The Importance of Prioritizing Your Mental Health

      When cancer hits, our mental health is not the first thing we think about. Instead, we focus on our body and the decisions, treatments and healing necessary to move it through the ordeal. Only later, when the smoke clears, does our mental health move to the forefront.For the first six and a half months of my cancer ordeal, the time from my mammogram to mastectomy, the only attention my mental health got was access to

a guided imagery CD

    . After my surgery, the calvary rode in in the form of oncology therapists. We met once a week for a year and it was exhausting, grueling and often deeply upsetting, but I kept going back.

What did I learn? I learned the value of showing up and “doing the work.” I learned to talk, cry, rant, question, consider, listen and cry some more. I learned to value my mental health and not be ashamed to ask for help dealing with depressionanger and stress.

I also came to see the brave survivor in me – the woman who has faced many of life’s losses and upheavals – only one of which is cancer. I learned to cherish that survivor and celebrate her accomplishments. I learned to love her spirit. I learned, as Marie Ennis O’Connor writes in her recent blog post, to come out from behind “The Mask.”

From that foundation – for which I will be forever grateful to my therapists – I’ve gone on to work toward creating an inspired survivorship. I’ve found that the mind/body/spirit balance turns up the volume on life. That’s why I envision WhereWeGoNow expanding beyond cancer survivorship and providing an inspirational community to survivors of all traumas. What we all have in common is that we are all survivors of something.

Healing our mental health is every bit as important as healing physically. If cancer has taught me anything, it’s taught me the value of prioritizing our mental health to create an inspired survivorship.

Survival > Existence,




Marie's picture

Integrating Mind And Body

SO glad you participated in this challenge Debbie especially as I am always struck by how well your blog integrates the healing of mind and body after cancer. we really can’t have a healthy body without a healthy mind and we need to give equal attention to the optimum well being of both.


Debbie's picture

Healthy Body + Healthy Mind = Healthy Life


I’m so glad you let me know about the challenge, Marie. I loved your reference to Eleanor Rigby and “the mask” in your post. We’ve all worn “the mask” and, to me, good mental health is the ability to put it down and be exactly who we are. You can’t heal from cancer until you look at all of your body/mind/spirit issues and treat yourself gently.

Survival > Existence,



Noch Noch - be me. be natural.'s picture

not alone

reading blgos like these help us know that we are not alone in this struggle. thanks for sharing your experience. i also had a mask on for too long
Noch Noch
Debbie's picture

Sharing Fosters Real Healing

Noch Noch:

I believe we really start to heal when we fully embrace that we are not alone. Thanks for visiting WhereWeGoNow and sharing with us.

Survival > Existence,


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