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Pushing away or clinging on?

Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
edited November 2018 in Health and wellbeing
looking back at your heaviest breast ca times, what would you say you did more: would you say you pushed your loved ones away or held on and got clingy ? 


  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    Obviously by clingy I mean in an emotional sense fully in the horrific context of the shit you go through with breast cancer. Not meaning to say women are ‘needy’ or anything like that. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,705
    Don't think you are bound to do either. As when "well", relations have differing phases and ups and downs. It's perfectly reasonable for someone who is feeling really unwell to either need a lot of support or just want to be alone, depending on circumstances. Hardest thing is possibly to be able to tell others what you need or want. And to realise that other people have their own ups and downs too, bc can make anyone a bit self focussed.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,956
    I think I did a bit of both.  There were definitely times when I absolutely needed the emotional support and would have fallen apart without it and there were times when I knew that I had erected a wall.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,973
    Both here too.
  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    Do you guys reckon it’s okay to need people when you’re sick? Is it okay to build walls? It’s all for survival ultimately isn’t it. I think it’s okay. 

    Just been wondering whether I’m a bad person for being pretty up and down (like, really up and down!) over the past couple of years. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,705
    I imagine that depends on your definition of a bad person. Serial killing, abusing children, destroying people's happiness and well being? Probably so. Being changeable, possibly for very good reasons, may not always be easy to live with but it does not make you a bad person! But bc can sometimes be a productive time to do a bit of an emotional stocktake - what's past its ' best by' date, what works for you, what really doesn't? What makes you happy? What do you keep doing even though it doesn't really make you happy? I found thinking through a lot of those things, with some professional guidance, was immensely useful. It's still a work in progress but as Socrates almost said, 'The unexamined life may be less worth living'. Best wishes
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,973
    Many people, in fact most people I'd hazard, like to be needed. It makes us feel loved and appreciated. I really struggled with asking for help at the beginning of my BC, but got better at it as I went along.

    The best way for me to approach it was to reverse the scenario. If it was one of my close friends who was ill and needing help, of course I'd want to help. In fact I'd be a bit hurt if they didn't ask me.

    I'm someone who likes to be on my own as much as I like company. So sometimes I just didn't want any help or company.

    These aspects are part of my character in general, not just in times of stress. I think most people with a skerrick of emotional intelligence understand the ebbs and flows of wanting company and the desire to be alone.

    So yes, I think it's OK to need people when you're sick, but also to withdraw. You've gotta do what you need to do to get through.
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 5,718
    I hate being smothered with 'good intentions' but I appreciated being 'supported'.  

    I told everyone that I wanted jokes, not tears & fears ..... and most behaved well!

    Being up & down is a part of most people's reaction to being told they have cancer of any sort & throughout the active treatment & even afterwards - but I really DO think that BC has an extra 'emotional content' that most of us hadn't factored into our recovery.  

    Everyone is different in the way they attack this mongrel of a disease ..... so everyone is 'right' I reckon  ;)    Whatever works for you - do it.

    All the best to those doing it tough just now  xxxx
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,269
    I don't think BC changes who we are, and I believe we handle it in the same way we have managed major hurdles in the past. Some send out a distress call and want to have all hands on deck, some run for the hills and keep secrets, there are  the instant experts who research, others put their heads under the blanket and chant. Many of us oscillate between one response and another

    I've always been insular, with the strange exception of this site. Bless the internet. My first reaction to stress is 'Get away from me while I figure this out.' That's pretty hard on those who care for you unless, of course, they are used to it and see that as a valuable trait. Honesty is best. Mxx
  • Rose18Rose18 Member Posts: 87
    I think you need to do what works for you. I became exhausted trying to protect other people and work out how to support them through my treatment. I was surrounded by a supportive family and friends, but sometimes I just needed time to myself.

    I hope there’s someone you can talk to and who can support you. The Cancer Council have counsellors who will listen to you (5 free counselling sessions - plus phone support from nurses) and you can be completely honest with them. All the best. 
  • Summer PrevailsSummer Prevails Member Posts: 79
    Thanks ladies for all your responses. It’s making me think. I guess I’ve been trying to work out if BC made me act like a needy person, or if I just am a needy person, or if I just have some really narcissistic friends who made me feel like I was too needy? 

    Does that make sense? 

    i know that in the 6 months right after finishing active treatment, I had to do some serious reclaiming of Me Time. Not Nursing Time, not Look After Lymphoedema Time, not Bloody Physio Time. Just actual time where I had to block people’s dramas out and cut loose and be in my own safe mental space and physical space. In order to feel alive again. I guess I went from being utterly dependent on loved ones, to being as independent as I could handle. I think that may have confused or hurt some people? 
    I guess the way certain friends have treated me since then has made me really doubt myself.

    Boy does my psych have her work cut out when I see her next ! 


  • JulieVT11JulieVT11 Chermside, BrisbaneMember Posts: 89
    I am only newly diagnosed - mastectomy next week and I have put up the proverbial wall of China around myself.  Don’t have any close girlfriends at the moment and siblings all interstate so it’s just hubby and kids who are being totally amazing but I just feel like I have to do this on my own.  I saw a breast care nurse this week when I had MRI done and I could have talked to her for hours but I just can’t open up to family and just want to be left in my bubble.
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,705
    It's often a lot easier to talk to a comparative stranger. Instinctively, you know you don't have to worry about their feelings too! So talk away when you can and when you feel like it. Your family just need to know how they can help, even if that's just giving you some space at the moment. One way or another, we all do it on our own but the love and support of others can make that road a lot more navigable. Best wishes. 
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,973
    I felt like that at the beginning @JulieSav. I didn't talk to many people at all, didn't tell people for a few weeks. Then I found this forum and it saved my sanity. And spared my friends and family from so many worried conversations! You do what you need to get through. Big hug, K xox
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