Sunday, 24 October 2010

Mental health wobble: Notes and swear words from hibernation

I'm fed up of accentuating the positive and I have spent the last week mostly in bed, feeling duly miserable. My doctor diagnosed me with nervous exhaustion last week. In retrospect I should have known the warning signs. I went to the Mermaid to the breast cancer support group and had an anxiety attack. We were cutting up photographs and making a display of all the good stuff women have been doing together through Made for Life. The effect of seeing all the photos, and thinking about all the women in the room and their breast cancer, made me feel depressed, sad and lonely, all at once. Minutes before, I'd felt happy to be part of the group. Now I felt cut up. And then I noticed that someone had printed out a photo of me at one of the Made for Life events, but the photo had misprinted with another one over the top of it. It illustrated exactly how I felt: Mixed up and confused.
Then I had a day when things came to a standstill and I couldn't do my job. I couldn't communicate properly at all. It was a bit of a shock. I have been believing that I haven't really "suffered" anything; my cancer was caught early, it was in situ and therefore trapped in the milk ducts, there was no invasion. So I've got on with my life. I've got a full-time job, I've been looking after my children, and I've been writing my happy happy joy joy blog; I've been helping the Mermaid centre raise breast cancer awareness, recruited people for a cancer research trial, and done orange surgery workshops with NHS staff as well as patients. Now I'm bloody knackered. And I think, most upsettingly for me, I haven't come to terms with losing my breast at all. Nope! Shit. I realise it is a continual battle. Just like it was when my daughter died: you may never come to terms with this stuff. Now I remember, you don't have to come to terms with it. But you do have to learn to live with it, at least, to be able to continue to function. I thought I had learned; but I'm still only part-way there. Damn and double damn.

And now I suppose I had better get up.

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