Life’s meaning

“Whenever you become anxious or stressed, outer purpose has taken over, and you lost sight of your inner purpose. You have forgotten that your state of consciousness is primary, all else secondary.”

Eckhart Tolle

This week we are exploring your life meaning or you’re meaning for life.

Sunday began two important awareness campaigns for October: Breast Cancer Awareness and Mental Health.  In both my personal and professional lives, these two have stood out for a number of reasons.

From a young child, my father was unwell in the physical sense, and this impacted on his social and emotional wellbeing.  I experienced firsthand on how illness impacts of all aspects of a person and their family.

A while ago, I volunteered at a local voluntary organisation that assisted people on their cancer journey.  I met many people whose lives had been touched by cancer and met some really special young women (at the time) who set up their own personal support group for young women who had or were going through this experience and the different support that you need when you are a parent of young children.

Roll forward many years and I have worked with people with both physical illnesses, life’s stressors and financial concerns because of this.  I knew from an early age that people don’t necessarily plan for illness, and this was reinforced through my employment as a Financial Counsellor and later as the person with a lived experience of breast cancer.

My work as a mental health professional over the past ten years has highlighted that we are not exempt from stressors which can impact upon us all socially and emotionally.  This is even for those who do not a history of anxiety, depression or another diagnosis.  We can all suffer at any time.

This month highlights that we all need to care for our mental health and to look after those we care for.  Whether it is a conversation to see how they are going or asking someone else to have it if you are too close. 

I wrote a diary around my diagnosis and treatment, and I have only started reviewing this recently.  Up to now, it hadn’t been the right time, both due to being busy and not ready.  It’s interesting to note that only a month in my journey and just over two weeks post-surgery, I made the choice that my journey into breast cancer would be ensuring that others got an earlier diagnosis through advocating for checks and ongoing discussions with their health professionals.

And this continues to be a driver in my life – both for mental health awareness and cancer in general.