Navigating your breast cancer diagnosis can be challenging on more than just the physical front. It’s just as difficult on your mind and emotions as it is on your body.
It’s easy to focus on the physical aspect of your breast cancer journey since most of your treatments affect your physical self so significantly. But it’s just as important to care for your mental health as you navigate your diagnosis.
Did you know your mental health may directly impact your mortality rate? Mortality rates are up to 39% higher in those with depressive symptoms or who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
We encourage you to explore the ways that breast cancer impacts your mental well-being in 2024 and take steps to address this essential component of self-care.
Breast Cancer Can Affect Your Mental Health At Any Stage
- Whether you catch it in Stage I and receive an excellent prognosis,
- Whether you undergo multiple surgeries, including mastectomies,
- Whether it’s metastatic and you’re told you can live with it successfully for a long time, but it will never be cured, or
- Whether you are the loved one walking alongside someone in their breast cancer journey
Your Mental Health Is Part of the Fight Against Cancer
A cancer diagnosis puts your mortality at the forefront of your mind, and this focus can make being present in the life you do have very difficult. Additionally, treatments can cause changes to your appearance, and your relationships can change as you become focused on fighting your cancer. All of these shifts in your life can impact your mental health.
If you do not or cannot talk about your challenges, it’s hard to move beyond them. It’s okay to talk about what you’re afraid of, dislike, or don’t understand. It’s okay to be vulnerable and honest. That’s where healing takes place.
You Still Need Self-Care After Cancer
Your doctor has declared you cancer-free, yet you’re surprised to still deal with so many mental and emotional ramifications. The fact is, you’ve gone through something extremely traumatic. A study in Munich suggests most women experience some form of PTSD after being treated for breast cancer, and those symptoms can be hard to overcome. The fear of recurrence along with the PTSD of what you have gone through mentally and physically could be overwhelming and even crippling to daily life if not addressed. You may even feel guilty.
- “Why am I so unhappy? I should just be grateful to be alive.”
- “Why did I survive and another person didn’t?”
- “What if the cancer comes back?”
All of these emotions are valid and real. Having a healthy outlet and a safe place to process them is important.
Your Loved Ones May Struggle Too
The mental health of a caregiver during cancer can be strained throughout the process as well. If you are the loved one, particularly the spouse, of someone diagnosed with breast cancer, it changes you, too. It is hard to watch the person you love go through something so impossible.
You may feel helpless; you’re doing everything in your power to help them. Then you feel guilty for feeling tired or sad or just emotionally and mentally spent. You are at the end of yourself, yet you feel guilty for being sad because you’re not the one in treatment.
Reach Out for Help
You are not alone, regardless of where you are in the cancer journey. And you don’t have to be. There are things you can do to heal mentally and emotionally as you navigate your physical treatments:
- Reach out to a mental health professional.
- Talk to your friends and family members.
- Find a breast cancer support group.
- Find a caregiver support group.
- Stay active.
- Remain involved in the things you love.
- Be honest with your physician.
- Contact the team at Pretty in Pink Boutique.
With the advent of technology, you can even find online support groups and phone or video therapy options, such as Talkspace. Don’t let time or convenience keep you from seeking virtual help.
Remember, there are no bonus points or medals for doing it alone. You may not be able to control the cancer directly, but there is a lot you can do to help your mental health. Fight for your physical and mental wellness. Let’s talk about it.
Pretty in Pink Boutique is Here to Help
We are driven to support all those impacted by breast cancer, including the families of the individuals with the diagnosis. Whether you need physical help to feel better with supportive garments or simply a sympathetic ear, we are here to support you in every step of your journey.
Call 615-777-7465 today to book an appointment or reach out for more information.