Sometimes you might feel that you should be able to cope or that your feelings are so overwhelming you don't know how anyone could help, but try to be kind to yourself. There are plenty of professional services that many people use to work through the harder parts of life. If you think you'd like some professional support, there are plenty of choices available.
Ask your clinical nurse specialist (CNS), key worker or GP about the services available within your NHS trust. Many women have found that talking problems through with their CNS or GP can be very helpful. They can offer insight into your situation and will be able to refer you to more specialist services.
What are they?
Psychological therapies are a common form of emotional support that allow you to talk about your thoughts and feelings, and help you to manage them.
How might it help?
Just getting things off your chest can help. You can discuss the problems you're having and explore difficult feelings in a safe and confidential space. Being able to talk through frustrations and difficult feelings with a trained professional can allow you to be more controlled and patient with yourself and those around you.
What type of therapies are available?
A counsellor's job is to listen and allow you to talk. Many NHS trusts offer referrals to counselling services and many cancer support centres offer free counselling services on-site. For further information contact your CNS, GP or local support centre.
Alternatively, if you choose private counselling you can find a registered counsellor through the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) – call 01455 883 300. You may also find help through Counselling Directory, a confidential service that connects those in distress with a UK counsellor.
A psychologist will be able to discuss the problems you're having and look at how they are affecting you. They can then decide what type of psychological treatment may help you. The British Psychological Society (BPS) can help you find a psychologist in your area and can help you find services in different languages if English is not your first language. You can call them on 0116 254 9568.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is a very practical way of looking at emotional distress that focuses less on the causes of your distress and more on what to do about it – how to improve your reactions to difficult situations. CBT examines how our ways of thinking can trigger difficult emotions and behaviours. The therapy then works to change behaviour by finding new ways to think about and approach problems.
The CBT Register UK allows you to search for therapists in your local area. Most clinical psychologists in the UK are trained in CBT and you can be referred to one through your GP.
Psychotherapy is similar to counselling but the therapist will try to find out where emotions or difficulties might be coming from. They will help you think about what is happening in your life now and what has happened to you in the past that might affect how you're feeling and behaving. Psychotherapy can help you understand why you behave in certain ways and how you might change this behaviour.
The UK Council for Psychotherapy offers a 'Find a therapist' service.
Mindfulness-based therapies help you focus on the present moment. They are recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to avoid repeated bouts of depression.
Mindfulness is a form of non-religious meditation that can have benefits for your sense of wellbeing, help with stress and anxiety and can be practised at home. It's taught and practised in the UK by applied psychologists and other registered health professionals. Read more about mindfulness on the NHS's website.