Q & A with Bernie – April 8, 2013

Question for Bernie:

I just finished your book Love, Medicine & Miracles.  At times I got so much energy from it, but when I even think of drawing a picture, I freeze up, become anxious, and it feels like I’m trying to hold a beach ball underwater and can’t any more.

I was diagnosed in August with breast cancer and totally freaked in the doctor’s office. I yelled at him and my husband, who showed up late. The doctor just kept talking, and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying, so I yelled “STOP TALKING!” I practically ran out the door.  Outside I ranted and raved and kicked a tire on a car in the parking lot. I just went into overdrive; my sister said it was the best temper tantrum she’d ever seen.

Yes I had been in deep despair in the two years prior to my diagnosis.  I lost my business partner, my business, suffered burnout, and three months later my mother died.  I went on antidepressants to make it through my daughter’s wedding. Other family problems included my brother’s decision to stop speaking to me, and more despair when my house burned down four months before diagnosis.

My husband “lives in his head” and wouldn’t recognize a feeling if it hit him smack in the face. I am so lonely in this marriage I could die! Please give me your thoughts on my situation.

Bernie’s Answer:

In the way you are able to describe the traumatic events of your recent life, you are showing me that you’ve just gotten started on the vital work of getting the rage and sadness OUT.

writing in journalHealing happens in an environment as free of negative emotions as you can make it, so keep on letting your anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear out.  Keep writing everything down, whether you send it to me or not, just getting it down on paper is a perfectly safe and effective way of getting even your “blackest” feelings and thoughts out.

The line I always remember is “you have needs too.” Ask for what you need from responsive people in your life.  Don’t explain yourself to the unresponsive people in your life.  Use that energy to open your heart more and more each day as you eliminate the anger and sadness.

breast cancer support groupLoneliness is not good.  Find positive people who understand some of what you’ve been through. Check out groups of women dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.  It can feel very good to be among people who understand exactly what you are feeling.

Find things that interest you and immerse yourself in them.  If you work on getting rid of the anger and sadness, your heart opens up and creativity can thrive.  You may find that within all the traumatic events is a message.  Learn to love yourself first and do everything you need to get joy back into your life.



Reader’s Comment to Bernie:

To live is to suffer
To survive is to find meaning to the suffering

~ Viktor Frankl

Victor FranklI have studied that man!  April 9th, I am speaking to a group of people about my life, and how I survived through the suffering.

To me suffering can be a gift wrapped in black paper and when you open it, there is a Light so bright that the beauty of it makes you cry with joy.

Peace and love,

Susan Duffy

Bernie’s Reply:

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your always positive words of wisdom.  I encourage our readers to go to Resources on this website and find your List for Survivors under the Articles section.

~ Bernie