World Mental Health Day is observed annually on October 10 throughout the globe by the World Health Organization. The main aim of this day is to raise awareness and accumulate support from various sections of society to help those dealing with various psychological limitations.
This year, the theme for World Mental Health Day is 'Making Mental Health & Well-Being for All A Global Priority. This mainly brings forth an opportunity for people plagued with mental health conditions, advisers, employers, employees, governments, and other stakeholders to acknowledge the progress in the field of mental wellbeing jointly and to voice what one requires to do to guarantee the upliftment of mental health to make it a global priority for all.
This World Mental Health Day, let us acknowledge the extreme emotional impact of getting diagnosed with Breast Cancer and ways to survive and cope after a mastectomy.
October is commemorated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a common type of cancer most prevalent in women. Getting diagnosed with cancer can be an extremely devastating experience bringing in a host of emotions that might include shock, fear, anxiety, distress, confusion, sadness, and depression. It can not only impact the patient's emotional health but also cause extreme mental turmoil for the family members, relatives, close ones, and caregivers.
In particular, mastectomy (a surgical procedure to remove breast tissue or the entire breast to prevent or treat cancer) can be quite hard for many women. Our society correlates breasts with femininity and sexuality. Losing one or both breasts can alter how a woman picturizes herself—or how she assumes others will now perceive her. This can make dealing with emotions after mastectomy extremely arduous.
While it is quite natural to feel some degree of despair or frustration before, during, and after mastectomy recovery, some women experience constant negative emotions regarding their body image and self-esteem even when they discerned that mastectomy was their best chance of eradicating cancer. These persistent negative feelings gradually begin to interfere with their routine lives and mark the start of an episode of depression after mastectomy.
A recent scientific study revealed that women who underwent a mastectomy had a higher incidence of depression than the ones who did not have breast cancer. However, with the recent statistics on breast cancer survival rate, around 85 out of every 100 women will overcome their cancer for five years or more after complete treatment, whereas close to 75 out of every 100 will survive their cancer for ten years or more after diagnosis and treatment. Hence, with modern advancements, the survival rate of breast cancer is quite promising.
After a mastectomy, it can surely take a lump some time to adjust to a new body shape. While the swelling and bruising might go down and the scars gradually fade, the emotional ups and downs may stay a little longer. Get care and support from family members and near and dear ones in whichever way is best for you.
And to further boost your confidence, let this 2-minute read help you deal with the stress after mastectomy.
Tips To Cope The Anxiety After Breast Cancer SurgeryValidate Your Feelings
The initial months after surgery can be extremely unsettling. You might have intense feelings of grief, anger, fear, shock, and denial. You might also face issues with your self-confidence and body image. The reaction to breast cancer surgery differs for every individual. But most women require some time to adjust to the changes in their breasts. In such cases, talking to other breast cancer survivors with similar experiences can help them understand the common physical and emotional pain and overcome it.Learn To Love Your New Body
Indeed, your body never remains the same after breast surgery, and the changes to your breasts are hard to accept, but time and family support heal even the deepest of wounds. While your surgeon does everything he or she can to ensure that your scars are as inconspicuous as possible, seeking emotional support from your spouse, children, or other family members help heal the mental distress. How you love and accept your body allows others to get the change in you.
Looking At Your Reflection After Surgery
The first time you look at yourself in the mirror after a mastectomy is sure to be unnerving. Every woman reacts differently and finds different ways of dealing with the changes to their body. While some might prefer to see the results of mastectomy for the first time alone, others might want someone to be with them for mental support. Whatever the case, it is better if you take your time, let go of negative thoughts, wait for a day or two and then look at your reflection. That being said, having a caregiver or family support with you for the first look after surgery is still reassuring. Additionally, even the hospital staff helps you through the entire after-surgery recovery and does everything to help you.
Seek Comfort From People Close To You
Nothing beats the physical and emotional support offered by family, friends, and near and dear ones. You might feel uncomfortable and sad about upsetting or seeking acceptance from them. But it can help to overcome your emotional and physical trauma if you share your feelings with the people close to you. However, if you feel uneasy about opening up about your emotions in front of your family, medical counselling and clinical support can help you work through the distress.
Talk To Your Partner About Sexual Intimacy
Although mastectomy doesn't prevent an individual from being sexually active, your emotions might distort your sexual feelings for your partner. Not being able to accept the changes to your body might make you upset about allowing your partner to see or touch your body.
While one might feel very uncomfortable with any touch and need time to amass the courage to be looked at or touched by the partner, others might find instant comfort and solace with a loving touch or a close hug and help remove any fear of rejection from their minds.
Being a sensitive situation, there is no right or wrong way to approach this; only time and talking openly to your partner helps you through with the intimacy. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner and let him understand if you're having problems being intimate with him after the surgery and work through the situation together.