I've read your posts with interest. I am 8 months on from surgery and like you, I am struggling more now than at any point on this journey. Plus, I also didn't need chemo or radiotherapy.
Any cancer diagnosis is horrific and anxiety and depression are understandable outcomes of going through something so horrendous (mind you, knowing this, hasn't made my depression or anxiety disappear!) 6 months is a very short amount of time to recover from the trauma of diagnosis and the trauma of surgery. Plus you have other surgeries in your past and multiple stresses like these can become cumulative (we cope well at first but eventually become overwhelmed because there's only so much our brains can cope with)
It might be worth talking to your GP - they should be able to refer you for outpatient mental health support. (This can involve more targeted therapies designed specifically to help with trauma, depression, anxiety etc and shouldn't have a time limit)
Also, feel free to pm me if you want to message with someone in a similar situation to you xx
I think it is common that there is a perception you are at your most vulnerable during diagnosis/ treatment but that once 'through' you are OK, when we all know we are only beginning to get a chance to process our feelings.
Or, maybe what we are trying to do is 'redefine ourselves', that's a lot of work because the feelings are so complex. Personally I have no intention of this process being at anyone's pace, other than mine. It's not wise to try to gratify and normalise people's conceptions at your own expense. I lost a dear friend over this issue, she was convinced 'it was all over' the day after my op and refused to accept that was far from the case. She pushed me far too hard to 'be normal' and that did neither me, nor a 30 year friendship, any good as I was incredibly vulnerable.
I feel it's all about patience, with yourself and pacing; I honestly don't think there is a psychological 'quick fix' . You are NOT a failure, you have got through an horrendous experience, yet still have humility to post thoughtful insight. Pat on back from me. X
Hi Lucy, I think you are expecting a lot of yourself. You will still be in turmoil from the diagnosis and treatment. Being diagnosed with bc is an awful thing, and if you are like me, you will feel that your body has let you down. As my psychotherapist assured me, if it’s let me down then I’m in a great big club as there are a thousands of us! So....that was me told! The other big thing I had to work through was guilt. The impact on my loved ones was, I thought, awful. To some extent it still is. But, and it’s a big but, if my husband or family were diagnosed would I do the same for them? The answer is a resounding yes. No one asks for this disease, and no one deserves it. You have been diagnosed, gone through surgery, waited for appointments, listened to consultants and nurses discuss you poke and prod you and then let you loose back in your world. Which I might add, will never be the same. What you need is a bit of tlc and a bit of hand holding until you can normalise what has happened. I found mine at Maggies centre, but I think Macmillan is a good place to seek help too. Keep coming here though as there’s always a listening ear. You might want to see if you can access a super programme designed for going forward after treatment. Many hospitals are able to offer this a couple of times a year. It lasts six weeks and might be just what you need. Keep in touch and let us know how you’re getting on. X
Hi Lucy, I think things have to go at your pace, and I’m hugely disappointed for you. To have three sessions cancelled is , I think, unbelievable as well as unacceptable. No one can put a number on how long it will take people like us to benefit from treatment. As another forum member says there are good therapists and not so good. Remember that coming through this treatment shows that you are both stronger than you look and braver than you feel. You have shown yourself to be an articulate and balanced person and I am sure that things will improve for you. I’m sending hugs and positive thoughts, and to you too, Mexico. Keep going. X
Hi Mexico, thank you for your reply, that’s really helpful. I think that’s a good way to look at it, having your hand held through a difficult time.
I hope youre doing ok and thank you again xx
I've had counselling and hope to continue with it, it’s through a charity and I was offered 6 sessions, but I want more, so I’m hoping to have more if I can. I’ll pay for them if need be.
I was hoping it would get me to a place of ‘acceptance’ of my new life, my new nerd ion of me and my ‘terminal’ prognosis, I thought acceptance was the key and then I could gracefully proceed with whatever my fate held for me. But I have come to realise that I dont think ‘acceptance’ for me will ever be a place I can occupy, I can’t accept it, it’s too awful. And grief, which this sort of is, and fear, take a very long time to deal with. However, although I haven’t ‘accepted it’ I can now get on with my life a bit and resume some normality and be a bit calmer about things than I was at first and I don’t any longer think about death and dying all the time. The counselling has definitely helped me....it feels like having someone hold my hand at this difficult time and to whom I can say anything, my worst fears etc etc. Maybe what I’m arriving at is a version of acceptance but it’s not what I thought it would be.
all counsellors are different, some are good and others aren’t so good. And nothing can take grief and fear and anxiety away completely but for me counselling definitely helps.
Hi Lucy, I accessed help through my Onco as I was having a tough time tolerating meds and got really down. Before my first session I was asked to fill in a questionnaire which my allocated psychotherapist read and then understood my anxieties before we met. At the first session she asked me what I wanted from them and I burst into tears and said I no longer recognised who I was and needed to like who I was now after all my treatments and being diagnosed with mets. Like your sessions it all seemed a bit chatty but it was very purposeful and I was given little homework’s to do so I could reclaim my life. I initially saw her every week then two weeks then monthly. She talked about ending the sessions but when I was anxious she added another couple. I was never told I had a certain number of sessions so I’ve been very fortunate. I attended sessions for just over seven months and knew when I was independent and it was time to stop. I did score highly on anxiety levels but not on depression. I grieved for the person I was, and once I accepted she was gone I began to look at who and what I now was. So I suppose acceptance was the key to moving forward. I discovered I was a lot stronger than I thought .Without Rachaels’ help I would have given up on my meds as I was in hospital monthly as I was not tolerating them. Bless the NHS 😇