The Mental Battles of Cancer Survivorship
Cancer survivorship can be a long and difficult journey, and it is not uncommon for survivors to experience mental battles as they navigate their new normal. One aspect of cancer survivorship that can be particularly challenging is the Competition With Self.
In this blog post, we will delve into the psychology of survivorship and discuss how being hard on oneself, engaging in negative self-talk, letting ego get in the way, feeling complacent, and struggling with depression and anxiety can all be barriers to a healthy and fulfilling life after cancer.
We will also explore how being forced out of our comfort zone can be an opportunity for growth and resilience.
- Being Hard on One Self
- Negative Self-Talk
- Letting Ego Get in the Way
- Depression and Anxiety
- Being Forced Out of the Comfort Zone
- One piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle of Life
Being Hard on One Self
It is natural for cancer survivors to want to be hard on themselves, especially if they feel like they could have done something differently to prevent their cancer diagnosis or if they feel like they are not doing enough to manage their cancer. However, self-criticism can be damaging to our mental health and can prevent us from living our lives to the fullest.
Instead of beating ourselves up, it is important to practice self-compassion. This means treating ourselves with the same kindness, care, and understanding that we would extend to a good friend. By being more understanding and forgiving of ourselves, we can reduce our stress and improve our overall well-being.
Negative self-talk is a common issue among cancer survivors. It is when we have negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that can be harmful to our mental health. These thoughts can range from “I’m not good enough” to “I’ll never be able to do this.”
It is important to recognize negative self-talk when it happens and to challenge these thoughts with evidence to the contrary. For example, if we have the thought “I’m not good enough,” we can remind ourselves of all the things we are good at and the positive feedback we have received from others. By challenging negative self-talk and reframing our thoughts, we can improve our mental health and build self-confidence.
Letting Ego Get in the Way
Ego can be a powerful force that can either help or hinder us in our journey as cancer survivors. On the one hand, having a healthy ego can give us the confidence and motivation we need to overcome challenges and achieve our goals.
On the other hand, letting our ego get in the way can lead to pride, arrogance, and entitlement. This results in damage to our relationships and well-being.
I truly believe it is important to find a balance between having a healthy ego and it getting in the way. This can be achieved by practicing humility and gratitude, and by recognizing that we are not always right and that we can learn from others.
After surviving cancer, it can be tempting to become complacent and to let our guard down. We may think that we have “beaten” cancer and that we no longer have to worry about it. However, cancer survivorship is a lifelong journey and it is important to remain vigilant about our health and well-being.
It is important to continue to follow the recommendations of our healthcare team, including getting regular check-ups and screenings and making lifestyle changes that will support our overall health and well-being. By staying engaged in our own care, we can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve our chances of long-term survival.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are common among cancer survivors. They can be triggered by a variety of factors, including the physical and emotional side effects of cancer treatment, the fear of cancer recurrence, and the stress of adjusting to life after cancer.
It is important to recognize the signs of depression and anxiety, which can include changes in sleep, appetite, energy levels, and mood, and to seek help if needed. Therapy, exercise, and lifestyle changes can all be helpful in managing these conditions. It is also important to connect with other survivors who can provide support and understanding.
There are many treatment options available for depression and anxiety, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to find the right treatment plan.
Being Forced Out of the Comfort Zone
Cancer survivorship can often involve being forced out of our comfort zone. Whether it is due to the physical and emotional challenges of cancer treatment, or the adjustments that come with life after cancer. While it can be scary and uncomfortable to step outside of our comfort zone, it can also be an opportunity for growth and resilience.
By embracing new experiences and challenges, we can develop new skills and perspectives and become more confident and capable. It is important to remember that we are stronger than we think. That we can handle more than we realize.
One piece in the Jigsaw Puzzle of Life
Cancer survivorship is a mental battle. But by recognizing and addressing the challenges of competition with oneself, such as self-criticism, negative self-talk, ego, complacency, depression, and anxiety, and by embracing the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone, we can build resilience and find fulfillment in our journey as cancer survivors.
At the end of the day, cancer survivorship is just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle of life. By recognizing and accepting our individual journeys and embracing the experiences that come with them, we can redefine our lives as cancer survivors and find joy in every step along the way. -T
What is the competition with oneself in cancer survivorship?
The competition with oneself in cancer survivorship refers to the mental battles that survivors may face as they navigate their new normal. These may include self-criticism, negative self-talk, letting ego get in the way, feeling complacent, and struggling with depression and anxiety.
Why is self-compassion important for cancer survivors?
Self-compassion is important for cancer survivors because it allows us to be kind and understanding to ourselves, rather than being hard on ourselves. This can help to reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.
How can I recognize and challenge negative self-talk?
Negative self-talk can be recognized by paying attention to the negative thoughts and beliefs that we have about ourselves. To challenge negative self-talk, it can be helpful to identify the evidence to the contrary and reframe our thoughts in a more positive light.
How can I find a balance between having a healthy ego and letting it get in the way?
To find a balance between having a healthy ego and letting it get in the way, it can be helpful to practice humility and gratitude. And to recognize that we are not always right and that we can learn from others.
What can I do to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve my chances of long-term survival?
To reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve your chances of long-term survival, it is important to continue to follow the recommendations of your healthcare team. This includes getting regular check-ups and screenings and making lifestyle changes that will support your overall health and well-being.
How can I recognize the signs of depression and anxiety in myself or a loved one?
Some signs of depression and anxiety may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy levels, and mood. If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to seek help from a healthcare professional.
How can stepping outside of my comfort zone be an opportunity for growth and resilience?
Stepping outside of our comfort zone can be scary and uncomfortable. But it can also be an opportunity for growth and resilience. By embracing new experiences and challenges, we can develop new skills and perspectives and become more confident and capable.