Tips and Stories

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Loneliness, Isolation, and the lingering feeling of Hope.


Y’know, I wish that I didn’t have to write this.

But I feel as if I have to.

Because loneliness affects each and everyone of us. It can strike at a moment’s notice, or slowly creep into our lives, unswayed by our feeble attempts to keep busy as we feel it inch closer and closer. At times you might feel that your current emotions are so alien to others that it’s better to just mask them and go about your day. Being open and vulnerable is still scary, and to many quite taboo.

There are things we can’t talk to others about, whether they are secrets, or we’re not sure how they might react to certain information, or we think we don’t have anyone to talk to. There are times when you may try to convey something, and nobody is picking up on that signal, or completely misinterpreting your message, and that can have negative effects on your own mental state.

Sometimes we can feel isolated from everyone else. Whether physically, emotionally, or mentally it can be quite jarring and taxing on a person. All it takes in this day and age is to have a phone with no reception or Wi-Fi, and we can find ourselves cut off from everyone and everything. Being alone with our thoughts can be confronting, and the dread brought on by the impeding nothingness can be crippling. We can also be surrounded by people, but at the same time feel so alone, unwanted, or uncared for.

As a bereaved offspring member there are days when I wake up and I’m already in the dumps, a sea of negative emotion, and missing someone who isn’t physically here. As I write this it has been about 8 and a half years since dad passed away, but lo and behold, grief doesn’t really care about linear time, and works rather like a wave, coming and going and will continue to do so throughout my life. I’ve come to terms with that and will do my best to keep my head above water each time that wave rolls by. But I also know that sometimes I’ll get knocked down and be overwhelmed, and that is perfectly fine.

In life we are faced with so many sink or swim moments. We, the oh so lucky few who have experienced the effects of cancer within our young lives know this first hand. But it really doesn’t matter whether you find yourself in that moment, emotionally sinking into despair or swimming to remain strong on the surface as both are perfectly acceptable responses. What matters is what you do next.

Isolation in periods of moderation can be beneficial. Time to yourself to relax, think things over, plan your next move. It may be difficult, but sometimes you have to convince yourself (and not just remind yourself) that you are not alone. You may find yourself at times where you don’t have a support network, and have no idea where to turn to, or what to do or say. It’s important at these times to stop for a moment and re-evaluate the important things in your life. If something is bringing you negativity or toxicity, it may be best to cut that from your life, as heart wrenching as that may be. There are people out there who can understand, relate to what you’re going through, and care for you. You just have to seek them out, or realise that they’re there.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

~ Albus Dumbledore

Those of us who are going through or have been through a cancer journey have had to grow up quickly, and deal with the many issues of the adult world presented to us. For some they have had to grow up so quickly that they forget to live. I think it’s important at times to reflect on yourself, see where we’re headed, and decide if that’s where we want to go. We may not be able to change the past, but we can accept it, and the lessons that have shaped us into the people we are today. We can always look to the future, realise that there is always that flicker of hope, that little reminder of dreams, promises, plans, and wishes that keep us going. And we can use that to pull ourselves out of the darkness and guide us towards whatever we need in that moment.

So to every CanTeen member out there, every single one of you who read this, please remember that you are loved, you are unique and amazing, you are so full of potential and will go on to do great things, you are not alone.

I hope that you all hold onto that hope inside you, that inextinguishable flame that drives you forward. I hope that you are brave and fight for the things you want. I hope that you are vulnerable, and can embrace your emotions, and open yourselves up to others. I hope that you are kind to all, but especially to yourself. And no matter which way our journeys lead us, I hope that you have fun.


With all my love,

- Alana. :)