For all this talk about physical health, I feel like I’ve been neglecting my mental health.
For a while, despite some lows, I have maintained the idea that my mental health was in decent shape. Even with the devastating news that my cancer had relapsed for a second time, I had my parents, my sister and Tazzie, and Hsuan. They, along with others who reached out upon hearing the news, all were there to show support in various ways. (Seriously, my sister and Taz and Hsuan could not have come at a better time.)
Out of the blue, a college acquaintance whom I had met only once even introduced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to me as a very interesting option to consider. My DC friends came to visit and continue to check in on me. A stem cell recipient I had met at Hopkins messages me every once in a while with book and diet suggestions. University of Maryland has an Ulman Foundation rep (“patient navigator”) whose job is to provide resources and support for young adults with cancer.
So for the first time in a year since this all started, I feel like I have more support than ever before and am grateful.
And yet, there are still lows, and it’s when I get myself thinking terrible thoughts, and even when recognizing such negativity instills the most ridiculous fear of cancer spreading due to such emotions, that makes me wonder when I am going to seek professional help.
In that way, CBT sounds ideal, as the goal is to change one’s thinking about certain situations. These past few weeks, since I learned about CBT, whenever I would feel negativity brewing, I would wonder if CBT could help. I have done some preliminary research on it and potential therapists and naturopathic doctors near me, but the idea of spending hundreds of dollars per session, on top of the medical bills, is not as attractive.
I recognize mental health is incredibly important, so I will continue to look for options, but it does seem crazy that cancer patients should have to shell out any more money for help mentally.
The lesson here is that a support system is vital. Sometimes, we just want to complain and feel heard about the shit we’re going through. Other times, we just want food videos or other distractions. Most of the time, we are just seeking ways to feel better, plain and simple.
My distractions today were catching up on weeks of neglected newsletters and articles, as well as reading some of David Greene’s Midnight in Siberia, a book that my DC friends gave me. So far, knowing (or caring) very little about Russia, much of what he describes reminds me of China.