Kermilya’s Journey – Finding Peace of Mind

When faced with a life changing and/or potentially life threatening diagnosis it is inevitable that one may experience sadness, anger, fear, denial, anxiety, worry, hopelessness, and helplessness. The combination of these emotions can quickly send one into depression. Each individual experiences these emotions differently, and subsequently handles it differently. Some of us bottle up our emotions and some immediately want to release. Some pray and use spirituality to cope. Some discover the power of prayer in their darkest hour. Having PCOS, there are many highs and lows due to the unpredictable symptoms. Some days I feel OK and other days I’m in pain and feeling out of sorts. Before I got my PCOS under control,  I found that I needed to release my emotions…holding it in was making me sicker both mentally and physically. Although I firmly believe in the power of  prayer, I felt it was important to seek some extra help… some outside counsel to cope. Seeking this help was not only for me, but for my family and friends too.

I went through a period of depression and denial during my journey. I was feeling so many different emotions. I was afraid I was going to develop other chronic illnesses due to PCOS. I was afraid I wasn’t going to ever have my own biological children. I felt alone because no one else understood my condition. I felt misunderstood  because from the outside I looked fine, but I was really terribly sick. I really felt like my body was betraying me. What was worse my doctor, as sweet as she is, only offered me a pill to manage my symptoms  but there was no guidance on how to achieve a better quality of life after my diagnosis. I was so overwhelmed by it all. My amazing husband, my mom, and a few close friends were the only ones that knew about my condition at this time. I would often vent to them to unload this weight  I was carrying. They would offer words of encouragement and offer their prayers. Although they meant well, I still felt emotionally crippled and I’m sure they felt overwhelmed by it all too. After awhile I decided I needed an outside source of counsel to help me cope and work out these emotions.

Going to therapy was one of the best decisions I had made for myself and for my relationships. I was blessed to have a counselor with the same faith base as me, so it was a perfect match. After seeing her  I was able to cope with my emotions more effectively. I began having more good days than bad. Moreover, I wasn’t dumping my “stuff” onto my friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I know my family and friends love me and wanted to be there for me. However, it can also be a lot for family and friends to cope, especially if they know they can’t really help or fix the issue. I remember my husband telling me (during my bouts with depression) that it hurt him because he knew he couldn’t help me…he couldn’t fix it. When you think about it, it’s not really fair to our loved ones. Venting some is ok and healthy, but if most conversations seem to lead back to your condition it can become overwhelming. We’re all going through something…but  constantly pouring all of your feelings  onto your family and friends my leave them feeling helpless and emotionally drained.

I’ve always been an advocate of counseling/therapy. I know there is a lot of stigma connected to going to a therapist. Some see it as a sign of weakness, some believes it shows a lack of faith, some are afraid they’ll be perceived as “crazy”, and some feel it’s taboo to share their problems with an outside source. Those thoughts are absolutely FALSE. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to release any emotions that may be holding you back from living optimally after a diagnosis. Going to a therapist allows you to work out your feelings  in a healthy way, in a safe and confidential environment.

When seeking counseling there are l different options. My job has an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) option. I had six free counseling sessions per year. Once I used all of my sessions, I used my insurance and paid the co-pay. In addition to EAP, you can talk to your spiritual leader, a faith based counselor, a family counselor, or go to group therapy. Joining support groups with individuals that have the same condition is also helpful. Some also find that listening to music, exercising, journaling, crafting, or enjoying a new hobby also helps.

We’re a whole body and it is so important to care for ourselves head to toe when faced with a diagnosis. If you’re feeling a sense of being overwhelmed, feeling isolated and alone please speak up and talk to someone. For optimal recovery and life after a diagnosis it’s imperative that you are caring for yourself in totality – mind, body, and soul.

Christina’s Journey: Phase 5

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go just remember how far you have come.  Remember everything you have faced, are the battles you have won, and all the FEARS you have overcome.” — Unknown

FEAR is one the biggest inhibitors in our lives.  Fear keeps you from achieving true success and being happy, which everyone deserves.  During this phase of my treatment I have to wait a month before I get admitted into the hospital for my Autologous Stem Cell Transplant.  I was able to celebrate my 30th birthday in February of 2015  with my family and friends, because I was very worried that I would have been in a hospital room doing the celebrating.  The thoughts of fear began in the month of February and worsened until I got admitted into the hospital on March 3rd, since everything that I had anxiety about was becoming reality

The first fear is insuring that my family and friends have all of the strength in the world that they show me, but a lot of the times they would not allow themselves to have those emotional breakdowns and be vulnerable in front of me.  I know I would do the same as well, because I wanted to be strong for my family and friends but I have learned you just need to cry, cuss, and scream to get through this sane.  Having those emotional breakdowns is a cleanser for the body and soul, which is healing to the body.  Being a caregiver is an awkward “role” to have because they are not going through the same things that you are.  The ability to relate at times becomes difficult and it just feeds into the fear, because it makes you doubt yourself, your condition, and makes you feel always misunderstood to where you no longer want to discuss your situation with anyone.

My second fear is relapsing for the 3rd time and dying.  As a woman who is strong in my faith “fear of dying” should be omitted from the topic at hand, but I am human.  All you can do is pray and continue to pray for the strength to achieve greatness through this whirlwind.  I did not want to have gone through all the different procedures and processes (some were very painful) for all of the work to seem like it was in vain.  The whole month of February was like running a marathon, because I wanted to make sure that my household was taken care of at all cost.

My last fear is letting go and letting God do His work without interference.  I have been in “control” of my personal and professional growth as being the “conductor” of the orchestra.  I have to truly trust the process and be obedient to it.  The concept of my theme derived from the thoughts mentioned above:  God’s Promises- Hebrews 6.  Knowing, believing, and living in Hebrews 6 concept helped me overcome my fears and I learned to process every moment carefully to keep me grounded and allow a place of healing.

Having a Chronic Illness, so much runs through your mind such as: am I a burden on others and am I doing every little thing for my family and friends that I can possibly do.  Fear can be subconscious and conscious thoughts.  I would and still am writing my thoughts to free myself and not allow the FEAR to overpower everything I have worked hard to achieve in healing and besides “God did not give us the spirit of fear but the spirit of power.”  God is our “conductor” of the orchestra.  He gives us the music sheets, the instruments, and the notes; what are you going to play or will your fear hinder yourself and others from hearing your beautiful music?  It is always your choice.  What will you chose fear/control or success/healing in and out?  I chose success/healing and it can be the most challenging course but the most rewarding at the end.  I am a true testimony of this phase, JUST ASK ME!

FEAR
FEAR

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 

2 Timothy 1:7

“Stay patient and trust your journey.” — Unknown