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Facing Fears and Conquering Cancer: The Story of Kelda Logan

Episode 60|00:37:27 min|

Parenting, Panic Disorder, Postpartum, Adult, Facing Fears,

Quote from Kelda Logan in an orange bubble:

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Quote from Kelda Logan in an orange bubble:
#OurAnxietyStories – The Anxiety Canada Podcast
Facing Fears and Conquering Cancer: The Story of Kelda Logan
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About the episode

Fear of the unknown, dwelling on the future, and thinking in “what-if” scenarios can be major anxiety triggers, especially for those facing big life changes.

In this episode of #OurAnxietyStories, Kelda Logan reflects on how anxiety has manifested throughout her life, including during childhood, becoming a parent, and her battle with breast cancer. Like many, Kelda didn’t know she had anxiety in her earlier years. She thought her experience with perfectionism, panic attacks, avoidance, and her fear of spiders, flying, and highways were normal. It wasn’t until Kelda became a mom and failed a postpartum depression screening test, despite not being “sad,” that she realized something else might be going on. Kelda emphasizes that for her, meditation and mindfulness are of great help, highlighting that she shared these tools with her students and other faculty members during her years as an educator. Looking at the silver lining, Kelda is proud to share that although she’s faced many trials and tribulations throughout her life, she’s now “more aware and more resilient.”

During Kelda’s journey, anxiety seemed to lurk in the background in her early years, but it wasn’t until she became a mother that she recognized the warning signs. Dr. Badali says this is normal, sharing that “anxiety can become amplified during periods of increased responsibility such as having a new baby.” According to Dr. Badali, “an important step in managing anxiety involves facing feared situations, places, or objects. It is normal to want to avoid the things you fear; however, avoidance prevents you from learning that the things you fear are not as dangerous as you think.” Dr. Badali adds that “workarounds” and avoidance quiet anxiety in the moment but fuel it in the long run. “Kelda is inspiring in that she faced her fears. She didn’t let anxiety continue to make her life smaller and smaller. She got back on the highway and is even able to fly.”

If you or someone you know is a new mom struggling with postpartum anxiety, you may find HeretoHelp BC’s article “New Moms Feeling Anxious” helpful. The article provides valuable information on managing and coping with postpartum anxiety, including tips on seeking support, finding time for self-care, and managing stress. Remember to take things one day at a time, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if needed.

Anxiety Canada Scientific Advisory Committee member, Dr. Melanie Badali, shares the importance of learning to identify anxiety: “being aware of anxiety can help us understand and manage it. Naming anxiety can help us tame anxiety.” Though anxiety is normal, it’s important to watch out for warning signs that anxiety may be becoming a problem.

About the guest

Kelda Logan is a dedicated educator, loving mother, and cancer survivor. Despite facing a difficult breast cancer diagnosis, Kelda remained strong and determined to overcome the disease. Her anxiety issues predate the cancer diagnosis, but the experience of facing her mortality has brought a new level of anxiety that she has had to learn to manage. Despite these challenges, Kelda has remained positive and determined to live each day to the fullest, focusing on her family and work as an educator, as well as her own personal growth and well-being.

"What I learned over time with more understanding and practice is that it’s not at all about achieving a state of no thoughts or feelings, because we are actually human and that’s pretty much impossible, but what it is, is about noticing the thoughts and noticing the feelings and giving them space."

This podcast is brought to you by Anxiety Canada™, a leader in developing free, online self-help and evidence-based anxiety resources. For more information and resources, please visit our website and download our app, MindShift™ CBT.

Transcript

Intro: This is #OurAnxietyStories, the Anxiety Canada Podcast with John Bateman. This is the place where people from all walks of life share their anxiety stories to remind you that you are not alone. If you have an anxiety story you’d like to share, contact us AnxietyCanada.com/OurAnxietyStories.

John Bateman: This is John Bateman. You’re listening to #OurAnxietyStories, the Anxiety Canada podcast, which can be found on all your popular podcast platforms, and at AnxietyCanada.com/OurAnxietyStories. Today I’m talking to educator, mother and cancer survivor, Kelda Logan. Hey, Kelda.

Kelda Logan: Hi, Johnny. How’s it going?

John Bateman: I’m doing fine. Wow, you dropped your hand already. Now everybody knows you know me because you call me Johnny, which is great. That’s fine.

Kelda Logan: Should I say Mr. Bateman?

John Bateman: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Please. I always kick it off with the same first question and to the best of your ability, Kelda, what’s your anxiety story?

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Kelda Logan: I think my anxiety story started a long, long time ago, and it started with a complete lack of awareness about anxiety and about the fact that I even had it. I think I had anxiety from the time I was really young, and I just thought that was normal, just bebopped along through my life and didn’t realize that I was suffering, even though I had panic attacks sometimes, and there were certain things I couldn’t do because of my anxiety… I just did not know that that wasn’t normal. Yeah. For example, I am really terrified of spiders, and I know that sounds really silly, but–

John Bateman: Nope. No, every fear is legitimate.

Kelda Logan: And so there were certain countries I wouldn’t travel to because I was afraid that there would be spiders there, and there’s certain areas of the house I grew up in I couldn’t go in because there was spiders in there and that kind of thing and then I had several panic attacks flying when I was young and didn’t know what was wrong with me, and I was just kind of told to calm down and that I was being silly because the word anxiety wasn’t really used a lot, I think, when I was growing up at all.

John Bateman: 100%.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. And then it really kind of came to sort of a more debilitating place when I became a mother, because… Nowadays they call it postpartum depression and anxiety, but at the time it was just called postpartum depression, and I wasn’t actually depressed. I was very happy with my beautiful baby and doing quite well, but not doing well also because it basically…

My anxiety for this beautiful little being in my care just skyrocketed and it started to generalize from there. So it became like I got anxious driving on the highway, that kind of thing, and then I suddenly had to drive West [on the] Road instead of the highway, that kind of thing. So I started doing all the workarounds because of my anxiety.

John Bateman: Yeah. One of the questions that… I always say, my first question is your anxiety story. One of my second questions is almost invariably… The podcast should be called Our Anxiety Stories, and what were your first symptoms of anxiety because that’s what I’m really curious about. What… You know, you didn’t define it as anxiety, but what kind of physical or maybe even emotional symptoms did you have that now in retrospect, you knew were anxiety?

Kelda Logan: It’s totally in retrospect, but in the moment, I mean, I had the shortness of breath, the sweaty palms. I remember trying to drive on the highway and my palms were so sweaty, I had to keep wiping them on my pants as I was trying to drive down the highway and then I would slow down. I was one of those really annoying people who would not drive over 80 on the highway, and everyone else was like, yeah, mad at me. But yeah, just all… A lot of that, rapid heart rate, and I think a lot of, obviously, “what-if” thinking and getting caught up into what I call brain worms, scenario-izing to the point where it was just easier not to do something.

John Bateman: Yeah. Well, anxiety dwells in the future often, and of course one of the frustrating things about being human is not being able to predict the future and some of us deal with it better than others. I was never good at dealing with predicting the future. But yeah, what I’d like… I mean, you mentioned that you were definitely… You’ve had some phobias generated by anxiety.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: You’ve had anxiety limit the way you interact with the world. Have you found your way to get around a lot of that?

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: Obviously. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. I’m really happy to say that first of all, I can drive on the highway again. Yay. I mean, maybe not the 401…

John Bateman: At 80, or have you moved up to about 85 yet?

Kelda Logan: Oh no, I’m like a hundred.

John Bateman: Wow. Yes.

Kelda Logan: Yay.

John Bateman: Awesome.

Kelda Logan: And I can fly without needing to drug myself at all.

John Bateman: Flying was a big one for me.

Kelda Logan: Yeah, it’s a toughie.

John Bateman: Yeah.

Kelda Logan: So, I have been able to, I think, do a pretty good job of noticing, first of all, which was the big first step for me because it was so unconscious. I was just feeling the feeling I was feeling and then reacting immediately to that in a sort of panicky way that there was really no awareness at all that what I was experiencing was an actual panic attack or anxiety. It sounds so silly now, but literally it was so unconscious.

John Bateman: Yeah. For sure.

Kelda Logan: Now I’m more able to see that happening. I’m able to sort of see it coming.

John Bateman: Yeah.

Kelda Logan: I’m like, “Oh yeah, gee. My palms are sweaty as I’m driving again. Seems like it’s anxiety. Okay. What do we do when we get to that place?”

So, I think the things that helped me the most really was sort of developing a meditation/mindfulness practice and I was one of those people a long time ago that was like, “Oh, I can’t meditate. That’s not for me,” because I had a very preconceived idea of what meditation meant. I thought it meant having a clear, blank mind.

John Bateman: Right. yes. A common misconception.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. Right. So, I was like, the first time I sat down to try meditating, I noticed all my racing thoughts and I was like, “Well, I suck at this.”

John Bateman: Yeah, exactly. It’s a form of torture really.

Kelda Logan: It really was a form of torture, and every noise bothered me because I was, again, reaching for that perfect state that is very unachievable as a human being. So, what I decide… What I learned over time with more understanding and practice is that it’s not at all about achieving a state of no thoughts or feelings because we are actually human and that’s pretty much impossible, but what it is, is about noticing the thoughts and noticing the feelings and giving them space.

John Bateman: So yeah, I tried meditating in the common kind of way it’s defined. Sitting down and hover cross legged, fingertips touching one another, and all that kind of thing, and I had the same experience as you and I also found that I’m not… I guess I’m just… Maybe this is the reason I should meditate, but I’m just not patient enough to do that thing but what I ended up doing was I ended up reframing it and started to engage in things that were meditative and the most common one they throw out there is doing the dishes. It’s like you’re focused on that one thing and you’re just doing that and there’s some sensory stuff happening. So, I started doing that, and that really works better for me than actual sitting down meditation. So, people have to really experiment with that kind of thing, with whatever tools work go through that.

Kelda Logan: Absolutely. I mean, you can bring mindfulness to absolutely every moment for life, whether it’s washing dishes or going for a walk or sitting down and doing a meditation practice. It doesn’t really matter so it’s just about that quality of mind that you bring to the moment. And it’s true. Cooking, chopping vegetables, mopping the floor, all of those things and actually even driving now are mindful for me.

John Bateman: Oh yeah. I love driving because yeah, I’m focusing on doing this thing, but there still is train of thought that enters and exits because I am ultimately distracted by that key point of having to survive while you’re driving, stay on the road, go the right speed, et cetera, et cetera. So yeah, those are super helpful ways to look at it. I want to quickly ask you about your role as an educator.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: What do you do? What have you done historically, and what do you do now in terms of being an educator?

Kelda Logan: Well, that was something I started to notice, especially when I went into the elementary, because kids just wear their hearts on their sleeve when they’re little, and I was suddenly noticing panic attacks, very serious anxiety over simple things like transitions, just going into an assembly or even bigger things like fire drills, major anxiety and I was like, “This isn’t good. We need to do something about it,” and you and I both know that being told to calm down and it’ll be fine is not that helpful.

John Bateman: If only it was that easy.

Kelda Logan: If only. Yeah, sure. I would calm down if I knew how. So I actually started in our whole school meetings, which are the new way of calling it an assembly.

John Bateman: You’re right. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: I started leading group mindful practice.

John Bateman: Oh, amazing.

Kelda Logan: The whole school. And it was great. I researched, as best as I could, practices that make sense to children, that are accessible to children. So for example, there’s like the five finger breath where you breathe in and breathe out and breathe in and breathe out, using things that are immediately accessible to them and that are easy for them to follow and I’ve been told by parents that their kids have suddenly, in a moment of family stress, pulled out their hand and started finger breathing.

John Bateman: Amazing.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. So really neat. Yeah. So we did a whole bunch of just group practices. We start the week that way and then we would do it also in staff meetings sometimes so that teachers would get a little extra practice and could bring—

John Bateman: Oh my gosh. Yeah. So you’re saying this was at a elementary level or middle…

Kelda Logan: Yeah. Elementary.

John Bateman: Yeah. Teachers would need to practice that as well.

Kelda Logan: It’s a very stressful job.

John Bateman: No kidding. No, I mean, that’s amazing to have people in place like you that are actually … Because I really feel like the earliest years are the most important years to start establishing those habits. With my kids, mental health was just always part of the discussion because I wear mental health on my sleeve. You can tell if I’m depressed or anxious, you can read it on my face immediately so of course the kids would naturally have questions and I would tell them the absolute truth. So they really understand more. It takes the pressure way off me and it gives them an idea of this is what can happen to people, too. So, that’s really amazing.

John Bateman: One of the things that you talked about earlier that I found kind of curious and happens a lot was this idea of … Well, first of all, I’ve only heard it called postpartum depression. I’ve never heard, and I never thought anxiety counted, but it’s got to count because those two, anxiety and depression, are constantly arm in arm.

Kelda Logan: They are. They’re friends.

John Bateman: Skipping down the garden path.

Kelda Logan: Yeah, they are.

John Bateman: Right. So when you experienced that, what kind… Was this anxiety generated by, “Oh no, I have this pressure that I have to raise this little child,” or, “Oh no, I have to protect this child from everything that’s dangerous.” I’m curious to know how you’re being affected by that new… All of a sudden that new responsibility and that new real human presence in your house.

Kelda Logan: I mean, I thought I loved my dog, and then your baby’s born and it’s like being hit by a 10 ton truck. The love that you feel is so, at least for me, was so immediate and so intense and with it came this huge thing, responsibility, the sense that nobody on this planet loves this baby as much as me and that’s big. It was a–

John Bateman: And that’s absolutely true.

Kelda Logan: It’s true but it felt like as much as it was really wonderful, it did feel to me like a big source of anxiety, a big weight.

John Bateman: Oh, definitely. Definitely.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. I talked to my midwife really briefly about it and she said that it was normal because basically we’re the successful result of 10,000 generations of women who’ve birthed their babies and the not anxious ones got eaten by hyenas on the Serengeti because they’re just left out there and the more anxious ones passed on their genes. So that I did understand but it seemed like other moms out there were able to drive on the highway and function in a way that I really wasn’t able to and I did fail my screen, even though it’s, because they do the postpartum screening, and I failed it. I think I got three out of 10. And I was like, “But I’m not sad.”

John Bateman: Right. Yeah. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: So I was confused at the time, but I think it was a lot of things. I think I was overwhelmed. I think I had the usual … I don’t know about you, but for me perfectionism is definitely like modus operandi so everything has to be perfect and as you and I both know now that we’re a little bit older, there’s no such thing as being a perfect parent. It’s really hard and you fail over and over again.

John Bateman: Yeah. Well, we’re not presented with what we expect to be presented with.

Kelda Logan: No.

John Bateman: When both my kids were… When my first, my daughter, was born, the very first moment I looked at her, I was like, “I’m in big trouble,” because this is not part me and part my wife, this is like 100% her and what am I dealing with?

Kelda Logan: Yes.

John Bateman: And she’s 20 now and it’s still unfolding.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: I still don’t know exactly what I’m dealing with because they are fluid as well.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. Absolutely.

John Bateman: Yeah. So, children definitely do throw a curve ball, aside from having a chemical level postpartum depression or whatever, it’s still a curve ball. I was really interested to hear you mention your perception of other parents, which of course we all do.

We all compare, and I ran into that as a parent too, like, “Oh my gosh. This person, they’re going camping this weekend. They’re in athletics here, they’re doing art here. Their child won the Nobel Prize a couple years ago,” and I’m thinking, “I’m just failing miserably. I’m going to make a child, a human, who’s going to have no idea how to function in society,” and we are… My message to people out there playing that comparison game… You’re wrong.

Kelda Logan: It’s true. Yeah. They’re not perfect either.

John Bateman: No.

Kelda Logan: Because nobody wins the parenting game, I don’t think. It’s not about that. I think for me, there was the chemical part as well, but there was also, I think, I did not know.. how do you identify what was going on with me and then also ask for help.

John Bateman: Yeah.

Kelda Logan: So, I had no idea that I was struggling and that if I just said to somebody, “Could you come and hold the baby so I could have a shower,” that would’ve been great.

John Bateman: And did you get to that point? Did you get to a point where you’re like, “I’m going to find help,” or did you muscle your way through it?

Kelda Logan: I struggled through, man.

John Bateman: Wow. That’s incredible.

Kelda Logan: I look back now and wish that I’d been a bit more gentle with myself and just more aware so that I could have asked for help because I know people would’ve helped me.

John Bateman: Yeah.

Kelda Logan: No, I was just muscling through.

John Bateman: So, do you think there was a sense of pride about that, a sense of… I feel, and I want to say, and I don’t want this to be too much of a generalization, but I feel like moms definitely have a different amount of pressure that they put on themselves and it’s expected of them, than dads do.

Kelda Logan: Totally.

John Bateman: There’s some reality to the perception that dad’s come in and have fun, and I tackle hard stuff with my kids too, but I didn’t have a child hanging off my breast for one to two years.

Kelda Logan: I had two years of that times two because I had two kids, and also, I think… I don’t know if this is just being a product of a child in the eighties, but I had this ‘Super Mom’ thing that I thought I had to be, that is not helpful. My mom entered… She did a degree and work, but then she took 15 years off to raise the family and then went back to her career, whereas that wasn’t even remotely an option for me. So, it was like, “Oh, I can do it all. I can run the house, look after the babies, breastfeed them for two years, run a school, you name it, I got this,” but I didn’t have it and so that’s where things started to get really tough for me.

John Bateman: What a tremendous amount of pressure that people put on themselves.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: And I really feel like those moms and those parents that you see out there that look like they’re perfect or look like they’re perfection, the chances are they’re suffering. Chances are they’re feeling a lot of pressure and somehow getting through it.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: I think unfortunately it all comes back to bite us in one form or the other and like you talked about asking for help or talking to somebody, I think that’s like, that’s a huge thing to be able to do and it shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness.

Kelda Logan: No.

John Bateman: Or a sign that you’re not–

Kelda Logan: Right?

John Bateman: Yeah, that you’re not a good mom. This whole pressure of parenting is just astronomical and now it’s such a different game. You and I both grew up in the eighties and I have a hard time coaching my kids about what to do with screens.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: All they’ve known and I think there’s just–

Kelda Logan: We all struggle with that.

John Bateman: Yeah, and I think this is part of the evolution for good or for bad. It’s part of the evolution. But yeah.

Kelda Logan: But you’re right. The expectations for parenting are different. My parent’s way, which was totally normal at the time, was to kick us out the door and we would come back at dinner and if we came back before dinner, they’d kind of ask us why we were there. Just go and play in the neighborhood and go away. So there was… We figured it out, for good or bad, out there.

John Bateman: Oh, totally. Same with us. I wonder where that changed, if that’s a cultural thing where all of a sudden, it’s not safe.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. I think that’s totally it.

John Bateman: Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s not safe.

Kelda Logan: Agreed. I don’t know either.

John Bateman: Because when I was out there, I grew up in a town that was transitioning from industrial to more gentrified, and it was run and gun. It was insanity out there and I somehow–

Kelda Logan: Playing in the dirt out there.

John Bateman: I somehow survived but one thing we were, as kids, is we were really savvy and we were really… We knew how to… We knew who to… We learned who to trust, who to not trust and all those things just on our own and–

Kelda Logan: Totally.

John Bateman: I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s … It’s hard for me to say because I’m not a kid growing up in this era, but I never wanted to raise my kids being afraid of the world, let’s just put it that way.

Kelda Logan: Me neither.

John Bateman: Yeah. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: Totally.

John Bateman: And I’m not saying that’s easy. It’s not an easy thing to do. Where I live, and where you live also, we’re in what I would say slightly more safe environment. My kids were out in the woods all day basically naked. I don’t remember really wearing clothes.

Kelda Logan: No. My boys finally put clothes on, I think at six years old.

John Bateman: Yeah, yeah and in the woods, bare feet, streams and cliffs and they’re thriving and wonderful now.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: I’d like to switch to your cancer diagnosis.

Kelda Logan: Absolutely.

John Bateman: Yeah. Because I have historically and for a long time struggled with health anxiety, to the point where it’s like… I had it to the point where it was any little twinge, any little thing… So, health anxiety is a big thing. You’re kind on the other side of that. I mean, not on the other side, but you have obviously received a diagnosis.

If you don’t mind, maybe tell us a little bit about that and what that experience has been like for you.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. For sure. That actually came out of the blue for me. I was not expect… I thought… I never questioned whether I was healthy because I was one of those people who jogged frequently, went to the gym, tried to eat the way that they said to eat as much as possible, I didn’t smoke or drink, just all of those things so it never occurred to me that… and there’s no family history for breast cancer in my family either so I wasn’t expecting that. So, what happened was I found a lump, went and got it assessed, and they told me that it was fine. So, two years went by without me knowing…

John Bateman: Wow.

Kelda Logan: … It was actually breast cancer. It’s kind of common for people with dense breast tissue to go missed, to have that happen so now they’re a bit more careful. Anyways, so out of the blue, I couldn’t believe it, but I went back because the lump was still there and then they did a biopsy and I found out in my office at school that I had breast cancer and so that was almost the second time I think in my life where I felt like I was hit by a truck because it really changes everything about how you see things. We’re supposed to live in the moment. We’re supposed to not wait. We’re supposed to enjoy life, drink the good coffee, wear your pearls, use the good China, but we don’t. We always have that “when” condition…

John Bateman: I’d like to note that you’re wearing pearls right now.

Kelda Logan: Yes, I am.

John Bateman: Okay. Sorry.

Kelda Logan: No, on purpose.

John Bateman: Yeah. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: So anyway, yeah. So, it was very shocking and of course you are… It’s that future thinking that starts to kick in about, “What does this mean for my future? What am I going to do?” and I thought… At the time, my original diagnosis was for a certain type of breast cancer, and it was staged at stage two, which generally has pretty good outcomes with it. However, unbeknownst to me, I think I had two breast cancers and only one was detected…

John Bateman: Wow.

Kelda Logan: … Which isn’t very common. So, the first one was treated and then the second one wasn’t treated and so it just grew and grew and so then two years later I got re-diagnosed with breast cancer, with a different type and a whole new set of treatments and whatnot.

John Bateman: Right.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. And I do have that health anxiety, so my partner’s sick of me going, “Okay, do you feel a lump there? What does that… because it hurts.” Obviously when you’ve had … I’ve had three surgeries; I’ve had chemo and radiation so my whole shoulder area is just like toast and so it constantly hurts and I also live with the anxiety that the cancer will recur because that’s a possibility of course and so really it’s just about using those tools that I got from learning how to drive on the highway again and flying again and all that stuff. So, it’s like, oh, there’s that brain worm thought that I have where I’m thinking that this pain equals cancer when…

John Bateman: Right. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: … You and I both know that that may not be the case. There’s lots of other–

John Bateman: Highly likely it’s not the case.

Kelda Logan: Highly likely given that I just had a scan that said that I was doing pretty good.

John Bateman: Yeah. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. So really, it’s just about, again, trying not to scenario-ize, trying not to be in the future all the time and just trying to just touch in with what I know right now.

John Bateman: Yeah. Going back to your phone call, when you got that phone call, I assume it was a phone call.
Kelda Logan: It was a phone call.

John Bateman: All I’m curious about is did that feel like a new kind of… I assume you were hit by anxiety. I assume you–

Kelda Logan: Oh yes.

John Bateman: … Had a rush or a flush of absolute panic and anxiety.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: Did it feel different than what you had experienced before?

Kelda Logan: A little bit, yeah. It was almost not quite dissociative, but it was very much like reality was not quite reality as I’m normally used to it. What happened was they called me in my office and said, “You need to come in today and you need to bring someone and they need to be able to take notes,” which is obviously breast cancer.

John Bateman: Yep. There’s a red flag definitely going up.

Kelda Logan: So, I actually couldn’t handle being at work, and I didn’t think it was fair to people at work for me to stay so I left.

John Bateman: Right. Of course not. Of course not.

Kelda Logan: But I had three hours until my appointment, so I walked around with my partner and we just kind of were sad, and we walked around and we were just… My breath was really, really tight and I sort of felt floaty, if you know what I mean, and then when I was in the doctor’s office and it was all confirmed, yeah. It got very… I can’t even describe what that was like, but basically, it’s almost like the world just shrinks a little bit.

John Bateman: Yeah. Yeah.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: Would you say that the experience, once you got the doctor’s… Which was harder? The experience… The three hours before or when you were in the doctor’s office because I’m trying to tap into that anticipatory anxiety piece.

Kelda Logan: I don’t know.

John Bateman: That we’ll get into.

Kelda Logan: They’re different, but both of them suck.

John Bateman: Yeah, of course. Of course, they do.

Kelda Logan: It’s not fun being told you have cancer and it’s also not fun being pretty sure that you have cancer, waiting for test results and actually throughout my cancer journey, some of the hardest parts is that anticipatory part.

John Bateman: Yeah.

Kelda Logan: Because you move from… You only get little snippets of information along the way so there’s the initial diagnosis and then there’s, well, a three-week break before you get the doctor’s appointment with your oncologist and then you’ve got a two week break before you get your scan or your test or begin treatment. That whole time your brain is going into that future dark place that it goes to sometimes, so…

John Bateman: When you were… Okay, you mentioned that you did have health anxiety.

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: When you had health anxiety, did you ever go to the point of anticipating what that scenario would be like? When you went to that point of fear, hypothetically before you found out you had breast cancer, do you remember doing that? Because I’m curious what… Because there’s this difference. To me, there’s a difference between what people anticipate… How people anticipate they’re going to react and how people actually react.

Kelda Logan: Right.

John Bateman: So, I’m curious if you have any gauge of that or if you didn’t really go that far.

Kelda Logan: No, I didn’t go that far.

John Bateman: Right. Right.

Kelda Logan: But I know the things that I do. One of my coping mechanisms is I click into overdrive, like ‘Super Mom’ comes out and I’d like power clean, and I make a million phone calls to set up, phone call… Just like appointments and I start to research and read and that is one of my–

John Bateman: And you found that helpful?

Kelda Logan: Yeah, it’s really like a fight or flight response for me, I think. Even though it seems very proactive, it’s not… It can be intense sometimes, but I guess there’s a proactiveness to it.

John Bateman: Yeah, totally. It seems to me that that is a coping mechanism that would be good for a lot of anxiety-inducing scenarios, and I certainly do that and I take it as gaining some control in a situation I don’t have control in.

Kelda Logan: Oh, totally.

John Bateman: And when you take that control, that really helps alleviate, because I’ve done everything I can do.

Kelda Logan: Yes, totally.

John Bateman: Setting up appointments, talking to friends, researching, getting good sleep, whatever it is. I feel like that’s… It doesn’t sound like… It sounds like a completely rational and very helpful way to do things because I know with me historically with anxiety or depression, sometimes I just completely turn inward and I do nothing and that just feeds into not being able to cope with the future but what you’re talking about, like preparing, I think is an excellent way to deal with not just what you’re going through, but maybe going… Like with me. I still do. I don’t like traveling. I have anxiety about travelling.

Kelda Logan: Me too.

John Bateman: And so, I pack like a week in advance.

Kelda Logan: Yeah, me too.

John Bateman: I get everything set up so I don’t have to think about it the day of or the night before. Those are the two worst times and that kind of prep and that kind of taking control, I think really helps and you do it, you do it, or you did it instinctively.

Kelda Logan: Yeah, for sure. I did and I’m pleased to say that I’m also at the place in my life where I am aware that I’m doing it and I’m also sometimes able to just… I don’t… Just know that at some point I have to give up some control here.

John Bateman: Of course.

Kelda Logan: I can’t control whether my cancer’s going to come back or not. I can’t control the plane because I don’t know how to fly and so those kinds of things, so there has to be that moment of sort of wisdom now where I hand it on over to someone else.

John Bateman: And you have no choice in many cases.

Kelda Logan: No.

John Bateman: And what I think is good is to recognize that you have no choice and there’s freedom in not having choice because I … You know, you mentioned that with the airplane, because all my fear of flying came from anticipation before the flight. When I got on the flight, I had zero anxiety.

Kelda Logan: Right.

John Bateman: Because I had relinquished control.

Kelda Logan: Right.

John Bateman: So, then I just made that leap. I’m like, “Well, if I’m not anxious on the flight, then I’m not going to bother being anxious before the flight. I’ve committed to going, I’m going to go. That’s the end of it.”

Kelda Logan: Yeah.

John Bateman: So yeah, there’s a lot… The techniques that you’ve developed instinctively are astonishing. It’s really incredible because… Well, no, I’m serious because a lot of people they don’t. I’ve taught… I’ve done interviews with people specifically who don’t have anxiety and the reason is because I want to know why. They have–

Kelda Logan: How can you be that way?

John Bateman: They have all the same stimulus that we get, but they have, like you say, the way of discounting negative thoughts, the ways of planning, the ways of taking care of themselves, sleeping or diet or whatever, and they instinctively have it. I really am angry at them for instinctively having it. That’s–

Kelda Logan: So unfair.

John Bateman: I wanted that. I wanted to instinctively have that. But I feel like, and maybe you’ve experienced this too, but with my mental health journey, it’s definitely… It’s made me a stronger, more resilient person than I ever would’ve been and so that’s like trying to pull… That’s the classic, trying to find a silver lining.

Kelda Logan: Totally. I know. I know. There’s so many times I would love to go back with the knowledge that I have now and do a whole bunch of redo’s in my life. That would sure be great. But really, you’re right. If you’re looking for a silver lining, the main one is that, yeah, I’m more aware and more resilient now, so that’s what I’ve got.

John Bateman: Well, the beauty of being a parent is we gather all this wisdom and all this knowledge and we pass it on to our teenagers and they don’t listen and they have to make the mistake anyway.

Kelda Logan: 100%. Yes. I know.

John Bateman: I try.

Kelda Logan: Yeah. Yep. It’s true. But I mean, I recall also not listening to my parents and thinking–

John Bateman: Oh yeah. What do they know?

Kelda Logan: … What they were talking about as well, so yeah. So fair enough. It’s karma.

John Bateman: Yeah. I think you have to make your own mistakes in many cases, unfortunately. But honestly, it sounds like you really haven’t made many mistakes, Kelda. I can’t express how wonderful it’s been talking to you. This has just been a great story. It’s been so fun to hear and so fun to talk to you. I obviously know you.

Kelda Logan: Yes.

John Bateman: From around, and to know this extra level with you is fabulous for me, so thanks so much for taking the time today to talk to us about your anxiety story.

Kelda Logan: Well, thanks for inviting me and letting me share and for being such a fantastic host.

John Bateman: Oh, well thank you. We’ll see you at the coffee shop.

Kelda Logan: Yep. I’ll be there. You know that.

John Bateman: Okay. Take care, Kelda.

Kelda Logan: Okay. See ya.

John Bateman: Okay.

Outro: Thank you for listening to #OurAnxietyStories. If you’d like to support this podcast or Anxiety Canada, go to AnxietyCanada.com.