While going through mental illness, I learned that during the saddest times I needed to look for something positive. My therapist had me keep a journal where I wrote down something positive each day. In time the list grew. I was also taught even during bad situations, there is something good. Adding humor doesn’t cure mental illness, but helps make the good things shine even more. I have also found these methods work for when you go through other illnesses. I have looked for the positive while struggling with breast cancer.
Cancer is an awful illness and it affects its victims not only physically, but also mentally. Due to breast cancer and the BRCA gene, I had to decide to have a double mastectomy. While struggling with accepting myself as a beautiful woman without breasts, I found that looking at the positive side helps. I decided to add a little humor to my bad situation and this has lifted my spirits and helped me accept myself.
When my friends complain about their big breasts, I can now laugh at them and say, “Haha I don’t have breasts anymore.” I no longer have those giant melons hanging from my chest wreaking havoc in my life. I fought like heck to keep them, but now I am free. I no longer sit at the kitchen table in the morning to find my boob bathing in my bowl of cereal. I no longer have to worry about pulling it out to make a big splash and have cereal with milk dripping, spilling and soaking my table and me.
I am also free of those sling shots they call bras. They never fit right, they stretched out of shape, and they came undone at the wrong moments. I can’t count how many times I tucked, squeezed, and pulled a bra over my breasts because the ones that fit perfectly don’t exist. Then suddenly I’d unintentionally pull that wandering bra strap up. In time the sling shot stretched to the point my boobs dangled like pears on a tree and at the wrong time something is poking me in the back. I could be in a crowd of people and guess what my bra came undone. Do I try to reach back and fasten it or run for the ladies room, making up some crazy excuses on the way?
I also no longer have to worry about those pesky heat rashes that taunted me every summer. I can remember the itch that drove me crazy to the point I would do anything to relieve it. I remember gently reaching under my breasts to scratch it to only realize people were standing in front of me looking at me oddly. I quickly pulled my hand away and greeted them with a smile.
I no longer have to worry about my melon wiggling free of that contraption called a bra and my loose-fitingt shirt so it could go streaking in public. I tried hard to keep it under control, but at the worst possible time it would decide to show itself to the world. Of course having a double D made it hard to keep it from dancing out of its hiding place, especially in a swimming suit.
I am now free of bouncing bosoms threatening to give me a black eye when I run. I no longer have to worry about trying to explain to my coworker why I suddenly got a black eye running to the bus stop. Sometimes I lost track of time and found myself running to the end of my road to catch the bus. Up and down they bounced like basketballs. I had to concentrate on holding my head high so one of those wild things didn’t jump up and sock me in the eye. My husband loved to watch them bounce, but I hated how those big things thought they were made of rubber.
I’m happy to no longer have these heavy melons dangling from my chest like someone taped fifty pound weights to me. Sometimes they were so heavy I thought I needed a walker for them. They weighed me down and pulled at my back. Carrying them around was a task of its own. So many times I wished I had something to carry them in. Unfortunately no one ever evented a walker with wheels and baskets just for the breasts.
The most positive thing about no longer having breasts is being able to rub it in with my friends. When they complain about theirs I just laugh and say, “Haha I don’t have breasts.” I had planned on burning my entire stretched-out sling shots, but I think my neighbors would be calling the looney bin on me. So instead I resorted to putting them in a bag and doing a dance while I stood over the garbage can we have outside tossing them in one by one.
If you are facing breast cancer, mental illness, or some other illness, find the positive hiding behind the darkness. Have fun with the positive; add humor to it. A little laughter helps lift the spirits and makes things seem less awful. Laughter is no cure, but it helps. Sometimes when we are in the hole it’s hard to laugh, but don’t give up. Keep looking for ways to find the good during the bad.
I’m in recovery from mental illness and breast cancer because I worked hard at finding the brighter side to my ordeals. I’m laughing and enjoying life within the light.