Monday, 20 June 2011
Just over a week ago I finally reached breaking point with all the flashbacks and nightmares etc and finally admitted defeat and went to my doctor for help. He has diagnosed me as having post traumatic stress disorder and thinks I need to see a therapist in order to try and get some closure after all the horrible nearly dying stuff. I've been put on some anti-depressants and given contact details for a therapist. Part of me has breathed a huge sigh of relief - I'm not going bonkers after all! However, part of me also feels guilty and, if I'm honest, slightly ashamed at getting in this kind of state in the first place. I know that's silly but it's been really hard to shake those feelings off, even though many medical professionals have told me that this sort of thing is actually very common after the experiences I've had. I'm normally the shoulder that everyone else cries on, so asking for help was really quite difficult. Also in the back of my mind I felt that I was letting down all those people who had praised me for coping with everything so well - I didn't want to shatter their illusions and neither did I want to admit defeat and admit there was something wrong.
Apart from the medication and the prospect of some much-needed therapy, I have come across two other things that have really helped me to deal with all of this. The first is Breast Cancer Care's Moving Forward Resource Pack which made me realise that what I am feeling now that active treatment is over is completely normal. I can't tell you what a relief it was to read through the pack and recognise that I'm not alone.
The other thing that is helping a lot is this book - The Cancer Survivor's Companion: Practical ways to cope with your feelings after cancer. It contains lots of helpful advice, tips and tricks for helping you to cope with how cancer has affected you and how to try and move forward after treatment has finished. It's a brilliant book that has already made a difference to me.