Monday, 4 October 2010

Depression - Two steps forward, one step back

I would love to say that after my CBT I was all well and cured, but depression doesn't always work like that.  it can be one step forward and two steps back.

My two steps back came after my failed reconstruction after the double prophylactic mastectomy.  I felt a complete and utter failure.  I was distraught.  MadDad couldn't look at me without thinking I had been butchered and he was angry.  Angry at me, angry at the surgeon and angry at the world and I had lost my support.

For the first time in our marriage I knew that he felt differently about me, but I also new that I felt differently about myself too.  I hated the way I looked and never, ever had looks been important to me.

But I looked like, well I looked like someone else and I was hurting. 

We immediately contacted my GP who arranged for a CPN to pop round again and with her she brought some information for a wonderful charity called the Tees Valley Councelling Service.  They are a charity who provide counselling to people who have long term illness  or a physical disability or to the people who care for them.

Within two weeks of asking for help, I was allocated a counselor who came out to my local GP's surgery once a week for an hour to help me.

This was wonderful, I met with my councillor, lets call her Helen once a week and she made an action plan with me and we decided that my goal was to be able to come to terms and live with my condition.  She also helped me challenge the fear I was feeling.

However, the most important thing she did with me was come up with a phrase that I could use when people asked me how I was.  I didn't want sympathy and also at this stage in my illness I just couldn't cope with peoples opinions of what I had done.
Together we came up with "I am doing well that you and I am looking forward to the future positively".  This one liner changed everything.  It empowered me.  It gave me the strength to go out in public without prosthetics, to collect the boys from school and preschool without running in and out.  It was amazing.  I was no longer fearful of people asking me how I was or if I needed further treatment, it cut off the last part of the question.

It also showed me the power in words and how the right one makes things so much easier.

I saw "Helen" for 19 weeks until we both realised that I was really looking positively to the future, that is was no longer just my stock in phrase.  She was a true blessing and I cried buckets when I left the final time, as did she.



  1. Jen, the more I hear about your story, the more my admiration for you grows. Do you think you might ever work as a counsellor yourself?

  2. oh! my darling lady. I so admire you, I really do. You have been through so much, I can only imagine and yet when I met you and your family you were a shining light. I can't possibly know or understand what you have been through/go through but I will always be here for you if you need an ear/shoulder anything. Really, really, hope we can meet up again with the dads and boys xxxxxx

  3. I rarely feel tearful reading other people's blogs, but you just broke me.
    I still struggle with depression (for different reasons to you) but a strong family and a great GP make all the difference (not to mention some fine pharmaceuticals when I need them).
    Your counsellor sounds like an's rare to meet a stranger who has such a profound effect on our lives.

  4. You are a real inspiration, a brave and a tremendously strong woman. A great mum, wife and friend those are truly positive traits.

  5. One step forwards, two steps back, and then somtimes you take a giant leap and surprise even yourself.
    You know you make me cry, in that totally good way. x

  6. This is such an inspirtational post. Really. x

  7. As always, so much respect for you and your bravery. Be proud and keep strong for those gorgeous boys x
    My friend Nicky has done her photographic shoot and I will be reporting back on that next week, if you fancy popping by.

  8. that post has just had me in tears. i am overwhelmed by your courage and bravery. i am inspired your attitude, and really glad to have stumbled upon your blog. i have no idea how you do it. *hats off*

    i will be back soon, love tamsyn xxx