I liked having cancer treatment. Mastectomy for cancer. Chemotherapy for prevention. My eggs frozen to preserve my fertility. All proactive resources were available to me.
At my appointments with my oncologist I was asked how I felt. But he wasn’t interested in my feelings, he wanted a shopping list of back pain, breast pain and head pain. These were all things that could be treated. And fast. With no looking back.
Being given the all clear
Doctors had told me that I was all clear from cancer. But I didn’t feel safe
It wasn’t a huge surprise to me when I was given the all clear from my cancer diagnosis to then experience the worst mental health melt down I had ever experienced.
Doctors had told me that I was all clear from cancer. But I didn’t feel safe. I had nothing booked in, no treatment, no plan, no conversations. I just had me and my head.
I had a backlog of 18 months of trauma, shock and emotional pain stored up and not released.
Delayed mental trauma
My cancer was a shocking, painful and sudden diagnosis with fast solutions that needed immediate attention. But my mental health slowly declined, starting with shock and sliding into worry, anxiety and then deep depression.
I wondered if a little more time had been taken in my oncology appointments to talk about my feelings I may not have suffered the horrendous mental breakdown that followed. Perhaps if a therapist had been offered to me at diagnosis I could have avoided break down.
My best friend would wake up to 50 text messages asking for reassurance with my obsessive worrying. And my self-confidence slowly died as I piled on weight and got bigger with my chemotherapy medication.
Learning about my mind
In the end I started psychotherapy and discovered a lot about myself, my illness and most importantly my coping mechanisms. My trauma was delayed. In hindsight, my emotional needs were neglected and now needed urgent attention.
I have learned about Lavender oil. A few drops on my pillow each night and I sleep blissfully. I use it in my children’s baths too if they are over tired.
The cancer has gone forever but my anxiety and depression will always be there
I have learned about talking everyday about how we as a family feel. First.
And I have learned that whatever happens always look for the positive and write it down.
And at my lowest I reach for my positivity book and read it to myself.
The cancer has gone forever but my anxiety and depression will always be there. I just now know how to cope. And I’m proud to be able to approach it effectively.
You can read more about Annie on her website www.anniebelasco.co.uk