As a Voice of the charity MIND, and someone who has suffered from clinical depression in the past – mental health issues are something I am very passionate about. Recent events in my personal life have made me realise what a poor relation mental health is in comparison to physical health here in the UK. Here as a loved one battles a physical disease – the toll on our mental health is immense….
Our journey begins with a devastating diagnosis…
The last few weeks have been sheer hell. Ever since the doctor uttered the words “You have renal cancer” to my partner – our world has been turned upside-down, inside-out and…well you get the picture!
That old cliché “You never know what’s round the corner” has never felt more true.
I know, I know….all the old clichés are coming out – but sometimes it’s the clichés that are the only things that make sense. It’s the clichés that can describe the situation because being articulate in times like this can be so difficult; it’s the clichés that make sense of the senseless.
You are just ambling on in life, making the most of what you have and what you are given – and then suddenly swoosh and thud – yes swoosh and thud – not bang…the rug is pulled out from under you (swoosh) and you land flatly and squarely (thud) on your arse!
So, as you scramble back to standing and try to make sense of the shit that has been thrown at you – you realise that this is life. This is what is happening to thousands of people around the world. Shit happens and it is happening to you!
But why? Why our lives? Why me? Why my partner? Why cancer? Why now? Why ever? Why? Why? Why?
The first day after we were given this news – we literally just sat there – numb – not sure what to say, who to tell, how to react, what to say to each other. Literally numb – numb body, numb arse (having swooshed and thudded!) and numb mind.
Then you get into practical mode – call the health insurance company, book consultant appointments, tell friends and family, write a will, tell work that we will need time off, make bank accounts joint ones – practical mode.
Before you know it, he is in hospital, the cancerous kidney with the 6 centimetre tumour is removed – and he is back home recuperating. He is pumped full of drugs – and physically the surgeons are happy with the procedure, his scars are healing and his body is beginning to look like it did pre-op.
Next stop another consultant to see what to do with the tumours still hanging around in the lungs – and goodness know what else we might find. But at least physically he is getting help. Something is being done. We will fight this – of this I am sure. Nutrition, drugs, chemo – whatever we need to throw at this we will.
What about the mind?
His mind and mine.
Will we ever be the same again?
And what about the trauma that our minds have gone through? Are going through at this moment?
How do we heal our minds?????