Therapy?

Hi was wondering what people's experiences of getting some kind of therapy or counseling and how they went about getting it? 

I've had a tough few years, marriage break down, becoming a single parent, being left in debt,  making huge changes and sacrifices to my career, (working incredibly long hours in a low paid job to fit round my children), feeling exhausted all the time, then  cancer diagnosis (October) and treatment. On top of this my relationship with my children (now young teenagers) can be challenging and my relationship with my mum has become increasingly strained over the last few years. During cancer treatment even a text from my mum has made me feel tense/tight-chested and anxious. My own upbringing and my relationship with my mum makes me constantly question myself as a person and my own parenting skills. 

I think during my time off and because I have felt too ill at times to be able to do anything it has given me a lot of time to think and process. I have started to reflect on things that happened years ago (with my mum) that I thought I had forgotten and forgiven and now I find I actually feel quite cross about (like it's all suddenly added up to create a feeling of resentment)  I feel like therapy might help me acknowledge this stuff and then deal with it and move on.

I want to move forward and get my career back but several failed applications and my own lack of confidence is just making me question my whole career and fill me with self doubt. I'm restricted because of my children as to how far I can commute and maybe that recovering from cancer treatment I may need to look for part-time roles. But again I'm not sure if a lot of the time it's my own self doubt creeping in and I'm just making excuses for myself! I feel I should probably wait a few years til my children are older but at the same time feel I am running out of time - that I'm wasting time or that I'll need to retrain and I feel frustrated.

I'm questioning everything and not really coming up with any answers. 

I've had a mastectomy and adjunctive chemotherapy during which time they diagnosed further cancer in the other breast and the need for a second mastectomy. It's likely that this will clear all cancer, I will then be put on hormone tablets. For the most part I feel really positive and happy and incredibly lucky. I'm starting to feel healthy and have more energy for getting things done round the house, being active and so on but id really like to address the confidence and family/ relationship issues I seem to have! 

Any advice on therapists or counseling or experiences you've had would be fantastic, thank you. 

  • Hi Freida,

    It was tough to read your post, and I can relate in the way in which everything broke down and then came cancer as a result.

    I relapsed last year in 2019 and decided that it would be best if I had a therapist in order to process these emotions. I am now with my therapist and have found it very helpful especially when I am enlightened with a different perspective - one that naturally does not come to mind as we have this negative set thinking which I am trying to come out of. 

    I really look forward to therapy as I feel unjudged and can speak about anything without hurting others or worrying anyone. Also I feel like people around me must be bored of the cancer talk!

    In addition to this, it has also enabled me to reflect a lot more. I am starting to meditate, affirm and build confidence in a new way using Louise Hay. I believe in affirmations which really do help make me feel like I am good enough. I have a workbook from her and I have been carrying out a 21 day challenge with friends to ensure they are reflecting and thinking positively about themselves. Type Louise Hay into youtube and give it a try! I believe we all are worthy of miracles and good things, so I am really making an effort to welcome this in my life. 

    We all are capable, and you are a lot more worthy than you know and capable of good things. I am free to help further if you wish but please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Sending you love and light always.

  • Hi, I did find sharing with others who have been on the cancer journey helped just as much as talking with a counsellor although their input was helpful.

    The Mac Online Community is a safe place to talk and support as you are talking with people who have walked the walk so can talk the talk.

    In normal circumstances I would normally highlight checking out if you have any Local Macmillan Support in your area or a Maggie’s Centre as these folks are amazing. I know that Maggie's are running a lot of their support groups on Zoom and even using Zoom my monthly Heamatology Support group is still as good.

    Raveen  I see from your profile that you are about to embark on the Stem Cell Transplant Rollercoaster and see you have joined our very supportive Stem Cell Transplant group.

    I have been through two Allo SCTs with cells from my brother, first one was June 2014 and second October 2015 so totally understand the journey you are about to start.

    Do come over and introduce yourself to the group by setting up your own 'discussion' by following the link above.

    ((hugs)) all round.

  • Hello Freida,

    Wow what a rough few years, however your not alone.  I suffered a horrific divorce although no children involved.  My dad then got diagnosed with Lung cancer and passed a year later.  My brother has just been diagnosed with primary lung and secondary liver and also kidney cancer and is undergoing treatment.  He is a single father and I will now be assuming the role of their mother as they do not have their mother in their life.  Life can be very tough and cruel sometimes I hear that.

    I had counselling through talking therapies my doctor referred me.  I had 6 sessions with an option for a further 6 which I took later down the line.  which I found helped me?  Talking to someone who understand the mind and the thought process and how to change thoughts.  You may want to look up positive mind exercises and also I've just read a book called first man in & fear bubble both by ant Middleton.  Which were super inspiring.  You can buy both on ebay for a couple of pounds.

    Good Luck Frieda I hope this email gives you some positive ideas moving forward.

  • What a dreadful time you have had, Freida.  Not sure I can match that but I had a nice run up to my diagnosis of bowel cancer, stress at work due to two failed Ofsteds at the college I teach in, loss of hours due to budget cuts and so stress financially, family stuff on the financial and medical fronts.  I put my tiredness down to all of this and, when I went to my GP, it was decided I had a virus infection so we waited some more.

    Then came the blood test that showed up how desperately anaemic I was and there was a blood transfusion, a CT scan and within days emergency surgery for a tumour on the point of rupturing the bowel.  Not sure about being told by my lovely (and he was lovely as was his team) surgeon, 'I can't guarantee you'll wake up' but I did.  I have an ileostomy now and permanently but I didn't enjoy the adjuvent chemo as I had a massive allergic reaction to it and it had to be stopped though it took a year for the side-effects to wear off.

    Lesson.  If you survive cancer treatment, you are as tough as they come and you can do whatever you need to do next.  But someone to listen and walk through it all with is pretty essential.  Family are great and they do so much but they can't make that journey.  They make us want to soften what we have to get out and that is no good.  My colo-rectal team were holistically focused all the way through - told you they were lovely like their consultant.  We looked at exercise, counselling, mindfulness training and even relaxation treatments and beauty programmes.

    I spent several months talking to a Macmillan counsellor at my local hospital.  It helped just to walk round what had happened to me.   Moving on wasn't on the agenda so much as getting to grips with where I had been.  And it was a real help.  Check with Macmillan what is available in your area.  I keep a journal anyway and that was a great help too just sorting through the everyday emotions, including that sense of being cut adrift when the treatment stops.  But the thing I would recommend is the mindfulness training.  I had been doing meditation for years and I don't know how I would have coped without that mind training.  It has kept me centred whatever has hit me.  Macmillan offer courses and I would say get on the lists and go.  You won't regret it and it changes every part of your life, like cancer only for the positive.

    Keep going and getting better and better, Freida, and good luck