Actor and Breast Cancer Now ambassador Amanda Mealing struggled with the anxiety disorder PTSD after her breast cancer diagnosis. She explains why it’s so important to find the right emotional support for you.
The signs of the anxiety condition post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be incredibly subtle, but I’ve found it begins with my energy levels. They start to dip and then I tell myself I’m too tired to meet up or go out.
Then I begin to avoid people, places and things – even the telephone. I would rather text than speak to someone when, more often than not, I should be doing the opposite.
Then comes the anxiety. Once I’ve knocked back a few invites, I begin fixating on reasons why I can’t or shouldn’t do things and fretting about them. I then elevate them to issues or “absolutes” that prevent me from doing things.
Then comes the low. I berate myself for failing to do things and lying to others about why I couldn’t make it, which leads to self-loathing.
Then come the dreaded Cs. It starts with comparing myself to others and always coming off worse. Compare. Contrast. Compete. Criticise. Control. Each and every one of these Cs will leave you on the negative side of your emotions. When you’re low, you hand power to these things. It’s incredibly difficult to get out of these emotions on your own. It’s a greasy pole you’ve got to climb up.
That’s where Becca, the breast cancer support app, comes in. By checking in daily, I can prevent these things taking hold and that’s the secret; grab it early! I’m not superhuman. No one is. These emotions can happen to everyone. It’s how far they take hold that’s the difference.
Find more personal stories, plus other hints and tips for managing life after breast cancer treatment, in our free Becca app.