After Cancer: How to Connect to Others?

writing down the bones
writing down the bones

After surviving or while living with a life threatening illness such as cancer, people often feel estranged from life. Individuals may feel detached from work, friends, colleagues, family members and even alienated from themselves. This disconnected feeling is normal. Cancer is a traumatic experience: one which stirs questions about some of the most foundational elements of life: things that most of us take for granted: namely one's body, life purpose and continued existence.

How can we re-connect? How can we come back to life? How can we feel connected to things and others again?

The first step begins with reconnecting to yourself. Believe it or not, almost everything we experience in relationship to others is fundamentally nurtured by the relationship we hold with ourself. Cancer causes us to question who we are. The cancer experience calls our identity into question- who we thought we were may not actually be.

A simple way to strengthen the connection and intimacy with yourself is through telling your story. Buy a journal and begin at the beginning. Begin to write down the bones of your story-- and do not leave one little thing out- this is for you. Scribble onto the paper, write with abandon, without censor, tell your journal everything. Allow the paper to feel what you truly experienced.

When you are done writing down your cancer story, you can continue with this tool and use it to befriend yourself each day, for the rest of your life story. In essence, you are beginning to befriend yourself, get to know yourself and discover who you are.

Connecting back into life and with others will be less of an ordeal when you know more deeply who you are.


Dr. Regina

CHECK OUT THIS BOOK: "Writing down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg