In August two years ago, I was diagnosed with a tumor of the left temporal lobe, which, if you’re not up with clinical-speak, translates to a life threatening mass inside my brain.
I’d suffered fits for a long time, which increased in intensity over the years. Yep, years. As the fits became worse, they failed to fit the (incorrect) diagnosis that I’d been given, and I became more and more frightened. And then, the scans showed the mass. If you ever feel the need to slap someone who jumps out at you from behind a wall as a joke, then multiply that by a million and sustain that horror over the course of a few years. I knew something was wrong. And when my diagnosis was made, I was so angry that I’d copped such a raw deal. The whole ‘why me’, deal.
It took a psychologist to help me see that the anger I’d felt wasn’t because I’d felt this was very unfair… in fact, ‘why me’ only lasted for as long as it took me to see I was lucky to be alive at all.
At first, I was very focused on the physical fallout of the surgery. For one, I’d have to shave my head. I’d have a thirteen centimeter long scar running the course of my hairline and ear, and surgery came at a risk to my ability to talk, speak, think and physically manage myself. I barely coped. Until I got help from one of the best clinical therapists Mornington has to offer. I was dialed in with a therapist via my GP, and she showed me how to manage the seismic anger that arose whenever I thought about what was happening to me.
Given techniques for managing the terror helped me significantly during my recovery. Now that I look back on things, I shudder to think of what things might have been like if I never met my psych and still thought my anger was just about being angry. My illness opened me up to a lot and though I still fight against the fallout, I’m grateful that I got to find a way through it that was productive rather than destructive.