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Keep Talking

KeithRight, that’s it.

I’m past the cancer diagnosis. I’ve done the chemo-thing. Discovered it takes longer for the chemo to exit the body than told. (Man, that was a strange reaction to the spa.) I’ve recovered from the physical exhaustion. I’m back at work, over the initial set of stunted conversations and embarrassed smiles. It’s ‘back to life, back to reality,’ as Soul II Soul once sang. All is well with the world.

Except, it isn’t.

I was diagnosed with testicular cancer ten years ago. It was successfully treated and I have been out of remission for 5 years, 1 month, and 14 days. Initially, I did think ‘all is well with the world.’ I got back to work, kept myself busy, and all was good.

But then I was made redundant 18 months later. Whilst we were OK financially, I found I had time to stop. I realised exactly what I had been through both physically and psychologically. That was when depression kicked in.

It was then that I realised I hadn’t talked enough about how I felt: my worries, my concerns – the ‘what ifs..’.  I could say at this point that it’s because I’m a bloke. Men are inherently rubbish about being in touch with their feelings. But that’s not the whole truth. 

I was scared, really, really scared. I didn’t know how to express that fear, even to my wife.  I was only able to start talking about my fears after speaking with a psychologist.  I only had one session but that was all I needed to realise the enormity of the Black Dog within.

And now?  Yep, I still break down when not feeling well. The Black Dog is still there and my wife will still tell you that I struggle to show my fear.  BUT the important thing is I keep talking. 

Whether it’s a professional counsellor, psychologist, life coach, family member, work colleague, Dave down the pub – it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you speak with a great listener who you have trust in. Someone that has that uncanny ability to reflect back to you what you say to them. Someone that helps you put your inner-most thoughts and feelings in order and perspective.

Pink Floyd had it spot on with their song, Keep Talkingkeep talking 

For millions of years mankind lived just like the animals
Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination
We learned to talk

There's a silence surrounding me
I can't seem to think straight
I'll sit in the corner
No one can bother me

I think I should speak now
Why won't you talk to me
I can't seem to speak now
You never talk to me

My words won't come out right
What are you thinking
I feel like I'm drowning
What are you feeling

I'm feeling weak now
You never talk to me
But I can't show my weakness

What are you thinking
I sometimes wonder
What are you feeling

Where do we go from here

It doesn't have to be like this
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking

Why won't you talk to me
I feel like I'm drowning
You never talk to me
You know I can't breathe now

What are you thinking
We're going nowhere
What are you feeling
We're going nowhere

Why won't you talk to me
You never talk to me
What are you thinking
Where do we go from here

It doesn't have to be like this
All we need to do is make sure we keep talking

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Discussion

Monica Walker (not verified)

Yes 4 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had mastectomy, chemo, radiotherapy, lost my younger brother to cancer while receiving chemo, even though I just wanted normality do not think family know how awful it all was for me, anyway all well with me but still have fear every so often of it returning.

Christine (not verified)

Definatley talking helps , for me friends and a councillor. I fear recurrence more than anything , after breast cancer and masectomy, a huge emotional rollercoaster, but im here right now and living my life .