I’m not ok.
These are all words and phrases that are incredibly powerful, important, and necessary at times. Yet, there is a stigma. Many people who struggle, do so in silence, do so under the radar, do so without talking about it. I’m sure there are many reasons why someone wouldn’t want their struggle to be public knowledge and this post isn’t about that.
This post is about how those of us with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) universally struggle with coming to terms with how we are terminal. And that’s hard. It’s heavy. It’s overwhelming at times. Is it easier to ask for help because we have cancer? I’m not sure.
Here’s how Adiba talks about it …
Very soon after I was diagnosed, I visited a psychiatrist to get a prescription for medication to help me cope. I know several people who have had to be hospitalized because their struggle got to be more than they could handle. I know others who ignore the issue.
Everyone is different.
My dad, a licensed mental health counselor, once told me that the difference between healthy and unhealthy people is how many coping skills they have. Unhealthy people have one or few; healthy people have many.
The coping skills I’d developed over the first cancer-free 38 years of my life were no match for MBC. Everything that I’d learned to do when things got rough weren’t up to snuff when it came to a terminal diagnosis. So, over the past three (3) years I’ve had to learn new and different coping mechanisms. Many are the same or similar to ones I had before cancer entered my life, but there are new ones too.
One of my coping mechanisms is seeing a psychiatrist and taking psychotropic medication. Another is medical cannibis. There are others, but my point is that there is no shame in needing help, for dealing with cancer anything else.
Each of us is different and had a different capacity to handle trauma and anxiety and difficulty. Each of us will respond differently and need different periods of time to deal with various issues, such as the diagnosis or progression or someone’s death or changes.
There is no wrong answer here, except to ignore the issue. To ignore the struggle, to stuff the emotions, to not deal with the fact that MBC is heavy and hard, that’s what breaks people eventually. So, ask for help, talk about your feelings, scream if you need to; just get it out. Find some trust confidants and learn to lean on your community. That community may be entirely online, that community could be on Twitter, that community could be people you’ll never meet in real life.
And that’s ok.
We all need support and sometimes we find it in the most unlikely of places.
And now you know more about Depression and dealing with MBC!