I was chatting with my brother the other day about depression, anxiety, and the side effects of medications. He’d spent the better part of a few years on some anxiety drugs that hadn’t treated him well and was switching to something I had used with some success. I mentioned the drug I’d been prescribed when I was diagnosed, saying that a cancer diagnosis will mess your brain UP, and he interrupted to say, “I still don’t know how you did it.”
“How I did what?” I responded.
“How you got through cancer,” he said.
I stopped, not sure what to say. Then I laughed and said, “Well, I was heavily medicated, but I was also heavily MEDITATED.”
Yep, I was on a cocktail of Lexapro at night and Wellbutrin in the morning, but that only served to get me through the 3 years after diagnosis. What about after that?
After that, I found Byron Katie, Martha Beck, life coaching, meditation, mindfulness, and a figurative tool bag full of tricks to help me manage my thoughts and feelings about my experience – which were causing me to suffer YEARS after it was ‘over.’
Once I learned how to breathe, get still, let my mind chatter without attachment, challenge those thoughts so they don’t control me, and deliberately decide to feel better – only then was I able to “get through cancer” and move forward into my new ‘normal.’ Before that I was floundering, stuck, trying to figure out what to do with my life, and feeling useless and depressed.
Does that sound all too familiar?
What do you want your life to look like after cancer?
What are you doing to take your life back and move forward?
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