|A poem I wrote in April|
A time to reflect on what's coming and what has passed.
I won't lie.
2016 was not the greatest year of my life. In fact, it is probably in the top 3 of worst years ever.
It wasn't all bad. The year started well. Winter and spring were good.
There was time with my family. There was CancerCon. There were good days for sure.
But spring turned into summer. And everything seemed to fall apart.
I think my 5 year anniversary of diagnosis might have set it off. Or maybe just life in general. Or maybe a medicine I take. Or maybe nothing. Maybe it was meant to be.
But quickly, before I could realize what was going on, things seemed to spiral down, down, down, and when I thought it couldn't go any lower, it did.
I knew I was in a bad place. I tried to fight it - I did. But I reached the point where I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. I thought how much easier it would be to just lay in bed and not get up. That was all. I just wanted to stay in bed. I didn't want to parent. I didn't want to cook. I didn't want to clean. I didn't want to read. I didn't want to knit. I didn't want to watch tv or stream anything. I didn't want to shower. I didn't want to do anything, but stay in bed.
Thankfully, each morning I was able to talk myself into getting up and doing the absolute minimum of things I needed to do.
I was also at this time having issues with medicine that caused a lot of pain. I was getting migraines. My iron dropped again.
So I would get up, do what needed to be done, and then nap.
I was truly exhausted. I was truly in pain. I was truly burned out.
I also realized that I was truly depressed.
Pain, depression, disease, anxiety - there's a circle there can feed on itself once it's started that can be very hard to stop.
There was also grief and guilt and feelings of inadequacy. I felt this surge of anger. I was mad. At everyone. At everything.
But mostly myself and mostly cancer. Everything cancer took from me, every side effect cancer gave me, everything I couldn't do, every time my body hurt, every time I had to say no I can't do that. There was anger. And anger. And even more anger.
That's when I knew this couldn't be fixed by me alone or fixed with sheer will.
So I went to a therapist.
And I went to a doctor.
And I talked.
And I started medicine.
And I was diagnosed with PTSD that includes depression and anxiety.
Is it all helping?
Yes. It is.
There's a lot to unpack.
It doesn't get fixed overnight.
And there's still the medical side of things: pain, low iron, fatigue, stomach issues, migraines.
Basically, I mostly feel like I'm a hot mess.
I haven't talked about it much. I haven't talked about it with many people.
Honestly, I feel like a failure. I feel like I don't have a right to have PTSD. I feel afraid that if I share, people will treat me differently. I worry people will think I can't be a good mother through this. I feel ashamed.
Of course, now it's a new year! And it's time for a new beginning!
This doesn't end because the calendar changed.
I don't suddenly cast out all my demons because it's a new day.
I'll keep doing what I'm doing though.
Except, I won't hide it as much.
I'll try to wash the shame away.
I'll try to remember that life is hard and beautiful and complicated and wonderful and awful and bittersweet and full of moments that take your breath away from awe and sometimes from pain.
I'll try to remember compassion - for myself and for others.
I'll try to remember love - for myself and for others.
And I'll try to remember patience - for myself and others.
I'm not sure what 2017 will hold in store for me.
I'm not sure where I'll be standing 12 months from now.
I feel pretty confident though that I'll be doing my best to do whatever it is I'm doing then.
That I'll still be working through this huge bag of emotions. That I'll be trying my best to be as healthy as I can. And that where I am in life is where I am, and that I'll still be learning to not focus on where I think I should be.