Mental health

The toll on the caregiver’s emotional and physical health may be the most challenging part of the caregiver’s cancer journey. Trying to care for a spouse or partner with cancer means that caregivers often neglect their own well-being. This section addresses some of the common health issues and concerns facing caregivers and what they can do to overcome these challenges.

Stress management

It is important to remember that feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious does not mean you are failing as a caregiver. Monitoring your own physical and emotional well-being helps you monitor your own stress levels. When everything is getting to be too much, you will know it’s time to step back and take a moment for yourself.

Knowing your limits and respecting them allows you to provide for your loved one without burning yourself out. Sharing responsibilities with another family member or close friend, making time for yourself, and finding emotional support are all effective ways of managing stress. As a caregiver, you want the best for your partner, but your own health must remain a priority in order to provide your loved one with the best care possible [3].

Anxiety

Anxiety can be a constant companion as a caregiver; you carry the worries of both you and your partner and this can drain your energy quickly. Anxiety can lead to you asking yourself unanswerable questions like: ‘What happens if the treatment isn’t a success? What if the cancer has already spread? What if the cancer returns?’ [4]

While overwhelming feelings of worry and anxiousness go hand-in-hand with any form of illness; doing your best to manage these emotions and thoughts can allow you and your partner to handle the ups and downs of prostate cancer with more ease.

[3] “Coping with the Stress of Caregiving.” CancerCare. CancerCare, 2014. Web.  accessed 26 May 2014. < http://www.cancercare.org/publications/142-coping_with_the_stress_of_caregiving >.
[4] “Anxiety and Prostate Cancer Often Go Hand-in-hand.” His Prostate Cancer. His Prostate Cancer, n.d. Web. accessed 26 May 2014. ù