Brain Tumors: Emotional Issues

Group of two women, girl, and two men at kitchen table.Adjusting to your diagnosis and treatment can be hard for both you and your loved ones. It will take time. But there are things you can do to make the process easier.

Dealing with emotions

  • Realize that everyone responds differently to diagnosis and treatment.

  • Accept that you may cope better on some days than on others.

  • Take time to absorb what you know before you discuss it with others.

  • It is normal to feel some anger, stress, and even depression. Try not to take your emotions out on the people you care about.

  • Consider counseling. It can help you cope with the demands of treatment.

  • Talk with your healthcare provider about medicines or other types of treatment that might be helpful.

  • Learn what you can about stress reduction techniques from family, friends, and your healthcare team.

  • Consider speaking with your spiritual or religious leader.

  • Find a local support group.

Adjusting to daily life

  • Say “yes” when people offer to help, such as with cooking and housework.

  • Arrange for childcare when you need a break.

  • Consider a healthy eating plan and healthy lifestyle choices.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about a walking or exercise program.

  • If you’ve been told not to drive at this time, get help setting up rides. Talk with your social worker, case manager, or discharge planner.

  • Ask your employer about cutting back your work hours if your schedule is too tiring. Or try working at home where you can pace yourself.

Talking to your family and friends

It may be hard to talk about your brain tumor and its treatment, but you may also want to let family and friends know what you are going through.

  • Let them know that there is no single right thing to say. Assure them that showing they care is helpful.

  • Expect people to respond in different ways. Some may seem angry or seem too upbeat, saying everything will be fine. Know they all mean well.

  • Don’t overwhelm children. Explain what’s happening to the extent that they can understand. When children sense that something is going on but it hasn’t been explained, they may blame themselves. 

Remember that some of the medicines you take may also cause emotional issues that can affect your outlook on life. For example, steroids can cause depression and irritability. You may want to talk to your loved ones about these possible mood effects.

Notes to family and friends

  • Sharing feelings and listening will help keep your loved one from feeling alone.

  • Your loved one may feel guilty for relying on you so much. Offer to help when you can and arrange for others to be there when you can’t.

  • Learn what you can about treatment for brain tumors.

  • Take time for yourself. You will be more of a help if you take time to rest and keep up with the needs of your own life.

  • Consider writing a journal.