It is a sad truth but many people tell us that living with a brain tumour diagnosis can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.
It's not unusual to feel this way at times, but it can be really hard to overcome. That's why, with the help of our Young Ambassadors, we've pulled together some top tips to help you tackle it head-on, to help you get back to being you.
Our Young Ambassadors recently attended a two-day workshop with The Brain Tumour Charity, where, as well as learning how to vlog like a pro, they took part in a session that explored what isolation meant to them, living with a brain tumour themselves. From this, we've found the best ideas to help others cope with and tackle these all too common emotions.
So, without further ado, here are the top tips our Young Ambassadors recommend:
1. Talk to the right people and share. Share. SHARE – the number one thing that came up time and time again was the phrase - don't hold it in! Talk, write, sing, dance about your feelings. 'A problem shared is a problem halved'. All you have to do, is find the 'right' people. This doesn't necessarily mean talking to medical professionals, it could be your bestie, a family member, or teacher. It just has to be someone you trust and are comfortable around, and who will be there to help you; even if that's just to lend a listening ear. Our Facebook group may also provide a safe space for you to share with people your age, who understand your situation.
2. You are not your diagnosis – carry on doing the things you enjoy, listen to music, bake a cake, go out with friends. There are so many little, every day things that you can do to remind you that life can still be normal and that you are still you. Your diagnosis cannot take away, for instance, your love of art or music.
3. Pep talk – it may feel silly, we've all seen cheesy movies where people stand in front of the mirror and give themselves a pep talk, but it does work; even if it just makes you laugh a bit. Be forceful and tell yourself “I can do this", “I am strong" and believe it! Sometimes, you need to force yourself to be positive and see the good in life, but it is 100% still there.
4. It's okay to have a bad day – you don't have to be happy and positive all the time, and you don't even have to talk about it all the time if you don't want to. It is okay to be sad and angry and frustrated, just try not to let it consume you.
5. Be active – remember the Legally Blonde line “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy." It may be a common solution to any given problem, but that's because it does work. Go for a walk, a jog, play football, swim, there are lots of different types of exercise which help relieve stress and release endorphins to make you feel happier. You just need to find something that works for you. Alternatively, you can try some mental exercise such as a puzzle or Sudoku to keep your mind active.
6. Advice – getting and giving – if you have questions then ask, whether that's chatting to people your age on our Facebook Group, talking via our online live chat service, calling your doctor, or asking your family. Get it off your chest and don't feel scared to look for answers or ask questions, no question is ever 'silly'. However, on the flip side, the one thing you have at your disposal is experience, you have a unique opportunity to give advice and help others in the same situation, to make a difference through your diagnosis.
7. Have a laugh - although some days it may feel hard, laughter can be a great medicine. Whether it's watching funny cat videos, your favourite comedian, or being able to laugh at yourself, finding the funny things in life will give you an immediate boost in positivity.
8. Channel your feelings – finding a release for what you're feeling is a great help. Whether that's writing stories, poems or songs, creating your own dance, playing music, or channelling your feelings into a sport, finding an outlet can not only make you feel better emotionally, but can improve your confidence - you may even find a new hobby or talent in the process.
Watch this space for more information on tackling isolation, but in the meantime, for more information or to talk to one of our friendly team, call our Information and Support Line on 0808 800 0004. Or why not sign up to our Young Adults Facebook Group to connect with and chat to others.
If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:
Support & Info Line
0808 800 0004 (free from landlines and mobiles)
Research & Clinical Trials Info Line
01252 749 999
Phone lines open Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00
You can also join our active online community on Facebook - find out more about our groups.