How to keep moving forward when you want to shut down

“I can’t believe I’m trying to get over it.” ~ Frank Bruni

My worst fear was given to me 3 months ago: Cancer Diagnosis-Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Out of nowhere!

In fact, many of the terrible things that happened to us suddenly happen out of nowhere. Car accidents, suicides, heart attacks, and yes, diagnostic results. When you enter shock and dissociation mode, you may appear paralyzed.

My world I knew has stopped. It has become surrounded by a sick universe — small and limited. I’m one-dimensional — a sick patient.

And I was shocked. To the point I didn’t feel. I value mental health and understand the importance of emotions, so it seems that I was away from the feelings. It wasn’t intentional. That’s the way I dealt with it.

I unknowingly and carefully (yes, it’s like an oxymoron) by putting one foot in front of the other, cultivating an open minefield like a good soldier, and doing what is necessary. I think) I dealt with it. Action and intentional thinking were my strategies.

My greatest fear is: Do I achieve it through treatment? What if I don’t?

So I started to control myself so that I wouldn’t think too much about the future. I fell into the rabbit hole of fear and anxiety. Being a small person with no extra weight, I was afraid that chemotherapy would crush me. Fear turned his head back when I allowed these thoughts to fit into my thin body. What if I get wrinkled and die? What if I can’t?

And my mindwork started. I became very intentional about putting that stop sign in my head so that I wouldn’t step out in front of myself and project into an unknown and terrifying future. I started taking a step all at once.

I will stop now and derail. Many years ago, when my middle daughter Nava was diagnosed with lifelong neuropathy, I was in the midst of despair and darkness.

I couldn’t even go to the park with her because I was pulling a rope of bitterness and anger around my neck. My envy for other babies who could sit and start getting out of the stroller was unbearable to me. Until I stopped going to the playground.

My cure at the time was a lifesaver and helped me get out of the unanswered “why me / why she?” “How” and “What” questions: How do you continue to suffer great disappointments and blows towards creating new expectations and goals, and still do this to build a good life?

By changing the question, I was able to deal with it and move forward. This has helped other challenges for years, such as my divorce and the serious medical problems of Nava a few years later. She was hospitalized for a year.

So, in the diagnosis of cancer, I went “how” and “what”. How can I deal with this in the best possible way? What can you do to optimize your coping skills? How can I minimize anxiety and fear?

Having studied Positive Psychology, Resilience Building, and Mindfulness, I have been collecting several tools that are currently useful to me through my personal medical crisis over the years.

Let’s take a look at some.

Maintain anxiety and existence

We know that anxiety is caused by future worries. Therefore, it is important to continue to exist. It is important to work on our minds to be at the moment, not to spiral outwards. I know my PET scan is approaching, and I’m naturally worried about the results. I take today, make it as good as possible, and tell myself not to think about weekends. There is a lot of deliberate work to control the mind.

And when we spiral, we take that into account, as we humans do naturally. As positive psychologist Tal Ben Shahar states, “permit to be human.” The important thing is to get yourself back. It’s not that I don’t go to dark places. It means that we notice it, stay longer and not be sucked into it. We can recognize it and get out of it.


Once the shock and fear of the illness begins to subside and any pattern or predictability is seen, the identity and role can be extended beyond the sick person, in my case the cancer / chemotherapy patient. I begin to walk towards myself, my illness, others and other things that are important to me.

Connecting with someone who is beyond your illness opens you up and reminds you of the bigger ones You are.. We are more than a difficult situation.

I always remember Morrie Schwartz in the book Molly and Tuesday— He cried every morning (because he died in ALS), after which all visitors were able to provide help and service.

So I contact a few clients and offer a session (between treatments) during a seemingly good week. I make some (general) social media posts. This blog post is a big (public) deal as I have never personally done this online.

Meaning of your life

Doing something that makes you feel good, no matter how small it makes sense, is a surefire way to stay engaged and in motion. It’s normal to keep us moving. I love colors, so I wake up and wear colorful clothes and makeup (unless it’s too weak). I feel better.

Nature and beauty are my greatest sources of healing and healing. When you feel okay, go to the park, sit by the water / sea, visit the garden, and step outside to gaze at the vast sky.

I deal with indoor and outdoor plants. I cut off my dead head, water it, take pictures and check the vegetables. This represents growth and beauty.

I love non-fiction books of people who transcend adversity, drawing inspiration and uplifting from words. I read, underline and contact the author.

And I will learn. I started a creativity class with someone I actually found on this site. I think it’s a good time to incorporate creativity and natural healing.

What makes sense in your life? What is important to you? What extends you? Who are you beyond your difficult situation?

Response and selection

Viktor Frankl, psychiatrist, log therapist (meaning and purpose treatment), and author of the famous book Search for human meaningHelps with the basic notion that it is not our situation that defines us, but our response to our situation that determines who we are and who we are. ..

“Everything can be robbed of a person, but only one. It’s the last freedom of human beings. It’s about choosing your attitude and your way in a particular situation.”

And one more: “There is a space between the stimulus and the response. That space has our power to choose our response. Our response is our growth and freedom. “

These ideas are life-changing for me and are driving me to avoid a passive, victim-like spirit that is too easy.

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