Emotional & psychological support
Taking care of your emotional and psychological wellbeing is an essential part of coping with a myeloma diagnosis. It’s important to remember help is available for you when you need it.
Having an illness like myeloma, and living with the effects of treatment, can be exhausting. Not just physically, but emotionally, too. Your emotional and psychological wellbeing can be affected at any point following a myeloma diagnosis and can change over time.
Looking after your mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing is extremely important.
Mental health and myeloma
Although it can be common to focus mainly on your physical health, your mental health is important too. Things can spiral. You may find it hard to sleep, for example. Or your appetite may change. You may feel more exhausted and less able to cope. Your physical health may suffer, too. Some people start to think that life isn’t worth living.
The first step towards helping yourself and regaining some control is to be honest with yourself about how you are feeling.
Your healthcare team is there to support all aspects of living with myeloma. It’s normal to have ups and downs, but it’s important to get the support you need when life is challenging and you’re not feeling positive or mentally and emotionally well.
Acknowledging your feelings
There is no right or wrong way you should feel. Sometimes you might feel positive and upbeat; at other times you may feel numb or sad. Your feelings are a natural reaction to your situation. Sometimes you may be surprised by how you feel, and you may not know the reason why you feel the way you do.
It’s important for you to acknowledge how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you. You’re not expected to be positive all the time; how you are feeling will change with time and your circumstances. Difficult feelings may still be present at times.
For the times you are not feeling so positive it is a good idea to give some thought as to how you prefer to access support and what you find most helpful.
Speak to someone
Talking to someone can be an effective way to support your mental health and wellbeing. This could be informal support from family and friends, or more formal support through a counsellor or psychologist.
There are a range of services we provide that may help you cope with how you’re feeling, including the Myeloma Infoline. It may help to speak to someone who’s been through something similar. Find out more about our services that will connect you with people who understand.
If you are feeling distressed, in a state of despair, as though you may hurt yourself, suicidal or in need of immediate emotional support, call NHS 111 or visit nhs.uk for local support services. Samaritans also offer a free, 24 hour helpline you can call on 116 123.
Emotional wellbeing tool
We have created an interactive wellbeing tool to help you look after your mental, emotional and psychological wellbeing.
This interactive tool was developed with psychiatric specialists and patients to support you as you explore your emotional wellbeing and help highlight sources of help and support. Through information, videos and activities, this tool will give you space to work through how you’re feeling and find strategies and sources of support to help you manage your emotional and mental wellbeing.
In six sections, we look at:
- Common feelings and anxieties about myeloma
- How these can affect emotional and mental wellbeing
- Strategies you can use, with opportunities to try them out
- How to find the right support
You don’t need to go through all the sections in one sitting – you can do as little or as much as you want and then come back to it later – and you can come back and use the tool as many times as you like.
We thank our contributors and reviewers:
- Carly James, who has myeloma
- Eileen Kibbler, who has myeloma
- Ellen Watters, Myeloma Information Nurse Specialist, Myeloma UK
- Greg Shields, Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust