Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Iain S. Thomas
Each time I leave a hospital consultation, my heart and my head go on the same journey. I’m faced again with a new ailment or shattering news. Each time I grieve, I grieve for me. It makes me wonder what I’ve done to deserve such ill health, it makes me play detective as I replay my life choices and look for due cause. I can accept anything if I’m given the opportunity to try to understand but I feel I’m denied this right by Mother Nature her self. I can’t explain the heartbreak and despair that follows, the endless nights of anxiety and the countless hours of fury.
I follow the cycle of grief each time first is denial, during this stage I become numb. I act overly positive and it’s usually me who doesn’t want to talk about the events or I refuse to allow it to catch up with me. I keep busy and try carrying out tasks which are outside my limits. Then the anger hits me, during this stage I hate everyone, even those I love. I hate seeing people out living their lives achieving what I could have. I feel bitter, I want to be left alone but at the same time I’m scared to be left alone. Once the anger has passed, I start to bargain. During this process I feel like I want an explanation or to make a compromise with the powers that be. I want to know ‘why me’ or ‘please allow me to…’ knowing I won’t get any answers or I won’t be cured leads to intense feelings of depression and low self esteem. I feel incompetent and have very little worth. I feel that I just exist, that no one misses me or they wouldn’t miss my contribution. Eventually comes acceptance, although this isn’t always positive, in my circumstance it usually means accepting deterioration, pain, break down/strain of relationships.
Imagine going through the cycle above 2/3 times a day, usually due to accepting I can’t carry out a task such as cleaning the apartment or walking the dogs. Then at dinner time seeing that none of my friends have wished me a happy birthday and then trying to explain why you don’t feel well enough to attend your birthday party. Day in day out the cycle becomes my arch nemesis. During long days he’s also my only friend. Sometimes, there’s only so many times you can go through this cycle without loosing your mind.
I believe in the last few months I’ve not come out the depression. Life’s felt bleak, monotone in fact. I’ve struggled to find a purpose, a rhythm and routine. I’ve felt like a record stuck on repeat. My thoughts and fears controlling my functioning. I feel like I never put myself first. I’m the girl that if you need her she’d be there regardless to the fact she’s not slept for 3 nights, took her maximum amount of morphine for the day and just had a bout of incontinance in the supermarket picking you out some flowers. I don’t want credit for that because those are my choices and aren’t necessarily anything to be proud off because putting everyone else’s thoughts and feelings before my own is getting me down. I feel like I have to be on parr with everyone else or I’m a failure.
It’s took me a long time to realise that if I’m going to get through this life, I need to be happy. To love anyone else, I firstly need to learn how to love me. I need to learn how to feel comfortable in my own skin again, feel confident and sexy, own what I’ve got! I need to learn how to look at myself in the mirror and not cry at my stoma, scars and tumours. I need to be confident in what I like and stick with it.
Equally, I need to learn that life isn’t always going to go my way but that doesn’t always mean it’s a negative. It’s okay for me to cancel plans if I don’t feel up to them and I need to stop explaining myself as explaining my difficulties leads to the cycle of grief. It’s okay for me to compromise. It’s okay for me to get frustrated. If you don’t hear from me in a while send me a message, I don’t ever want to be old news. Please don’t punish me for cancelling plans or not wanting to do something I know will cause a flare up for my health. I’m not cancelling because I’ve got better plans, can’t be bothered or being a diva; it’s because it’ll cause me to be bed bound for a week or an A&E trip. When I cancel I’m my own worst enemy, I’ll emotionally tear myself to pieces but I’m starting to learn it’s okay to listen to my body and do things for me. Yes I’ll be frustrated I missed out but I’ll be proud I over rode the desire to impress and please others and care for me. Yes, I’m disabled and I want to be 23 but sometimes I need adjustments. It’s impossible for me to wear a skin tight dress in high heels, get drunk and stand up all night it triggers my grief cycle.
For now I’m going to enjoy living in the moment and practice my new mantras