Posted the following as a comment on a post in a breast cancer support group. Thought it might be pertinent here too….
I hit absolute rockbottom in the emotional/mental health stakes about 3 weeks ago. It was a long time coming. Creeping up on me insidiously. Cancer, fear of recurrence, 8 surgeries in 14 months, resultant & other health issues combined, all caused a major mind fuck. Luckily my sister, a psych nurse and educator, recognised the signs and encouraged me to seek help. I’ve been an inpatient now, at a local private hospital Psych Unit, for 2 weeks. THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST DECISION I HAVE MADE SINCE MY DIAGNOSIS IN APRIL 2013!!! Seek help ladies, please. Look at the options in your area. I didn’t know this kind of help was available. It’s purely voluntary. I can leave when I want. Like today, I’ve spent the day out with my BC support ladies, at the footy for the Cancer Council’s Pink Guard of Honour. Some ppl here go out to work and return here for treatment or rest overnight. It’s an amazing program.
Here I have access to a psychiatrist, psychologists, psych trained nurses, all different types of therapy like art and music, fitness programs, meditation, Pilates, education sessions, group and individual counselling, and most importantly, someone to talk to 24/7. We don’t give a second thought to resting up when we have a physical injury, or illness. The mind requires the same tlc. I can get on with healing while others take care of the mundane everyday stuff like cooking & cleaning etc. For the first time in months I can see through the fog. I needed help to get through this. I tried it on my own and failed. So many people have said to me “You’re so strong. You’re doing so well. I don’t know how you cope.” Blah blah blah. I didn’t feel strong. I wasn’t doing well. I wasn’t coping. It took a lot of courage, and encouragement, to seek help. I was shit scared the first 2 days. Thought I’d made the wrong decision…. I didn’t.
If any of you feel like you need a break from all the crap that this effing cancer brings, then you probably do. It takes much greater strength to ask for help rather than trying to go it alone. Please consider it…. even if it’s a day program, or a visit to a psychologist. Or a music therapy group. Whatever you need.
We all need to look after our mental health. Cancer messes with us physically. We are sliced, diced, sectioned, poisoned, radiated, reconstructed and have our whole outlook on life completely changed. Our self esteem takes a dive as we deal with the changes to our bodies. We live in fear of a recurrence. We make new friendships and form bonds with other Pink Sisters, some of whom we know will lose their battle. Some of us lose our careers, our relationships, our friendships….. It’s a TOTAL MIND FUCK! Reach out. Ask for help. You may be surprised by what you discover.
Oh and as I have private health cover, this program and facility is fully covered. Once I’m discharged, the day patient program is also fully covered. There are many programs like this all over Australia. If anyone wants to find out more please pm me. Love to all who are struggling, and apologies for the length of this.