detrimental affects that Cancer presents; however, how do we face the challenges that come when a second family member is diagnosed with the same exact type of Cancer?

The overall experience that I faced with my grandfather did change my life like I never expected. A new appreciation on what life has to offer and forming a closer bond with my mom, I still deal with challenges to this day. Nevertheless, I never expected my grandmother to receive a call that she had the same exact type of cancer and at the same stage that my grandfather received three years ago.

Trying to process all of this information calmly, I prayed that I would not have to face the same experience again. Nevertheless, I asked myself what this situation what be like during a pandemic? No visitation and trusting others to care for my grandmother in the same manner as my grandfather, I knew this was not going to be a pleasant request. Visiting my grandmother through a window and making sure that she is safe, I never thought this would be the way I would have to see her suffer.

Not having the best relationship with my grandmother, I do believe in Karma. My grandmother was not very nice to my grandfather and she consistently would make things harder for him, which is not fair to someone who is trying to find peace. One of their fights that they got into, I remember my grandfather turning to her and stating how ‘he hopes she receives what he has, but ten times worse’. I believe wholeheartedly, that his wish came true.

In the end, how does one manage a situation like this where times are frustrating and scary and that family member is someone you were never close with. You have to just do the right thing, is my overall advice. I have learned that by being there and offering as much as you can during a situation like this, it will be appreciated. As I continue on with this process, I will make sure to practice all of the techniques that I have been sharing throughout my blog and continue to update as well. This blog has helped me grieve properly and I do believe it will allow me to stay calm during these unprecedented times.

Begin A Gratitude Journal

Hello to all who have been following my blog and perusing through my posts. I appreciate it wholeheartedly and I hope my posts have been helpful for you.

Today, I would like to introduce a new form of journaling that I have found to be extremely helpful, in terms of easing my anxiety. I have recently started a ‘Gratitude Journal’, where every night I jot down three to five things that I am grateful for. The reason I find this technique to be beneficial is because it allows me to appreciate the many aspects of life that we all may take for granted. It allows me to not feel like I am selfish and contribute my time to being thankful. In our society currently, there are times when we think that life is not always what we have wanted or predicted it would be; however, there are little things that bring joy and happiness into your life that you may overlook.

If you find that you are struggling to jot down specific things that you are grateful for, here are a few suggestions.

Family: We all are struggling with the fact that we cannot see our family at this time. Certain members of our family, we are not eligible to provide a hug or who have passed away from illness during this time. However, every day be thankful and grateful for the time you have currently with your family. Even when times become tricky or boring and often you would like to escape, know that your family is there to love and protect you during these times.

Home: A place where you feel safe and protected, your home is special and offers comfort. By being thankful for having a roof over our heads during storms and pandemics, we can appreciate the fact that there are many activities to do while at home. Cooking/Baking, Constructing a Puzzle, Coloring or Painting a Picture, Playing with your Furry Friend, and Engrossing yourself in that Novel you have been dying to Read. These are all things that can take your mind off of the difficulties surrounding us, even watching a humorous movie or television show.

You: This seems to be such a tricky thing to discuss in a manner; however, you should ultimately be thankful for you. The type of person you are and what you contribute to society. As well as, what the human body overall consists of. Skin, Organs, Eyes, Nose, Ears, Fingers, Hands, and many other vital parts that play a significant role in making you feel and act like you.

One last thing that you can either add to your gratitude journal or enact during your day to day activities. ‘Random Acts of Kindness.’ These are very important and that often take away anxiety instantly. The reason is because you are fulfilling an activity that helps someone else. Here are a few examples of what you can do or plan to do for the next day.

Write a Letter: Taking the time to write a letter to a family member, friend, or someone you admire allows you to open up to how much you appreciate them as a person. This in a sense, you are grateful for them.

Bringing in their Garbage: You may be puzzled as to what I mean. In normal times, we may offer to help put away groceries or assist in any other household necessities; however, with many of us being uncomfortable at this time, if you see someone’s garbage at the end of the street that has not been brought in yet, carry it to the front of their garage. This may not seem to make a huge difference, but in reality it does.

Be Nice and Complimentary: Providing a smile or asking how someone is doing today can make a big difference. We do not know how many people may be struggling at this time; nevertheless, offering a kind gesture or compliment can make someone’s day. This also makes you feel better and happier because you allowed a person during these times to either smile or feel happiness.

I look forward to discussing more in my next post! As always, continue to Conquer Your Anxiety.

Brand New Year To Conquer Anxiety

This New Year, we want to feel change, a sense of belonging, and less anxiousness. However, many of us still have difficulties overcoming this fear and this worry that continually builds up inside of us. I have decided to commit this year, in gradual steps, to the overall termination of my anxiety. I have placed all of my stress, panic, and agitation from this previous year into the garbage. I want to start a brand New Year with positive thoughts, feeling gratitude, and enjoying what nature has to offer. I have also decided to dedicate more of my time to my own blog, in hopes of helping others this year end their anxiety as well. I will be writing a blog post every month with new tips, new feedback, and an overall progression as to how our mental health can change and become stronger.

One thing that I have been practicing and devoting more of my time towards is meditation. Waking up an hour earlier and allowing myself one hour before bed has truly helped me feel stronger, both physically and mentally. As well as devoting more time to work on my sleep schedule. Obtaining 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night has relieved so much of my tension and worry. I have been eligible to concentrate more and absorb the feeling of not having to accomplish everything all at once. Decreasing my time allocated on technology and allowing myself more time for other activities, even during the school year, has made an enormous impact on my mental health. Although, all of these wonderful changes and impacts have helped me immensely, I still worry about others. I try to figure out ways to devote my time into allowing others to feel this way.

The pandemic has not concluded and we know that there is still more that needs to be done about this situation. The amount of deaths, the feeling of loss, and loneliness still travels with us. One day, I hope we can all go back to a time when we did not have to feel this way on a continuous basis. I wish however, that you will take this journey with me in resolving our tensions, our trepidation, and overall our anxiety. I look forward to offering new strategies, new tips, and some life experience that will help make a difference in this gradual progression.

How To Manage Anxiety During Unprecedented Times?

Hopelessness, Fear, Uncertainty, Anxiousness, and Loneliness are some of the common feelings that individuals internationally are undergoing currently. The constant feedback from a variety of outlets regarding the increase spike in cases of COVID-19, the hardships of deciphering what politics has become, and wondering every minute whether the world will ever be the same? Honestly, the one thing the globe needs right now is some peace and I am here to share a few specific ways to obtain this necessity. 

I have become constantly engrossed in apprehending the vast number of stories, either written or televised, that are published daily about the many topics occurring in our society. It has become such an obsession, that I am noticing my overall well-being diminish significantly. This is not a way to live, I believe. The round-the-clock worry of there ever being an announcement that things have subsided completely, and that normality will outweigh the chaos. Especially, when having to balance all these hardships while secretly feeling all alone can be challenging and nerve-wracking. However, over the duration of my journey finding some peace during these arduous times, I have started to realize that there may be a little bit of hope left. 

I used to enjoy tremendously venturing off to the gym for an hour and relieving my stress on the assortment of equipment offered to me. Nevertheless, I have become extremely terrified to enter a gym and my days of happiness exercising in an environment I enjoyed have now become memories. I decided to take the time and find something I could do that did not require me to become saddened by this loss in my life. It turns out, I found biking.  The ability to quickly hop on my bike and ride to any destination I wanted was extremely calming. Plugging in my headphones, listening to a bit of jazz, and allowing the wind to brush across my face is truly the most relaxing feeling I have had in a while. Or the ability to sit under a tree in my backyard and have the time to read a good book is also something that puts my mind at ease too. 

Little findings come about when you begin to realize, you have too much time on your hands. I find that being proactive is the only way to keep my mind off the persistent fret of our nation. Although, in my search, I have been able to find a list of things that keep me happy, I question whether others have this same advantage too. Nevertheless, I want to help you find your passions that make you happy too. 

The uncertainty of whether to venture off to a restaurant can get overwhelming and the population more than ever is connecting through cooking in their own kitchens. Why not take on this new activity with either yourself or your family members/friends and begin creating a new recipe that you can enjoy. It can be very calming to either bake a batch of chocolate chips cookies from scratch or a warm, creamy soup to really tell the difference in seasons. This is a new passion that I have truly enjoyed, and I believe you will too! 

Trying to figure out how to create my own blog came with some challenges; however, now that I have gotten familiar with the steps, it is quite intriguing. Becoming exposed with other bloggers and reading their stories is what makes the process truly enjoyable too. Not only is writing a relaxing journey, but it allows you to observe that you are not alone. Go ahead and create your own blog with things that you are passionate about that can be expressed in your writing. 

The “Calm” App is a platform I recommend you immediately download on any device. It does not only contain a variety of meditations, but it also contains sleep stories too. These sleep stories allow you to rest your mind and obtain the sleep you need to begin the next day. These sleep stories are customized for both adults and children. As well as, if you want to listen to some  relaxing music, the calm app features soundscapes and nature categories for you to choose from. You can even customize your schedule to include “calm masterclasses”, “calm body”, “breathing exercises”, and even “check-ins” that offer different interactive videos and activities. This app will allow you to find numerous ways to become calm and continue to live a healthy lifestyle. 

Explore opportunities remotely, get out into nature, and truly become involved with who you want to be once things become stable again. Life comes with interruptions that are not always avoidable, this is a time to make change for not only the world, but for yourself. 

Conquering the Anxiety Within Me:

“Long Drives, Kenny Rogers and Hot Cups of Coffee” were the special times I remember sharing with my grandfather. “Insightful Wisdom, Charismatic Smile and a Hearty Laugh” are what I miss the most each day.

I can remember as if it were just yesterday, sitting in the hospital room listening to the doctor tell my grandfather that he has “Stage 4 Lung Cancer”. Not only did my mom and I begin to cry but, the doctor became teary-eyed as well. This was six-months after a previous doctor told my grandfather that his nodule in his lung was benign. All I can remember thinking as I stood witnessing this event occur right in front of me was “is this really happening?”

I was your typical junior in high school who had my head buried in books and my mind consumed with what Institution I wanted to attend. Knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in Corporate Law fighting the big deals, it never crossed my mind that I would change avenues completely with a goal of becoming a Neuroscientist/Neurobiologist.

Nothing will ever prepare you for seeing someone you love so deeply go from dancing in the kitchen while making a sandwich for lunch, displaying goofy faces while working out on the elliptical and running up and down the sidewalk, cheering you on at swim meets to drastically losing weight from the initial 210 to 120 pounds, being completely pessimistic and not wanting his granddaughter to visit him. As a girl who idolized my grandfather as not only a role model but a father figure, it broke my heart witnessing him try to beat this deadly disease that had consumed him

Each day, I prayed for some sort of miracle to occur in hopes that my papa would not have to suffer and that the Chemotherapy could assist in creating positive outcomes. However, my prayers were not enough because not only did the Chemotherapy not work but, there were no alternative treatments that could fight this cancer off. The cancer had spread rapidly throughout his body.

The date was May 29, 2018, this was the last day I would see my grandfather. Visiting with him in the afternoon, I was able to tell him I loved him and gave him a kiss; however, this would be harder for my mom than I had imagined. My mom was his primary caregiver while trying to balance being a single mother and her job. No support whatsoever came from my grandmother who was verbally abusive to him and believed that he was “selfish” by putting on this act of thinking he was dying. My mom went to every doctor’s appointment, every chemo-treatment, came every night when it was time for his medication and was there that night to see her father actively pass away right in her arms. After hearing stories from my mom, it is not as peaceful as the movies portray.

Never experiencing a person pass away right in front of you, my mom began suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with the belief that she was dying of cancer, a stroke or a heart attack. These were all the things my grandfather had suffered from. I immediately stepped into the position that was once my mom’s primary role by driving her to daily night visits to the Emergency Room, skipping school to stay home because of the fear that had overcome her, researching different ways to cope with anxiety and convincing doctors that medication was not the answer. I became extremely familiar with what Psychology entails and soon saw in myself that I started developing panic attacks. I feared that I was dying or that something was wrong with me. The heaviness in the chest, the spinning of the room, and the crying that comes about uncontrollably. I truly believed, as well as my mom, that I was crazy. I believed no one could possibly understand what I was going through. This made me want to become passionate in helping others conquer the anxiety that is within them.

My name is Jessica. I am 19 years old. I suffer from anxiety. I want individuals out there to know that you are not crazy, you are not weak and you are definitely not alone! The purpose of my writing was at first to be cathartic in helping navigate my anxiety; however, it changed after realizing the amount of individuals who are suffering now from anxiety due to these unprecedented times with this pandemic. I want anyone who is suffering from anxiety to know I am here as a friend to be supportive, share my story, listen to your story and help with being able to conquer the anxiety that is within all of us.