Cancer Survivors-Dimensions of Grief
At one point in life, we all have lost or will lose a loved one.
Grief is the normal, yet complex, response to loss. We, as human beings, experience grief because of our ability to develop emotional… At one point in life, we all have lost or will lose a loved one.
Grief is the normal, yet complex, response to loss. We, as human beings, experience grief because of our ability to develop emotional bonds and attachments be it out of a need for security or safety. Throughout the course of evolution, instinct develops around the premise that attachment losses are retrievable. Similarly, behavioral responses making up the grieving process are pro-survival mechanisms geared towards restoring lost bonds.
When going through the grieving complexities, people experience an array of changes: emotional, physical, or cognitive which manifest as sadness, sorrow, fatigue, depression, relief, shock, anger, guilt, or anxiety.
Anger is a very common dimension of grief; some say its the other side of the guilt coin. Often, anger turns to the doctor, nurse, or hospital, whoever/whatever was involved in keeping healing. When becoming sick, one is often angry at himself for not taking better care, for not knowing better; blame is separated out by a thin line from anger.
Anxiety and helplessness are other expressions of grief. The feeling is of I cant deal with this, I cant make it alone. Ive never felt so alone and vulnerable before. A deep sense of uncertainty about how you will be able to tolerate the future on your own, how you will be able to deal with all treatments required, how you will be able to carry on. This is really the hardest part to take control of your mind and convince yourself of the truth: you are NOT alone; you only have to reach out and ask.
Even if not too many friends or family are around, there are lots of others going through the same experiences as you are: support groups and volunteers.
You might also feel a deep, aching sense of unfairness. It doesnt make sense. Im a good person… The strategy here is to find purpose and a higher meaning in your experiences. Accepting what is happening to you takes a lot of self actualization. What I have found helpful is counteracting the sense of unfairness with a sense of pride: this is happening to me because I can deal with it, versus another helpless person (like a child), who wouldnt have any resources, life experience or tools to face your cancer recovery.