I was all set this week to write a piece on taking care of yourself and why we struggle to do this when, out of the blue, the ugly reality of my treatment hit me full on. From seemingly nowhere this overwhelming sense of sadness and tiredness came over me and I couldn’t shake it off. I draw on a lot of strength and emotion to get through some of the days at the moment. Normally I “enjoy” getting ready to face the world and do my best to show up the best I can. Yesterday I was fed up with having to put in so much effort, mentally, physically and emotionally. It seemed that when I looked in the mirror the cancer was laughing at me, mocking me and asking me why do you bother? Yes, my body is going through a lot and it shows.
I couldn’t brush it off with positive self talk, being grateful or reminding myself there are others worse off. It didn’t seem like I had any other choice except to let it all out. So I did, the floodgates opened and out it came. Like a torrential river, out poured all the emotions that had been building up while I was busy dealing with the treatment. My husband simply sat with me, held me through it and we let the river run its course. Someone once told me tears are a sign of healing. If this true I did a lot of healing yesterday!
After a while it ran dry and for all the things that cancer can do; like change your body, rob you of your hair, hijack your emotions there are things it cannot do. It cannot cripple our love, shatter our hope, silence my courage or conquer my spirit. By just accepting and expressing the feelings we were able to remind ourselves of that. Within the hour we were having a good laugh about the mess I had made of Rich’s good shorts with all my crying!
So why do I share this with you? For no other reason than to say it’s OK not to be OK. Sometimes all the positive psychology is not enough when life is tough and throwing a lot of c**p your way. What you need to do is give voice to the emotions so that you are in control of them and not the other way around. Overtime the emotional scars left untreated can be as devastating as the physical ones. And also to encourage all of us to learn to be with someone in that moment without feeling the need to do or say anything. Trust me that is all they need. Sometimes this is the answer, release those emotions so that you can dust yourself down and get back in the fight again. In this roller coaster called life these days are just as real as the good days, in fact they are the true reflection of your strength.