"Fear of the unknown" is a big one for most of us humans, whether it be your future, your health, the pandemic we are currently living or a cancer diagnosis; Fear has the capacity to disarm us and leave us with a feeling of being immobilized.
Good news, you CAN change your relationship with fear, so it no longer controls you.
Cancer can bring along with it the four-letter word-F-E-A-R; a very common reaction and response to a diagnosis. Fear of the unknown, fear of pain and suffering, fear of loss, and fear of death.
Most of us are hard-wired to not want to be exposed to fear. We are taught early-on in life that the feeling of fear by nature is bad; fear feels awful, and that we should avoid feeling fear at all costs. Yet the more you resist it, the more it will persist, and the worse you are likely to feel.
I invite you to ALLOW it, accept it and even embrace it.
Allowing your fear to surface, you may notice it as a heaviness in your core that radiates and spikes through your limbs into a blossoming, fullness in your cheeks. Fear does not feel good, but, by sitting with it you may come to realize that your fear, like all of our emotions, Is simply a feeling in your body, nothing more.
Learn to recognize your fear, acknowledge it (“Hi, fear, I see you”) and sit with it until it passes, as all emotions do, both wonderful and difficult ones. Sometimes It may last longer than others, like in the days approaching your first chemo session, but it will always pass.
There is a secret every cancer patient needs to know, especially, when you are diagnosed: Face your feelings, feel your feelings, and the feelings will pass.
The more you practice this process, the easier it will be to experience all the emotions that arise during your diagnosis, journey and treatment. Being with fear as any other emotion can allow you the strength, vulnerability and resilience to move forward in the way you most want to.
No one ever expects to be diagnosed with cancer or is prepared for their own response to such news. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, I encourage you to approach your emotional experience with compassion and curiosity. Allow and acknowledge all your emotions and move forward in your cancer journey empowered. You cannot control cancer, but you can control how you experience it.
Cancer Care Counsellor