beckitalove asked: I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009. After I finished chemo, I had a lot of problems with anxiety, though therapy has helped a lot and taught me how to cope with my new normal and "scanxiety" around MRI time. Unfortunately, some changes in my health made me have to leave work. Now I'm dealing with a new problem: anger. I've never been angry about having a brain tumor before, but this is the first time it has taken something away from me, and I don't know how to deal with it. Any advice?
Anger is a completely natural response to your situation and, as I understand it, quite common to cancer survivors and their families. After all, we want to feel in control of our bodies, and when it rebels and fucks things up (like making giving up work necessity), of course you’d be pissed about that.
You’ve mentioned that therapy helped you with associated anxiety: are you in therapy at the moment? Do you feel like your anger is something that you can raise in that context? I think it your therapist has been successful in helping you to beat anxiety and you feel comfortable with them, they may well be able to help you work your way through your feelings of anger.
What you must try to remember is that being pissed about this is perfectly ok, but what therapy might help you to do is work through this feeling so that you feel better mentally and emotionally.
I seem to recommend her a lot, but you might appreciate the perspective of Barbara Ehrenreich. She was diagnosed with breast cancer about a decade ago and was rightfully angry about it. She took exception to the pop-culture expectation that people battling cancer should be positive, martyr-esque figures and points out that there can be expectations and pressures placed on you not to be angry or sad which can make coping with these feelings seem much worse… She views anger as healthy in some contexts, especially when the other option being pushed on you is being relentlessly positive all the time:
Does anyone else have thoughts to pitch in on this?
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- elytra said: Great answer! Child of someone who had a brain tumor among other health issues. Want to remind beckitalove: it’s not YOUR body that is fucking shit up, it’s cancer/brain tumor — an invader, if you will. Best of luck. xx
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