How to Take Care of Your Mental Health After Breast Cancer Surgery
Due to the advancement of medical technology and science, nowadays, the diagnosis of breast cancer (especially if caught early) is no longer a death sentence. However, this doesn’t make it any less difficult to handle the weight of such a diagnosis.
The diagnosis and the treatment come nicely packed with a cocktail of emotions, which usually lead to depression and anxiety.
And, while many patients feel better (physically and emotionally) once they complete the treatment, there are plenty of people who can’t seem to shake off the bad feelings.
If left unaddressed and untreated, these feelings can accompany you for years to come and may end up affecting your daily routine and interactions with the people you love.
Moreover, it’s easy to dismiss some of the signs and symptoms associated with anxiety and depression as being part of the modern way of living.
Therefore, if you’ve got diagnosed with breast cancer or if you went through the treatment and are now trying to put all the pieces together, make sure you pay attention to your mental health. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Talk to a Mental Health Professional
One of the most important steps you can take toward complete recovery is to talk with a mental health professional. The good news is that most insurance policies should cover at least a couple of sessions, so you won’t have to pay money out of your pocket (or at least pay part of the bill).
A mental health professional can provide guidance if you find yourself having a hard time processing and accepting the changes that come with a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Plus, they can help you to express difficult feelings, such as fear, anger, and/or grief, and find ways to reduce their impact on your life through various practices, such as practicing gratitude.
If you’ve just received the diagnosis and are facing a mountain of decisions you don’t want to make, a mental health professional can make the process of selecting treatment options and where to receive care a bit easier.
During the treatment period, a mental health professional can help you find strategies to manage the physical and emotional side effects of your treatment, such as fatigue, nausea, and mood swings.
Finally, they can help you to cope with the fear of recurrence and provide guidance on how to manage fertility concerns.
Consider Reconstruction Surgery
We understand our world through our senses, but we rely heavily on visual stimuli. This is why many breast cancer survivors who had to undergo a mastectomy may go through some form of body dysmorphia.
If this is the case, you may want to consider breast and nipple reconstruction surgery. This method restores the natural body shape by replacing lost breast tissue and restores symmetry between the breasts.
Besides helping restore the overall aesthetic appearance, breast reconstruction surgery is also used to provide additional protection against the recurrence of breast cancer. Plus, it helps improve self-image, confidence, and quality of life, which are elements of a healthy and happy mind.
Build Your Emotional Support Circle
We all need support from other people, regardless of the situation, so don’t be afraid to open up to your friends and family. If this is not something you can do, look for a support group in your city or online and share your journey.
When you share your emotions and experiences and learn about other people’s journeys, you gain awareness and knowledge. These are powerful weapons in dealing with your anxiety and dark thoughts.
Breast cancer is still a heavy diagnosis that comes with lots of baggage. However, if you stay on top of things and allow people in your life to support you through the treatment and recovery period, your journey may be a little smoother.