Anxiety and stress are very common for wives and partners of men with prostate cancer. We may be thinking:
- What happens if the treatment isn’t a success?
- What if the cancer has already spread?
- What if his cancer returns?
Some of us may have suffered from stress and anxiety prior to a diagnosis of prostate cancer. So we’re probably already quite familiar with the constant chatter of inner voices that berate us.
For others, this anxious talk can become so ingrained that we aren’t even aware of it.
First we need to hear it
The best time to listen to your anxious talk is when you are feeling anxious or agitated!
Simply sit or lie down in a quiet room and just listen to your thoughts.
You’ll know you’re hearing your anxious talk when your thoughts are littered with words like:
After persistent practice you’ll be absolutely astounded by what you hear.
It’s also very helpful to write down the messages your anxious talk gives you. This will help you later on when you are ready to dispel the lies and start “talking back.”
Turn down the volume
It’s nearly impossible to completely stop our anxious talk from happening. But we can learn to turn down the volume.
Once you have mastered the art of listening to your anxious talk, you can practice this very easily.
When you feel anxious or agitated, close your eyes and imagine that you are turning the volume of the voices down, just as if you are turning down the volume on a radio.
When your anxious talk gets louder again, as it invariably will, you can simply turn the volume down again.
Change your feelings
By regularly practicing this simple imagery exercise, you can change the way you feel, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. Keep practicing to get better at it.
It also helps to remind yourself that you can turn down the volume on your anxious talk whenever you choose to.
When we lower the volume on our anxious talk, we’re better able to “hear” the positive thoughts we can tell ourselves to help us feel better.
Anxiety be gone
Another helpful strategy is to “talk back” to your inner thoughts. Here are some examples to refute the earlier statements in this article:
- What evidence do I have that treatment won’t be a success?
- I can try to stay positive and not worry that my loved one’s prostate cancer has spread or will come back
- There are always other treatments that we can try
- Many men continue to live long lives with prostate cancer
- No matter what happens, we’ll get through it