I know, I know- this topic AGAIN? Well yes, because it’s an ongoing daily struggle that I and many other survivors are doing our best to navigate.
I recently have been having increased bouts of depression that are lasting more than a day. Previously, I’d have a bad day about once or twice a month. Lately they’ve been happening about once a week and lingering. So I decided I needed a better game plan in this whole new life of mine. I started first by reaching out to my oncologist. She put in a referral for therapy and had me increase my anti depressant. I had been resistant to that previously but I knew I couldn’t continue my current path without making changes.
I also decided to revisit some skills I did a few years ago to manage my depression and anxiety. Additionally, I decided I needed to really treat myself better both mentally and physically.
1. Daily journaling- because venting in a journal releases some of the Cancer Hamsters energy, AND the journal doesn’t give you that feeling of “shut-up and get over it.”
2. Weekly or more Art Journaling- the artistic version of a journal, it allows me to express myself through color and textures.
3. Daily walking/stretching- I already do some gentle exercises that my physical therapist has me do, but the weight bearing exercise is helpful to my joint pain. On bad weather days, I have a portable elliptical.
4. Love myself- this means accepting my self as I am now. Scars and all.
Included in number 4 is dressing myself for my new body as opposed to hiding behind oversized clothes and dark colors. Back to the colors I love! Also I’m taking better care of my skin and doing my makeup again. I know for some makeup isn’t a thing. But for me, it’s a love of mine. I stopped for a few reasons…one of those being a “what’s the point” mentality. What is the point? While I can never go back to pre-cancer me, I can regain some things even if they are a bit different. I have been beyond frustrated with my limitations and all of the changes. Rather than just giving up from the depths of my depression, I’m learning to work with them.
Time to use my stubbornness in a positive way.
The hardest thing about this new life is that damn Cancer Hamster. Seriously, that little bastard takes my mind into areas I wish it wouldn’t. Every. Damn. Day. I used to be able to box things away in my mind and not address them. Not healthy at all to ones mental health! It was a coping mechanism from my days of growing up abused. Therapy taught me how to manage all that. Clearly therapy is needed again for this new world.
Some survivors can and do manage life far easier than others. I’ve finally realized it requires work and participation to manage all the garbage that is survivorship.
I also reached out to my fellow MpBC sisters about the stress of survivorship. One of them shared this amazing piece someone wrote about going through cancer – https://csn.cancer.org/node/299213
And someone else continued the piece with what survivorship is like- https://helloverajuice.wordpress.com/2016/12/30/my-sequel-to-mountain-lion/
And this one I found really helpful http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf
I can tell you regarding the above link, I did not take enough time to convalescence and I went back to work FT way too soon- but that was necessary unfortunately.
So off I go trying my best to stay positive and enjoy being me.
Could someone tell my Cancer Hamster Mountain Lion that?
As always, #FuckCancer