Counselling. Your thoughts.

I coped reasonably well throughout treatment but now that I’ve finished and am back to work I am finding it extremely diffucult to adjust to life on the ‘outside’.

I am, as I once heard it described, one big peeled nerve. I seem to take everything personally and can be reduced to tears at the slightest thing. I can’t tell what’s me and what’s them anymore. For example, I feel I’m being discriminated against at work yet, if I take a step back, I can sort of see their side of things. I also recently joined another chat forum and have been routinely abused there because I made the mistake of revealing I had recently had cancer. I accept that I shouldn’t have revealed personal details so early yet the abuse has had a severe affect on my confidence and self-esteem.

I guess what I’m asking is does it get better (I finished treatment in April) or do I need intervention to stop it getting worse? I’m already on anti-depressants which, until now, have been working.

For those who went for counselling was it effective and how did you go about it? Am I best going to my GP or is there some specialised counselling for cancer survivors that I could access?



Hi, I finished my treatment last November but then developed an abscess which meant another stay in hospital and months of antibiotics. This took several months to finally heal so I think my body was just rebelling about everything. I coped fairly well during treatment but reality hit home afterwards and I found myself crying at the slightest thing and generally not coping. I spoke to my local hospital cancer centre and was referred for counselling. This eventually made a huge difference to me and gradually I felt that the old me was returning and I wasn’t such a crying wreck!
I would recommend counselling but it is obviously an individual thing. For me it worked. There were a lot of issues that I hadn’t acknowledged during treatment and were obviously lurking around in the mind but being ignored!
Hoping that you will soon feel better but get help if you feel you need to.
Take care. Angela

I finished treatment (20 x rads) end May after having 6 x chemo sessions and 3 x ops (1 of which was mastectomy). I am having counselling , done through a private lady which i am entitled to via some critical illness cover I had. Am going weekly and have had 10 x so far . Finding this helpful as you dont have to be brave at the sessions and you can just let go and say what you think of the cancer, how your life and thoughts are changing (mine change week by week). I would recommend counselling to anyone.

Vez xx

Thanks Angela, Dahlia and Vez.

After posting I remembered I had a Tak Tent leaflet kicking about. They do counselling and I’ve just called and made an appointment for Thursday of next week at my local hospital (in Glasgow.) I’m also getting one of their complimentary therapies, although I haven’t decided which one yet.

Dahlia - I didn’t get a PM from you; either that or I did but I’m not seeing it! What you have said in your post has helped a lot, though. And you’re not rambling - just letting off some steam on a place designed for that very purpose!

I agee with your observation that others have stayed the same while we have changed. I’ve often thought that myself and it can be hard to get over. I wish our breast care teams would focus more on the fallout from diagnosis and treatment rather than just the illness itself. It would help to have been prepared. You work towards this point the whole way through, dangling the carrot of ‘getting back to normal’ as a way to get through it. And then normality arrives and is alien. In some ways going through treatment was easier.

I know some US women who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorderr following breast cancer. I’m not saying we all necessarily have it but I believe most of us will be exhibiting at least some of the symptoms. I keep reminding myself of that whenever I feel weak and useless. We’re not weak - we are sick - and just because treatment has finished it doesn’t mean we are all better.

I’m glad the counselling seems to be working for you. Take care.

Lola x

Hi Lola

All I can say is I know exactly how you feel, as I am going through it myself at the moment. Likewise I seemed to mentally sail through treatment and coped really well bar getting extremely ill during chemo, I didn’t really think about it as an illness until the last few months.

Now it’s tears one minute and the next I’m trudling along as usual… then I get my hackles up at things and can’t stand people wingeing, even though I’m allowed to myself… silly, eh?

I spoke to my GP about it but he just says I need time to adjust, so I’ll keep waiting to see if it goes away or if not whether I try to jump of the mountain during one of my flids (hee, hee… joke…). I just want to get back to normal if that is possible, I have even stopped visiting the here and BCpals in the hope that I can forget, but it hasn’t helped - hence my returning and annoying folk at the moment.

Lynn x

Hi Lola

Glad to hear your are going to Tak Tent. I have been going there for the last two years. I mainly go for the therapies as I really enjoy them and the girls are lovely. I usually have Indian head massages. I did go for counselling some time ago. However, I don’t seem to be able to get as much out of counselling as I would like. I know my situation is very difficult (four years misdiagosed has made anger one of my main problems) but I guess I am the sort of person who likes to get advice and counselling is about listening. I have just had a session of EFT (emotional freedom therapy) which I found quite interesting. It’s too early to say if it will help me - I have booked another session for next week. However, the great thing about Tak Tent is that the counselling is free and the therapies are a donation of £5. Do you know that the Maggie Centre has a Clinical Psychologist? Many people benefit from this type of service. I know Richard has now left but the last time I was in they told me they were interviewing for his replacement. Just giving you another option.

Enjoy your counselling and therapy.



Thanks Jeannie,

I’m really looking forward to the therapy session and will probably go for the Indian Head massage. I didn’t know The Maggie Centre had a clinical psychologist. That’s handy to know if I don’t get as much out of the counselling as I’d like either.


Hi Lola

So rang bells with me - what you said about the health care teams needing to focus more on the fallout from bc diagnosis and treatment - fallout being such an apt word, I can’t tell you - the tsunami happened just after mine, and then the July bombings, and I was still in shock then, and all I was thinking was - oh, those people, they will be like me, my life has been turned upside down like as if a tsunami hit, like a bomb dropped - and I’m still reeling from the shock, it is less now, 2 and a half years on but still with me: I think about it all the time except when I am working, I wake up thinking about it and I go to bed thinking about it and I wake up in the night thinking about it. Strangely, I don’t dream about it. So yeah, maybe there is some comparison with Post Traumatic Stress, I have called it shock ever since it happened to me - I have carried on as normal all through, but I sometimes wonder what I look like from the outside; I imagine people would say I’m really strong and brave and doing fine, but for a long time it felt as if everyone was far away and their lips were moving and I could just hear what they were saying but it wasn’t important. I actually wish now someone had noticed but no-one did, I think we hide it.

Anyway I am having some counselling but it doesn’t quite hit the spot. That is partly because my whole world has been turned completely upside down, sounds stupidly melodramatic but I’m afraid it is true, so now there are so many different aspects and the counselling is for one of them, the disfigurement. Anyway, we’ll see how it goes - I find putting it into my own words helps me work it out. Hope it helps for you -surely worth a try. Don’t be brave.


Hi Lola,
After I finished chemo and rads, my husband urged me to give up smoking, and as I had had medical hypnosis some 30 yrs ago for Crohn’s problems, with a psycho ex-husband hounding me, I knew that for me, hypnosis worked. I found a local private hypnotherapist through a physio where I was having hip treatment. Husband took me and sat in the car. Some 2 hours later, and much crying, I came out feeling so different. And, I didn’t even get hypnosis - he just sat and asked me a few questions about my traumatic past and let me pour out my feelings - long repressed. He told me to think about my life, that I was not responsible for the actions of my ex-husband (now in prison for life) where I wanted it to go, etc. and wouldn’t even let me give him a cheque. I have not been back - even though I have not stopped smoking, much to my husband’s utter disgust. I am still here 4 yrs later, and pleased to say the hypnotherapist helped me to put matters into proper perspective. I think his fee was £75, but he didn’t send me a bill, even though I e-mailed him for one. So, perhaps there really are some good and compassionate counsellors out there to help in times of dire need. I know for me, this guy was a life-saver. Hope you get the counselling you feel you need. It can’t hurt and may make you feel so much better.