Over the years spent tweeting together, the #BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media) tweetchat community has asked some tough questions. #BCSM is a community on Twitter that meets every Monday night at 9pm ET.
On November 18th, they continued their annual “holiday survival guide” or holidays and chronic illness.
How To Celebrate
With a chronic illness, being in a celebratory mood can seem impossible. As Jody Schoger puts it, “Grief adds a layer of pain during a time when people are expected to be festive and joyful.”
Last year, Dr. Anne Becker-Schutte, a psychologist specializing in support for those with chronic illness, led this annual topic. She provided a series of recommendations on how to deal with the holidays. First she suggested focusing on what you want and letting go of what is expected by others. Specifically she stated, “remember that this holiday season may need to be tweaked or scaled back to meet your needs.”
Since then, Jody has put this suggestion into practice. This year she tweeted
Q1: Each year we do less and enjoy it more. I’m well past the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving party! #bcsm
— Jody Schoger (@jodyms) November 18, 2014
Simply stuffing feelings of sadness, frustration, or anger is a recipe for trouble. Getting an understanding of the origins of those feelings requires that you make space. Dr. Becker-Schutte recommends using journaling, support groups, safe friends and therapy as “space for hard feelings” to be expressed.
The group discussed the heartbreak and loss that they feel. Acknowledging sadness, loneliness and fear are important.
Asking for help is one of the changes that many people in the chat discussed.
No Shame or Blame
Shaming and blaming yourself is not the answer. In fact, turn that lecturing internal critic off. Another #BCSM participant stated,
Being kind to yourself, says Dr. Becker-Schutte. This is a time of year to be pampered, to let go of holiday expectations and do something for you. As another participant noted,
Others suggest pacing yourself and allowing yourself breaks and naps.
Finally, remember that
T2: I think holidays are are about love, light, connection, blessings. I try to make decisions from that place. #bcsm
— Lori Marx-Rubiner (@regrounding) December 3, 2013
We at Medivizor wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!