Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 11

go back- I needed to go back on time. That
was the plan. That was my plan. After my
doctor left, I finally let the tears fall. Looking
back, I think that was the moment that I lost
hope. Not hope for being healed but hope for
being me again.
it was another cancer patient, or someone
struggling with their mental health as I was;
I knew I needed help.
I had a discussion with my therapist in
* * *
Over the next eight weeks, my mental
health slowly worsened. Before the last two
or three treatments, I would sit at the kitchen
table for about half an hour before I had to go
in for chemo and cried my eyes out.
" I can't do it, " I said repeatedly.
I can't tell you how I was able to keep going
during that time. I was at the end of my rope
in those moments, and when I was done with
treatment, instead of looking forward to immediately
returning to school to take classes
and spend time with my friends, I had two
months of no plans awaiting me.
By the time I finished chemo, I was
spending most of my days in bed, not only
from the pain and nausea, but also from
the depression that overcame me. I didn't
know what I needed, but I knew I needed
something.
* * *
Before I was even diagnosed with cancer,
I had been seeing a therapist regularly for
my anxiety. This was the biggest blessing
when I was diagnosed, because I already
had a relationship with a licensed counselor
when my physical health went downhill. I
needed an outlet to process the trauma and
grief I was experiencing from losing my old
self to cancer.
Without my therapist, I wouldn't have
known what to do; even working with her
was not enough support, considering everything
I had just gone through. I also wouldn't
have had the courage to have a conversation
with my parents to let them know how much
I was struggling. I was 19 at the time, and
relied heavily on my parents to support me
through treatment. Although they could tell
from my behavior that I was not doing well,
I don't think they understood the extent of
the emotional pain I was in.
I don't think they will ever truly know what
those months were like for me; the months
in treatment and the months directly after.
At the time, what I needed was people who
understood the depth of my despair. Whether
which she helped me communicate my
needs to my parents. That's the beauty of
mental health counseling-I had an expert
at my disposal with whom I had enough
rapport that I was comfortable discussing
some of my darkest moments with during
a time when I didn't feel that I could turn
to anyone else.
I ended up doing some intensive group
" Asking for
help during
this time was
probably one
of the hardest
things I have
ever done. I
was in such a
fragile state of
mind, where
I couldn't see
any hope in
the future laid
out before me.
Day after day,
each tomorrow
looked bleak
and seemed
to lack any
promise of
future joy. "
therapy for several weeks, where I connected
with others in a similar state of major depression.
While none of them had gone through
cancer as I had, I found a connection with
these people through mutual suffering. There
was an impact that group counseling had on
me that I never would have experienced in a
one-on-one counseling setting.
Asking for help during this time was
probably one of the hardest things I have
ever done. I was in such a fragile state of
mind, where I couldn't see any hope in the
future laid out before me. Day after day, each
tomorrow looked bleak and seemed to lack
any promise of future joy.
To anyone struggling with their mental
health during or after treatment; you are not
alone. I felt so alone during that time but pursuing
counseling and finding a community
provided with me a foothold, allowing me to
climb out of my pit of depression.
This is a period of my life that I do not
talk about often, especially because there
is still so much stigma surrounding mental
health. Because of this stigma, experiencing
debilitating depression sometimes feels like
something I should hide.
Please know that you are not weak if you
ask for help. That is a lesson that I am still
learning. Asking for help is hard as hell, so
find those people with whom you are willing
to be vulnerable. Whether you have or will
experience a depressive episode as I did, there
will always be something that you will need
help with, cancer related or not.
Don't be afraid to ask for help with the
little things, because that practice makes
it easier to ask for help when bigger things
come along. Whatever you need help with,
it is valid. l
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HODGKIN LYMPHOMA ISSUE 2021
11
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Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021

Contents
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover1
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover2
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 1
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Contents
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 3
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 4
Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 5
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Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - 11
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Elephants and Tea: Hodgkin Lymphoma Issue 2021 - Cover3
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