Saturday, 19 October 2013

Algy's Demise - Mental Health and Brain Tumours; My Confession.

I have had a series of melt downs of late, which is to be expected considering the underlying stress that is always present no matter how 'benign' Algy  is in terms of size and effect.  But I have noticed the things I usually enjoy are now becoming sources of great anxiety.

Having a look back through this blog, most posts are about my feelings and emotions than anything else.  I find it therapeutic to write so yes, it's a given but also I have noticed the rise in the frequency and severity of meltdowns which can be at risk of getting out of control if not dealt with.

I hate to say this, but social media - or more correctly, Twitter and Facebook is my conduit to the world but that seems to be changing.  It's not the medium itself but how I have used it plus my expectations of  it,  becoming dependant  not just for company and news, but also a place of bolstering my self esteem .

It has become the place where I lay my 'back-to-adolescent' insecurities, anxieties, need to be noticed, to be reassured, to be validated as a person.  In short I have become addicted and worry one day I will go too far in terms of my neediness and will lose those I follow there and have become friendly with..

On reflection, I seem to be more prone to mood swings which I wonder is bordering on obsessive behaviour , plus what also isn't helping is the menopause which I am starting.

So am I just going nuts? Being childish? Or maybe there's more to this than my time of life and maturity issues?

Most emotional changes are natural responses to being placed in a situation that by it's very nature is a great cause of stress, especially with having to deal with the changes and effects placed on ones life style and responsibility. 

Neurological diseases and disorders can and do have mental health illness as a symptom,  not in the least brain tumours as some will impact on areas of the brain where emotions, thought processes, memory function etc originate. Add to that effects on the cells where the nerves originate impacting on movement and physical function, all can add distress.

Most Obvious are:

Fear, anxiety, anger, sadness/grief, insecurity, denial of the stress, losing perspective, increased tendency to arguments, width drawl and increased isolation, obsessions, obsessive compulsive disorder, possible loss of reality, inability to cope, depressions, changes to personality, increased mood swings/highs/lows

Also

Memory loss, confusion, exacerbation of current mental illness such as psychosis, dementia, etc.  Onset of new mental illness such as anxiety and neurosis, depression, cognitive changes. Depressive disorders. Personality disorders as well as the above which will have an impact on physical function.

The above list is by no means exhaustive. Also it should not be taken that you might have any or all of these, but it does have to be recognised.  Often the onset can be gradual or may have nothing to do with the brain tumour, that it can be a problem arising from other illnessess.

My own particular situation is one maybe borne from dealing with changes to my personal life and I have to admit my underlying fear for the future and becoming 'persona non gratis'. As said before I have that wonderful thing called 'The Menopause' which as much as some would hail as being a positive milestone for women, has been a prized pain in the ass for me, not helping my moods what so ever!  But I guess at least having an awareness of these means at least I am not going certifiably crazy - yet!

I do have a long way to go in terms of awareness, self honesty and dealing with the future.  There is so much I want to do, and I genuinely want to reach out to others and make a contribution.  But I also have to recognise my limits and recognise when my reactions are becoming unhealthy and unrealistic.  It's a sobering thought, something we all have to be aware off whether fit or not, and also accept that others around us may not always be in a position to help or even understand.

Reaching is out is important and quite often, whether we like it or not, others are more likely to see the changes before we do and that is difficult as it can lead  to conflict or abandonment from either side.  Some really cannot deal with the issues and some may not want to.  Much heartache can usually and does result which is why it *is* important to consider mental health needs along side the physical ones when discussing care and symotoms with your doctor.

Here's a quote from a web page which sums up the issues well.

"Brain tumors  can cause seizures, mental changes, and mood, personality, and emotional changes. Tumors may also impair muscle function, hearing, vision, speech, and other neurologic activities. Such effects can be very difficult for both patients and caregivers."

From The Avera Website

Also there's a handy info sheet from an Australia you can find at Beyond Blue Site (Ausralia) This page will open up as a 'pdf document' and you will need a reader for this. A free one can be found here Adobe Reader Website

Hopefully my particular issues will settle in time as I recover from radiotherapy. But an inflamed Algy has a lot of impact and certainly this needs monitoring but not something to be afraid of so long as I am sensible, see it for  what it is and seek help when necessary.

5 comments:

  1. As always beautifally written, and i am sure I am not the only one who can relate with your thoughts and feelings

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  2. Thank you for your openness and honesty. Social media does allow us a space to express feelings that we often feel unable to in the 'real' world and can help boost aq low self esteem. It can also have a feeling of safety, of having a new, understanding family, that can be very reassuring but can also be false. Caution is needed!

    If I could give one piece of advice to anyone going through or recovering from radiotherapy it would be to 'give in' to the tiredness. The fatigue is very real, as are all those other symptoms you mention and they can be made worse by fatigue. Rest whenever you need to and at any other chance that comes along!

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    Replies
    1. You are so right Cassandra. My worst time mentally is when I get very tired and it has taken me a long time to know when to stop. Also those around youn have to understand that as well, as I think some might have the impression that the person affected is somehow 'giving up' when it isn't and as said before to accept help if it's available too.

      Also 'being positive' takes energy and sometimes the energy just isn't there to do that and that's ok too. XX

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