Youth Cancer

Dealing With Anger

It's natural to feel angry when you have been diagnosed with cancer. There are good and bad ways to deal with that anger.

Being angry is totally normal. You might feel like it's not fair, that you haven't done anything to deserve it, or just be pissed off that things feel so out of your control.

You might feel angry that

  • Your whole life has been turned upside down.
  • You can’t do what you used to do.
  • Your parent has to look after you more than usual.
  • There's no one for you to blame.

It’s important to remember that there are helpful and unhelpful ways of dealing with it.

Helpful ways to deal with anger

  • Find a private space and SCREAM.
  • Do some boxing or just punch a pillow. Sometimes some basic, primal aggression (not focused at a person, of course) can really help get things out of your system.
  • Go for a run, walk or some other kind of exercise. Pounding the pavement is better than beating up on yourself or someone else.
  • Have a hot shower and cry, sing or yell while you’re in there.
  • Anger sometimes covers up all the other emotions going on underneath. Having a good honest talk to someone you trust can do wonders. Call your best mate and tell them you’re feeling a bit mental – sometimes just admitting it can help.
  • Listen to music that suits your mood.
  • Write it down. Some people find writing stuff and then tearing it up and throwing it away helpful.

Unhelpful ways to deal with anger:

  • Drug and alcohol abuse. Without the lecture, this is really only ever a short term fix. It may seem like a tempting way to cope, but it won’t help in the long run and will actually do you harm.
  • Hurting others. Anger is a natural emotion but violence is never an okay way to deal with it. There are always other ways to express what you’re feeling.
  • Withdrawing. Sometimes when we’re angry we try to cut ourselves off from people. It can feel like they’re annoying, even when they’re trying to help, or like they just don’t understand. It may seem hard, but try not to push the people who love you away. They only want to help, and it’s much harder to go it alone!
  • Check out the grief section for more good and bad ways to deal with these negative feelings

Remember:  Living with cancer sucks but you are not alone. There are people who will understand and can help.