Rising Above my Darkest Moment

Reflecting back to where I began to lose myself, it looks like any other awkward teenage existence. But it was different. I was depressed and lived day by day, pretending that everything was fine. I would spend hours alone in my room listening to music, inventing an alter ego if you will. I would imagine a different life, that I was a different person and I would invent this persona down to the very finest detail. And there I would “live” until it was time to go to work, eat dinner, or I just left my room for some other reason.

That’s where I was my happiest, when I was pretending to be someone else. Sad, I know but that was my happy place, where I didn’t have depression. Don’t misunderstand me, I did have friends, but they weren’t interested in me, not really. They were there to hang out or whatever, but I NEVER confided in anyone about my depression or my desire to be someone else. Really I just wanted someone to notice me, to take an interest in my life, however, I hadn’t done that for anyone else. So what did I expect?

As I graduated from High School, my friends list got smaller but they were good friends. There were a couple that I really loved and still do, even though we have lost touch. One of them was a guy (no we were never romantic) and he was my very best friend. As we got older he would give his approval/disapproval on who I dated, but only when I pressed him to be honest. He really took an interest in my life and I his. He was very special to me and part of the reason I am still here today. (Yes, I know that sounded dark.)

There was a very real darkness in my life at one point. I sat on my bed and dumped a bottle of pills on the blanket. I sat and looked at them and believed that I wouldn’t be sad anymore and no one else would really be affected if I swallowed them all. I really believed that. The adversary and his darkness had tricked me into believing I would be better off. However, God had plans for me and His power is much much greater. I thought about my friend and knew he would be hurt, but he would be okay I knew he would (wouldn’t he?) Then….I had a clear picture in my mind. My mom would be the one to find me, and it would be devastating. I just could NOT do that to her. I could not hurt her that way.

I put all the pills back in the bottle and set it on my dresser. That was my only, real suicidal thought, never again did it enter my mind. I had (with God’s help) defeated the adversary in that category. Now 20+ years later, I am working at defeating that bastard every day of my life. Some days better than others, but isn’t that life? 😉

 

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Coping One Day at A Time

I’m still not moving around like my former self. I make lunch for the kiddos and prepare my own small meals, but that’s about it. I still rest a lot and do a lot of thinking. (Which isn’t always the best.) I’m believing my HER2 results come back on Monday. My first test was inconclusive, so they had to test a portion of the tumor they removed. What that means for me is I do a lot of research on the type of cancer I had and what each test shows. I did all of this prior to my mastectomy, but I feel empowered somehow by gaining more knowledge.

I’ve been able to move my arm some, but I am surprised at my range of motion, or should I say lack thereof. I wasn’t really expecting how much my entire body would be affected by the surgery. Because of the DIEP Flap procedure, my back is very sore and I can only stand/walk for short periods of time. What I really want is to go to the gym and be normal. I don’t feel normal at all, part of me feels broken. It’s not because of the mastectomy (at least I don’t think so) but because of the cancer. Although I am now cancer free, I feel more affected by it now than when I was first diagnosed in November. Yes, I kicked its ugly, nasty ass, but there’s this gnawing feeling that lingers just under the surface. I feel like it is so close to the surface that everyone can see it, but it lies just below where it tempts me to succumb to its trap.   I fight back in my mind and remind myself that I am indeed cancer-free, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts completely. Each day I allow myself time to reflect for just a bit, but when the emotions seem too much, I turn it off and redirect my focus. I’m not sure that’s the best, but for today…it’s okay.

Day 12 With My Foob

I’m 12 days post mastectomy. I’m feeling stronger everyday and getting around a little better. They removed the drains yesterday, and that made a big difference in how I get around. I’m finding sleeping to be difficult now, but I’m not sure why. Yes, I’m physically uncomfortable at times, but sometimes….I’m just uneasy. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I just don’t feel peaceful. My recovery is going well and I talk to God all the time, so there really isn’t anything to be un-peaceful about. I am so thankful for my life and for my family, and most of all for God’s love and grace. I have nothing to complain about…NOTHING! Now, that isn’t to say there aren’t things that I would like to complain about. 😉

After I received my diagnosis (I mean when I got in the car to leave the doctor’s office) I started making calls to the referred physicians, and made appointments. It helped me feel proactive, but of course there was a wait to see any specialists. That part kind of sucked, but it worked out great! My mom was able to fly in before any appointments and went to meet each doctor with me. My husband works insanely long hours and sometimes hours away from our home, so having my mom help was amazing. Would I have liked my husband there? Of course! He is my first choice, but for me there was a sense of guilt. I had this horrible disease that was going to affect our entire family. I wanted to make it as easy on them as humanly possible. Don’t judge me…I felt guilty for having cancer. My appointments, my moods, my energy level affected everything. My husband was incredibly supportive, but bottom line, somehow this was my fault and I felt guilt. When I really think about it, I still do. 😦

I spent the next few weeks going from doctor to doctor, learning about my options, and having a zillion tests run. On my way to my CT scan, I told a friend that with all this radiation, I was going to end up getting cancer. It was the first time a could smile about all the tests and results and numbers and….sigh.

With God’s help, we completed all my tests and appointments in time for my family to fly in for Thanksgiving. (This was planned months prior). Of course everyone tipped-toed around the subject, that is until my MIL (who lives with us) said one of the stupidest things I’ve heard. When I’m with my dad we usually drink a nice wine. Well, MIL wanted some and added water to it. We teased her that we would have gotten her a lighter rose wine.

Here’s the convo:

MIL: I’m 67 years old, so I can do whatever I want and you can’t tease me.

Me: I’m not 67 years old and still “choose” to do whatever I want.

MIL: No, you do whatever you want because of another “C” word.

OMG!!! The entire room went quiet, and my brother pipes up and says that I’ve been doing what I wanted long before this came along. 😉 I was a little embarrassed and of course the guilt crept back in. I know she was kidding, but my heart sank for a moment, at the thought that people would treat me differently. I just wanted to be me. I’m believing through this journey I will find that person again, and maybe be even better than before.

 

Where I’m Coming From

I have recently decided to begin my memoirs as they pertain to my struggle with anxiety, depression and my desire to reinvent myself. I no longer want to pretend to be someone else. I want to learn to love who I am and have confidence in the fact that I AM A SON of GOD!!! This is an introduction of sorts. It gives you the basics of where I am coming from and where I want to go.

Warning for this post and those to follow on this topic: Possible Trigger Warning!

I found myself recently, realizing that I wasn’t all that “happy”. I wasn’t sad per se, but I felt trapped inside my own prison.  A prison that I myself built and continue to keep myself imprisoned.  I realize that everyone has their struggles, and that it is a part of life and I accept that. However, I do more than struggle; I battle. I have real mental battles with myself. I argue, scream, and sometimes fight to exhaustion, but it’s all with myself.

I know what is right and wrong, what is positive believing and what is negative. I tell myself ALL DAY LONG the positives, but for some reason it doesn’t stick. I have to change my mind on a regular basis throughout the day, but those pesky thoughts and the need to be accepted continue to find the cracks in my mind and sneak in. The more I gave thought to this, the more I realized that I have such a strong need to feel accepted. It’s ridiculous to my logical mind, but it truly is a prison that I have to escape.

I tried desperately to explain this to my husband, after 20 years of “sweeping it under the rug.” But if you haven’t experienced something like this, it is almost impossible to understand the struggle. I told him that it’s been like this for most of my life, and I am too exhausted to try and keep it hid any longer. I explained that I have always pretended to be someone else in order to feel what I thought was acceptance. I truly felt that I needed to be a certain way in order “fit in”. I can go on and on and blame the high school cliques or my “so-called” friends, but the truth is, it’s my own lack of confidence that has made this such a prominent aspect of my thought patterns.

I had my own parents convinced that I was a well-adjusted, popular teen that had a lot of friends and enjoyed life. When the reality was, at 18 I was seconds away from ending my existence.  I wanted nothing more to do with this uneventful, miserable life. I was lonely and spent the majority of my time alone, pretending to be someone else. At the time, I thought nothing of it; I would always play pretend during my childhood. However, now I was a teenager and I still would play these games. Looking back, I feel a little pathetic, but the reality was I just wanted to be someone people loved and looked up to. As an adult reflecting on this, I don’t think I was ever not accepted; I think I just wanted more out of life and didn’t have the confidence to stand up and reach for it.  I think as an adult, I still fight the same battle. I never published my book, after 18 years because of what people might think.  I tell myself all of the time that it doesn’t matter, but unfortunately it can be paralyzing. I feel like I’m missing out on so much more because of this prison I locked myself in. Now, it’s time to break free.

Taking Action to Make a Change

I’ve been avoiding my blog for months, but I think about it often. I felt that I had nothing interesting to say, that my words didn’t make a difference whether they were written or not. What difference does it make? Pretty depressing, right? But the thing is, I’m not depressed. I have my funks, sure, but don’t we all at some time or another. I’ve experienced depression and this isn’t it.

As I continued to work through my anxiety issues (which has been really great lately), and help my daughter with hers, I uncovered deeper feelings that I thought I had overcome years ago. However, the more I gave this my attention, the more I realized this is a serious problem. The old habits were resurfacing with vengeance, and I didn’t seem to have a handle on them like I thought. I started to be concerned that my thought patterns and behavior would have a great impact on my children. I didn’t want them negatively influenced by my bad habits.

So I think I’ve decided to start a memoir here, as I search inside myself to uncover why I think the way I do and how I can overcome it. I suppose it doesn’t matter who, if anyone, listens. My writing isn’t about anyone else, but my own expressions. I need to start being the one that is important to me, not looking for acceptance anywhere else. Besides, if I can’t accept myself, who else will?

So I invite those that are interested, along with me on this journey; and those that are not interested….that’s okay too.

One More Day

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It’s our last day in the mid-west, and due to the rain I am finally sitting down and writing. My goal was to blog my weekend and share my family with y’all. HA! I didn’t even get to make the princess cake because my mom wanted to save time and ordered from a bakery. Although, it was cute, mine would have tasted a lot better. 🙂

It’s been a great weekend; hanging out, looking at some old photos, and laughing until my face hurt. I have a really great family and we ALWAYS have a good time when we get together. My grandmother died a couple weeks ago and my aunt brought over some photos, so my dad and I stayed up looking through them. They were from the 20’s- the 90’s and we even found one from a time period we couldn’t figure out. I love history and some day would like to research my family tree. Somewhere along the line, FDR (Teddy Roosevelt) is my dad’s cousin. Crazy, right?!?!

Family is so important to me and I am so blessed our children have such a great relationship with my brother, his kids, and my parents, even though we live so far from each other. They know that no matter the distance (in miles) between us, we will always be there for one another. My husband’s side doesn’t have that, and it makes me a little sad, but my side more than makes up for it. They love him as their own. It’s an amazing feeling knowing you have these amazing people in your corner, who will (no matter what) fight for you, believe in you, and love you unconditionally.

Another great thing about the last 4 days has been the fact that I have had no anxiety, no panic attacks, and no stress. I feel like myself and I actually like myself. LOL I’m kind of a fun girl! J I am not expecting a stress-free life. I know that’s not realistic, but how I react to the stress that comes up is what I need to work on. It’s not easy but I know I will get there. I really enjoy the person I am when I’m not fighting the anxiety.

All in all, it’s been a great weekend and I just wish we could do this more often.