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Restarting Your Life
After my cancer treatment, I felt totally uncertain about where I was going with my life. I’d experienced a trauma so extreme that my body and soul felt jettisoned into the galaxy, broken into a trillion, billion small pieces.
How do I Restart my life?
I asked this question of my hospital team who made an appointment with their Department of Clinical Psychology. With a therapist, I found that working through ‘FEAR’ gave me small steps to understanding how the trauma of cancer led to longer lasting anxiety and stress.
‘FEAR’ is an acronym for:
- F- FEELINGS
- E - EMOTIONS
- A - ANXIETY
- R – RECOVERY
I explored what each of these meant for me. What feelings, emotions, and anxieties was I experiencing? And what did recovery look like?
This is what I came up with:
- F - FEELINGS - Apprehension, distance, low self-esteem.
- E - EMOTIONS - Susceptible, agitation, tender, sensitive.
- A - ANXIETY - Anxious, aggressive, disturbed, overwrought.
- R - RECOVERY - Recapture, repair, regain one’s health & strength.
I took small steps to understanding my feelings and letting them sit with me, experiencing how my body felt and what reactions I felt. I considered the thoughts that were leading me to behave in the way that seemed to come naturally to me.
One of the best times to reflect on this was while on walks, experiencing the fresh air and saying a brief hello to the people I passed. But I also allowed myself time just to sit doing nothing sometimes and not worry about what jobs didn’t get done.
On Bad Days
On the days I felt great fear and anxiety, I would allow myself to go back to bed, feeling refreshed when I had had a sleep. Meditation too was a great comfort to me. I found ‘The Honest Guys’ on Youtube was what I needed and extremely helpful. Their meditations are under different headings, such as ‘Healing Light Energy’, which is a full body scan and ‘Blissful Deep Relaxation’. They offer free guided meditations of 10, 20 or 30 minutes. The type of meditation that works for you depends on how you find relaxation, peace and happiness.
Simple things like walking around my garden also allow the time for anxiety to pass. Or talking to loved ones and friends all helps letting go of the fear & anxiety. All these things allow myself to experience peace and finally move forward and make plans for the future.
I’m still taking each day as it comes and developing my understanding of the trauma, gradually bringing back those pieces of me that were exploded into the galaxy, but I feel I am now making myself the person I want to be. My life has restarted.
Good luck and trust yourself, you are the most important person in your life.
Elaine is a self employed dance teacher and a four times world Argentine tango champion. She now lectures and provides demonstrations worldwide. Beyond her passion for dance, she’s interested in gardening, reading, travel and life coaching.
Elaine was diagnosed with stage 3 invasive breast cancer and was treated by Derby Royal Hospital. Along with the usual cancer treatments, they provided her after care, including reflexology, reiki, and psychology.
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