Feelings -  Breast Cancer Journaling TherapyThere are four words in the vocabulary of emotion, affect, feelings, emotion, and mood. FEELINGS are an awareness of what is happening inside of us and I imagine that those two words, “breast cancer” have brought up many FEELINGS. Maybe you have experienced FEELINGS that you have never felt deeply before such as fear, terror, and anger. Then there are those FEELINGS of sadness, confusion and helplessness. All of these FEELINGS are normal when you have had to face breast cancer and the multi-dimensional issues that come with it. You have had to learn a whole new language that was once foreign to you. You have had to learn about types of breast cancer, stages of breast cancer, and the many treatment options. You have had to show your body to doctors, nurses, and other medical strangers. You have had to make tough and sad decisions about your breast and/or re-construction options. You are fighting for your life and fighting not to be just a statistic. Your very identity has been shattered and threatened. Don’t you think you are entitled to some anger about that? Are there enough tears inside your body to tell your story? Your life, as you know it, has changed permanently. You FEEL many FEELINGS about that and all are important.

FEELINGS are information for us to pay attention to. It is important to notice, identify, and name the FEELINGS you have about your breast cancer diagnosis. Those FEELINGS may change on a dime with no warning. One minute you think you are fine and then one of those breast cancer commercials pop-up on the TV and you burst into tears. Then, someone tries to comfort you and you tell them to leave you alone. They leave you alone and then you accuse them of not caring. They say you are impossible and a fight breaks out between you and the person who was just trying to help. Wow. Sound familiar? FEELINGS are just like that scenario. You may not believe me, but it is easier to fight with someone over disagreements than it is to FEEL the terror that comes with breast cancer. So, in one way, FEELINGS are a distraction to what is really going on.

Thus, here is a short diagram of what to do with all of these complex FEELINGS that are coming out of nowhere.

  1. Notice the FEELING.
  2. Describe and name the FEELING.
  3. Breathe into the FEELING using your breath as your friend.

Really that is all you need to do to honor the feeling and let it go. You may choose to journal your FEELING or use crayons to color your FEELING. But right now, Notice, Describe, and Breathe is all you need.

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

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