• How do you keep your mind out of the basement of dark?

    Asked by Coloman on Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    How do you keep your mind out of the basement of dark?

    Every now and then I just get negative and can't lose it. I can't get positive. How do you do it?

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • Bengal's Avatar

      I've been there and it is hard to pull yourself out of it. Sometimes you have to purposefully, mindfully, deliberately make a change. Get together with friends even if you don't really feel like it. Make yourself do something you used to enjoy doing. I sometimes just listen to music and let that seep into my mind and drive the negative thoughts out. A walk through nature's wonders can sometimes snap you out of a funk. If it's really bad talking to a councillor can really help.

      14 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Conquering the fear of death is one way. Learning methods of dealing with suffering is another. Those methods were taught to me and I employ them.

      14 days ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar

      I’ve pretty much been a gray cloud since my epic battle.

      I’m cured but suffer daily with the wreckage left behind.

      I do have some things that perk me up, but generally nothing for long.

      14 days ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      Deep breathing (I learned from some yoga classes) really helps me at night. That's when the darkness of cancer will creep into my mind and sleep will not come.

      I focus on finding beauty in each day. I love photography and usually take my little Canon SureShot along to capture a flower blooming or a mushroom or animal track. I've also learned to watercolor so that I can transport my mind to any place in the world just by painting.

      Try not to focus on what you've lost. We gain new friends and lose some others. We gain wisdom and understand far better the value of life and of feeling good. Embrace today - tomorrow will take care of itself.

      13 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      It's a tough thing for sure. I have always followed a simple one-line statement. "Don't worry about something until you have something to worry about". Simple it is, but hard to do. But if you can learn to focus your mind on the things you DO want and off of the things you DON'T want, you can do it. I hope you see the light.

      13 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      Yes, JaneA. I just learned about "wave breathing." It sounded hokey at first but, for me, it really works . Imagine you are at the shore and make your breathing the waves. Breath in slowly through your nose, pulling the wave as far up onto the beach as you can. Then slowly let the wave recede as you breath out through your mouth. The sound of your breath even mimics the sound of the water as it hisses on and off the sand. Put everything else out of your mind and just become the surf. Like you said, good at night when sleep won' t come and dark thoughts start to take you over. If course I'd rather be at the beach for real.

      13 days ago
    • medale's Avatar

      It is very difficult. Treatment is hard and so is the uncertainty. Sitting meditation helped me with anxiety. "Walking" meditation in nature also would take my mind off the treatment. But you don't have to do it alone. I found that anti-depression meds and counseling were extremely helpful.

      Acupuncture and sports massages got me out of the house and reduced back pain from just sitting around or laying in bed during the bad chemo days.

      Maybe there is a local cancer support group? During treatment I met so many amazing people. Now that I am two years out from chemo I started to volunteer doing IT for a cancer research foundation to try to give back. I still get pretty nervous around check-up time but I try to focus on the things that I can control. Some days that works better than others. Best of luck!

      13 days ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar

      We all go through things.Even though some don't admit it.

      13 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I stay incredibly busy doing things I love to do. I attend a lot of Bible studies, go to lunch, shopping, movies with my friends. On most Fridays, I go help a friend who is 84, has 34 acres with lots of miniature horses and Shelties ... I work really, really hard while I'm there and I'm very sore and tired the next day, but I have an absolute blast being out in the country surrounded by animals. I'm helping my friend and her animals ... and at the same time, I'm helping me. I have way more hobbies than I have time to do - I love painting kindness rocks and leaving them places for people to find them and hopefully get a boost ... I've started learning to make jewelry ... I have more books than I will ever be able to read even if I live to be 100 ...

      I'm grateful for everything the Lord has given me ... and what He hasn't ... I don't actually have one, but a gratitude jar might be just the thing to help you realize that things are not as bad as your mind is trying to make them. I just started a Bible study called 1000 Gifts where the author started a list of what she is grateful for - she was challenged to come up with 1000 things - and she realized that things like the sun streaming in on her wood floors, the flower blooming in the front yard, the warmth of the sun or the beauty of the snow, the smell of soup cooking on the stove, the love and warmth of a pet are all things that bring joy. (Even if you are not a person of faith, you can look for things for which you are grateful or that you enjoy or that bring a smile or peace...)

      I don't usually forget that I have stage IV lung cancer, but I definitely do not dwell on it either. I have a life to live and that's what I plan to do for as long as I can. Good luck!!! Being down in the dumps is a hard place to be.

      11 days ago
    • robynr's Avatar

      I usually stew for a day or so. Then I just get sick of myself and go talk to a friend or do something I enjoy. I figure we all only have so much time so get busy living!

      8 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      A week ago I was giving advice on how to shake yourself loose from that basement of darkness. Seems now it's my turn. Last night my sciatica was hurting so bad I started to cry. Then as I tried to will myself to go to sleep I somehow triggered a flashback / panic attack (scared my cat). This morning I woke to nearly a foot of snow and predicted below zero temperatures by the weekend. Northeastern winters make everything just so much harder. Has not been a good 24 hours. Sometimes all the gimmicks and meditations and breathing techniques don't work and you have to just let it play out and hope eventually you'll get to a better place. Dealing with SAD and PTSD on top of lingering side effects and fear of recurrence at times seems overwhelming. 5:00 and it's pitch black outside. Kinda feels that way inside too. It helps knowing all you guys are out there somewhere

      7 days ago
    • Kp2018's Avatar


      We're out there alright. Here's my remedy for when all else fails: Chocolate and trash TV. Bake some chocolate chip cookies. (I keep some of the pre-made dough ones, like Nestle's, on hand for when I'm really in the dumpster). Eat them while watching some really trashy TV. Tonight you have some "real housewives" from somewhere on Bravo. Enjoy the sugar rush on a cold dark snowy night and be grateful that you're not one of the useless women you're seeing squabbling with one another on the TV program. You'll make it. I hope this helps.

      7 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      Kp2018, thanks for that but works better in theory than in practice. So far I've managed to come up with a chocolate cookie mix "sell by" date Oct 2015! As for "housewives," no thanks, but there's enough other junk out there. I'll find sonething. Appreciate your response.

      7 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      Hey, just sayin', 4 year old chocolate cookies aren't bad----- when it's all you have. Actually, the process of mixing and baking cookies did take my mind of other things. After a frigid weekend the weather here is supposed to mellow out a bit through Thanksgiving. That will make "things" more tolerable. Some days I don't think of cancer at all. Some days it's all I can think of. I have a follow-up in a week. Always sends our minds spinning.

      6 days ago

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