The checklist to Determine Your Level of Spiritual Distress is designed to help you to examine what spiritual strengths you have as well as potential areas of distress. Like the spirituality questions, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers. It will simply help you identify areas in which you may want to seek further resources or support.
“Spiritual struggle” is defined as having high spiritual needs and low spiritual resources with which to address those needs. It can lead to what professional chaplains call “spiritual distress” when a person is struggling with such issues as the meaning of life, death, or their belief system, feeling angry towards God/a Higher Power/the Universe, questions about pain and suffering, or feeling as though one is being punished by or abandoned in the midst of their illness or pain. Distress may come from not being able to participate in spiritual or religious activities that have been important to you. You may not feel comfortable with the changes that your cancer has brought to your life.
If you are experiencing spiritual distress remember that it can be an absolutely normal feeling for someone who is living with cancer. However, if you find that by completing the checklist and thinking about these issues that you are feeling such distress at a high level, it is important that you find support and resources that will help you to manage and reduce your distress. This is because, as medical professionals have learned, cancer is an experience not just of your body but also your mind and spirit: the three work together and by focusing on all three areas you will be able to find the best ways to manage your pain.
If you have a spiritual or religious leader, he or she might be the person you feel most comfortable with in discussing these feelings. If you do not have one, or you don’t feel at ease in talking to them about your questions, feelings, and concerns help is available through Chat With a Chaplain. You can connect with a professional health care chaplain who will listen and offer support. You may also Request a Prayer.