Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and Depression

Responding to a normal reaction to life-limiting illness

When you have a serious illness, it is normal to feel anxious or stressed or sad at times. The diagnosis of a terminal illness is a life-changing event. You might have many emotions, this includes being afraid, sad, or lonely.

Learning to manage stress can be helpful:

  • Use relaxation techniques, slow breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Maintain social contact
  • Reduce alcohol and other drugs
  • Support groups.


Sometimes the worry is so great that you may develop symptoms of anxiety. This can include feeling edgy or restless. You may have difficulty concentrating, feel tired, or have difficulty in falling or staying asleep.

If you feel sad, moody or low for a long period of time you may be experiencing depression. It is natural for anyone facing a serious illness to take time to adjust and to feel depressed. Talking to others about the adjustment may help.


Depression is a very common problem. One in four women and one in six men experience depression at some stage of their lives. It is important to mention any of these ongoing symptoms to a health professional. Help is available.

Your carer and your family may also have feelings of anxiety and sadness. It is important that they get the help and support that they need. They can talk about this with their doctor or other health professional.

Page created 05 November 2021