Naming Your Emotions

Naming your emotions through breast cancer

Denial and Shock – “This can’t be true.”

Anger, Rage – “This isn’t fair.” “Why wasn’t I protected from this?” “Why me?”

Stress and Depression – “My life is already busy, I can’t stop to deal with this.” “I feel so sad.” “Why should I get treatment? I’ll die anyway.”

Grief and Fear – “I’m going to die, but I don’t want to.” “I’m going to lose part of my body.” [health, attractiveness] “I will never feel safe again.”

Acceptance, Adjustment – “Okay, it’s true. I’ve got breast cancer, but I don’t have to like it or let it define who I am.”

Fight and Hope – “I’m going to fight for my life! I’m getting all the help and support that’s out there for me.”

Concern about disfigurement – “After surgery, will I still be attractive?” “What will happen to my sex life?”

Fear of the unknown – “What will this be like?” “Can I survive the treatment?”

Worry about side effects – “It sounds really bad. Is there some alternative?” “How will I cope?”

Anxiety – “Will my treatments be really effective?”

Suspense about test results – “When will the bad news come to an end?”

Family and Work Concerns – “How is this affecting my family?” “Will I lose my job?”

Fear of Recurrence – “Will my cancer return?” “Will it spread?” “Is that pain I’m feeling just a pulled muscle, or could it be my cancer has returned – is it my old enemy, breast cancer?”

Feeling Vulnerable – “I’m done with treatment. How do I guard my health?”

Fear of Continued Pain – “My chest is sore.” “I’m exhausted.” “Will I ever feel normal again?”

Fear of Death – “My family needs me. I’m not prepared for this.”

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