- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Understanding grief
- How long will it last?
- If you feel ‘stuck’ or desperate
If you feel ‘stuck’ or desperate
Most people have times after a major loss when they feel they just can’t go on any longer. The pain of grief is too hard or just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Be kind to yourself – it is normal that some days are much harder than others. After a few weeks, you will usually start to notice a pattern of good days and bad days, with the good days gradually increasing.
Sometimes a person may begin to feel “stuck” in their grief and become very depressed or anxious. Or worse, they may begin to feel suicidal, as though not going on is a real option. If this is the case for you or someone you care about, it is important to seek help.
You may need to seek professional help if you:
- find it difficult to function on a daily basis
- begin to rely on alcohol or other drugs
- stop eating regularly
- are sleeping too much or having a lot of trouble sleeping
- are worried you might hurt someone because your feelings of anger or aggression do not settle
- are thinking about self-harm or taking your own life.
There is no need to face this experience alone. See options for professional support, talk to your GP, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.
Kate Jurgens, Bereavement Coordinator, Southern Adelaide Palliative Services, SA; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; A/Prof Lauren Breen, Psychologist, Curtin University, WA; Rev David Dawes, Manager, Spiritual Care Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Rob Ferguson, Consumer; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Joanna Mangan, Psychologist, Cancer Council Queensland; Kate Reed, Nurse Practitioner National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Maxine Rosenfield, Counsellor and Educator, NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
Emotions and cancer
People who are affected by cancer in some way can experience a range of emotions, that can be very challenging to deal with at times. Learn more.
End of life
This information may help you better cope with end of life, or support someone who may be dying with cancer