I don't know if this is the right place to put this, if not, can someone tell where to post this sort of questions please?
I am keeping relatively calm during the day, with the occasional tearful episode. But I keep waking up during the night really scared.
Is this just part of reacting to my recent diagnosis? Will it stop once I adapt to my new normal? Is it simply a stage I have to go through?
I read such courage and positively in the posts in this group. Any suggestions on how to deal with the night time fears is welcome.
Hi Lucy when I was first diagnosed I often woke up in a panickThat was frightening and it gradually subsided as I started to except my diagnosis. I sometimes still have it but not very often. Only to be expected xx
Hi Lucy. I've been very lucky since diagnosed, if I have night fears my girlfriend always notices I'm awake or crying and hugs and comforts me, aren't I spoiled?
But before you get the sick bucket out, and I will out myself for my other big health history, depression and anxiety and profound loneliness caused by life events and trauma. So I know all about night fears. I can sincerely say, waking up feeling lost without someone to find comfort with is one of my most difficult life experiences, especially when depressed and suicidal (which I am not currently, thank goodness) - most difficult including all my hardest cancer experiences. And I've had a few cancer nights alone in hospital, waking confused from liver dysfunction and thinking I was somewhere else, or just lying with the enormity of my cancer.
So I will share in no significant order the things that have helped me on and off:
Watching David Attenborough On iPlayer on my phone...sends me right off to sleep for some reason
Getting my dog, who against all my better judgement soon made it into my bed where he loved to cuddle all night
Persistence...if you can just hang on, this too will pass, or change, or you will feel differently about it.
Messaging and texting right there and then what you are feeling - being very graphic, to carefully chosen audiences or even to no one
A great big hankie
A hot water bottle
A teddy(yes, I am 50 and still love my teddy)
A lighted candle
Make a plan...what am I going to do next in my situation
Pain medication...if you are in pain physically you will feel it emotionally
Talking to my doctor
Antidepressants (some help with pain, some with sleep)
Escapism - telling myself I will live till 80 got me through a dark week when I could bear my prognosis no longer
Ringing a helpline
Reaching down into my inner grit
Praying (doesn't matter if you believe in anything or not, at least it doesn't for me)
Working out some conundrum...a knitting problem, planning some creative project
Stroking my own forehead
And ps. Though the doc rightly didn't want me to use it for long, when I was first diagnosed the panic was very intense and I have to say a few nights taking Lorazepam really helped...it just knocked me out and I slept. And I'm still written up for it for occasional sleeplessness.
As everyone else has said - waking up with fear is a reality for all of us. This situation is absolutely scary, tapping into our most primal instinct - survival.
As tvman has suggested, contacting the experts would definitely help.
I know that my psychologist, who I was so lucky to already have an amazing relationship with, suggested doing some Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). From my layperson's perspective, this sort of therapy has helped me to sit with the discomfort. Obviously, this sounds very weird at first, but I found that I was trying very hard to fight how I was feeling instead of letting it be.
Additionally, depending on the suitability and opinions of your health professionals, seeking out some medication to get you over this initial shockwave may help. Again, this is obviously a decision to be made between yourself and your health professionals, but I know that even just knowing that I had some backup there if I panicked made my life much easier, without even taking any medication!
I don't know about others, but I am courageous some of the time, and bloody scared some of the time! It oscillates, sometimes rapidly and sometimes slowly, but I never know what I'm going to get on a particular day. Distraction is another tool that can help - mindless TV, board games, I even went and did a painting lesson the other day! Anything that takes my mind of things is a blessing.
I'm sending you all of my love, prayers and positive energy.