• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 266 (Radiation Treatment 22 of 30: Mental Health and Difficult Conversations)

    insanity

    Friday, April 3, 2015

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today:  0.00 miles;  Running Total: 228.00 miles)

    Day 266 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    Today’s workout was the 35 minute body weight workout from Tuesday. It was as hard as I remembered and I fully expect to be walking funny tomorrow.

    When I spoke with the social worker/ counselor the other day about my fear of treatment ending she encouraged me to focus on the things I can control.

    I might not be able to control what happens after treatment ends, but I can control how I handle it.

    Which necessitated a few uncomfortable conversations.

    After my radiation appointment I spoke with one of my nurses. I told her the blisters under my arm are getting more painful and how down I’ve been feeling lately. I told her I’d been taking antidepressants for a few months and that they had helped for a while, but now I was struggling.

    The nurse was completely unsurprised by this last part, which tells me she sees it all the time. Which in turn made me feel relief. It’s nice to know I’m not losing my mind.

    She confirmed that the antidepressants had been working for me. I told her yes, they had and for a long time. After I started taking them I had much more balanced emotions and I found joy in my life again. But now with treatment ending I was very anxious and sad and scared and I didn’t know how to handle it.

    The nurse checked with my doctor and the doctor agreed to increase the dosage of the antidepressant.

    It was much easier this time around to talk about how I’ve been feeling. I can’t find the post, but the first time I had a conversation about my mental health was much more difficult.

    The first time I talked to my doctors about depression was after the first round of chemotherapy ended. This was back when we thought there was a new cancer growing where there shouldn’t be one. I was terrified and I remember having a screaming, crying breakdown over third grade homework one night.

    And that is where I absolutely drew the line.

    I called the very next morning and told my doctor I wasn’t handling things well. I was crying all the time and I couldn’t handle even the smallest day to day frustrations.

    It isn’t easy to admit you can’t control your emotions, even to medical professionals.

    Now, with the pain of radiation setting in and my worry about what happens after treatment ends, it’s been difficult to find my way back to a positive attitude.

    So I saw my choices as this:

    1. Keep silent and continue feeling like shit.
    2. Put on my big girl panties and have a serious conversation with the medical professionals that are trained to help me.

    Clearly option #1 wasn’t working, so I went for option #2.

    Conversations about mental health aren’t fun, but for the sake of finding happiness in my day to day life they are necessary.

    Depression is not weakness and it is not something I’m just imagining. Depression is real and it is awful. I hope that by sharing my struggles I can help someone else who is searching for the courage to speak up.

    Today’s silver lining: Relief is on its way.

    Also, 22 treatments down. 8 to go.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.

    xoxo,
    Meghan

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5 Responsesso far.

  1. Pam says:

    As always, Meghan, I’m astonished by your bravery in not just living this horrible situation with such grace, but also in sharing so honestly. So glad you’ve had these convos with people who can help, and that by sharing them, you’re also helping others.

    Big big hugs,
    Pam

  2. marriannad says:

    Amen, sista, amen to the discussions and the fears and the anxiety. You are a Rock Star.

  3. […] An important post by Meghan about mental health and difficult conversations. […]

  4. cindy says:

    I love how you approach your tribulation with absolute reality. Sometimes it is graceful, sometimes it is a bit like trying to dance on a merry-go-round. But, hey….it’s a dance! Thank you for sharing. It makes my world bigger and better.

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