Avoiding People

I’m about 5 weeks post op and despite being happy with the outcome of my reconstruction I have found that I am getting very anxious about speaking to or seeing people.

Initially I kept in touch with friends, family, colleagues etc but now I find myself getting worked up about answering the phone (I only answer it when it is my OH), I’ve started to give my mobile to my OH to take to work so I don’t have to deal with it. I won’t answer the door and won’t even phone my hairdressers!

I need to speak to my boss (issues around leave etc) but can’t face it.

I’m getting worried that I am going to alienate people and I don’t know how I am going to manage going back to work.

I don’t know what to do to snap myself out of this. I have a counselling service through work (but you have to phone them!!) and I can’t bear the thought of going to the GP.

Does anyone have any advice? Or has anyone been through anything similar?


well it could just be something that will pass, it is a very emotional time, maybe just let it happen, and let it pass in its own time and its own way, things often do.

You could talk to your breast care nurse (there should be one for you at the hospital) - that way you could avoid GP, and work counsellor - I understand your reservations about speaking to a counsellor at work (well, I understand why I would have reservations, if yours are those: namely, would want to keep my very deeply personal feelings about bc separate from work where I want to just present as okay and don’t want to talk about it).

Maybe this feeling is because you are just feeling very sensitive about bc and don’t want anyone to start talking about a sensitive subject. That is natural.

Or maybe you just need to take the plunge - and find that other people are not reacting to you any differently. I had to go and teach 4 weeks after my op and I was frightened people would somehow react to me - they couldn’t have because they didn’t know, and couldn’t tell to look at me, but it makes you feel that way. Anyway, it turned out that nobody reacted oddly to me, nobody stared, nobody treated me any differently.

You will be okay, it is just a moment to get past, and it will pass, I’m sure - for sure it has been a very emotional thing, and I think you are just wanting to protect your tender emotions from the outside world. Hope others come up with the right stuff for you if this doesn’t help.


Hi Adele1

Sorry to hear you are feeling like this, I would suggest phoning the helpline here but again it’s using the phone that you seem to be finding difficult. If you can, do phone as I’m sure the staff here will be able to give you some good well needed support.

Alternatively if it is easier for you to write then you can contact staff here by the Ask the Nurse service, I have put the link for you below. It takes a little longer but it’s a way for you to get some support. Also, have you used our ‘Live Chat’ service where you can ‘talk’ to others in real time (by typewritten message). The next live chat session that would suit you is on Thursday evening this week between 9.00 and 10.00 p.m. Again I’ll put you the link below.

Ask the Nurse email service:

Live chat:

I hope some or all of this helps. Take care.

Kind regards,
Jo, Facilitator

So sorry you are going through this. Sno is right - just go with it and don’t overthink it, don’t think you are crazy or not coping as well as some or any of that nonsense. You may just need to hide away for a few days - my friend calls it going to the “Cry Corner”. Even if you don’t cry sometimes you need to protect yourself from intrusion just to have some time to heal.

Go well
Jane x

So sorry to read how you’re feeling at the moment. I had reconstructive surgery 9 weeks ago and like you am pleased with the outcome. Although I don’t have the same concerns, I did pass through a stage of being very very tearful and couldn’t cope with seeing people as I would just cry. Luckily it didn’t last long, but perhaps this is your way of going through that stage, which I think is common to all ladies having a mastectomy. Like others, I would suggest trying to talk to your breast care nurse. I am sure it will pass. I am a very confident extrovert, bit am very consciuos of how I look, even though everyone tells me I look no different it’s making your brain believe it, that is the problem. Again, I’m giving myself time and I’m sure it will pass, even if there are more tears along the way. I’m sure that all your friends and family will be desparate to help and support you, even if you do cry.
I just watched the Gok progamme on ITV player last night when he dressed and worked with the lady with the mastectomy. The moving thing in that programme is the complete transformation of the lady concerned from being very low, tearful no self esteem etc to becomming an incredibly attractive bubbly person again. Our emotions play havoc with us at a time like this, so as people keep telling me, be kind to your self and try to let others help.

Love to you, and hope you can enjoy Christmas