Hi all, I'll cut to the chase. I'm a 5 year survivor this year and have come a long way. My question is: has anyone experienced a post-cancer identity crisis? A personality change within themselves? I used to be this confident go-getter, always striving, dreaming of living in New York/Los Angeles, loved a challenge, always out and about, a bit of a music scene queen, hot-to-trot, living the busy life and loving it, etc. Now? After advanced cancer, I live as quiet as a church mouse. My physical recovery took 2 years so I was pretty much housebound for that time and it took another 2 years to get a job. During all this, I don't know when, I metamorphosed. I can't pinpoint it, all I know is that now I'm quite a reserved individual, I lack real motivation, hardly go out and don't care that I don't; I don't care about goals anymore, haven't cared about my appearance, can't stand too much noise or people, don't care about the aspirations and dreams I once had pre-cancer. Now, I just got a job in television two weeks ago, my first job in five years. I'm telling myself this is the right thing for me; this is the right step forward, waking up to an alarm clock again, presenting myself appropriately to the world with coiffed hair, makeup in place, the right clothes, all in the quest of re-gaining a semblance of normal life again. But all I want is to live quietly, sit at home with my cat, watch TV, plant flowers and watch the world go by. What the hell happened to me - and has anything similar happened to you?
This is not unusual and quite a few people who have had cancer treatment experience the difficulties that you experience. It could be worth getting some help if it is hindering you getting back to work that you enjoyed. Try ringing the Cancer Helpline 13 11 20 and talking to a nurse counsellor about recommendation to deal with this sort of thing. Or you could talk to you GP about seeing a psychologist on Medicare. It is well worth it and it took me too long before I saw a psychologist.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship is for. Anon
Thank you Sailor for your words. I didn't think it was that normal, feeling like this. All I seem to read about in terms of post-cancer life is, "how I got this second chance and I'm making the most of it like you wouldn't believe!!" or "It's all gung-ho! I'm fitting two lives in one, now with my second chance" or "I'm off climbing the Himalayas and after that I'll be diving for pearls near the Maldives and after that ..." My new job is part-time currently which appealed to me so I could gently ease myself back into the workforce but I find I'm battling anxiety every evening before I have to go in the next day. I just like living simply and quietly now without stress or challenges and all the stimulation. Cancer forced me to slow down and the recovery period extended that and now over the years it's become ingrained and I adapted to it and don't want to leave and it's quite clear my personality has changed because of it. I'm actually seeing a counsellor today at my hospital to talk about another issue so perhaps I can touch base on this, too. Thanks again.
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