Saturday, September 21, 2013

Mood Swings.

Today started out well, then I was sitting here doing some unpicking of a waistband on a pair of pants I'm altering, because they've gotten too big for me, and began thinking about my partner and I collecting seeds for the rooftop terrace garden, and wondered if I'll even be around next year to garden. Within a short time, my mood has darkened considerably, and I've gone from feeling fairly cheerful and positive to a much more negative frame of mind. I'm wondering if there is any point in doing some of the future planning I've been doing - will I be alive to do these things I'm discussing with friends and family?

I was diagnosed on August 12th, it's now September 21st, and the waiting to get all the tests done in order to stage the tumour, and being told nothing whatsoever until they are all completed, is beginning to wear upon me. I'm trying with all of my might to accept the waiting period as just something which must be endured, and I'll find out when I find out, and not before, but some part of me is straining at the bit and wanting to scream, "Just tell me how far gone the bloody cancer is, will you?"

Patience has never been my strong suit, and waiting to find out something like this is trying beyond anything I've ever gone through. Most of the time, I can manage to push the wanting to know out of my consciousness, and go on with the next thing, but some days, days like today, it fills my worldview and leaves me feeling unable to cope. I want to collapse weeping in someone's arms, but as a friend who had cancer a few years ago said to me on Wednesday, "They're all so down about it that you feel like you have to stay cheerful for their sake, it leaves you feeling terribly alone."

That it does. My partner lost a family member to cancer a couple of years ago, so I have been feeling uncomfortable talking to him about it. My friends keep telling me how strong I am, how brave, etc, which leaves me feeling like I'm getting an unspoken message that this is how they want me to be, so that I feel stifled about revealing myself to them; where can I go to howl and cry and rage against this quirk of my fate? I feel alone in a way I wouldn't have expected. My sponsor has said several times that she's "proud of me for the way I'm handling it." That sets me up to feel that if I were to collapse into weeping the way I sometimes want to, I would be disappointing her. So I don't feel as though I can go to her when it threatens to overwhelm me.

I haven't felt this alone in a long, long time. I realise that partly, it is because no-one who hasn't had cancer can ever truly understand the way it feels, and partly, it is my own inability to reveal myself to other people past a certain point.

Today, I'm struggling.

I decided to speak to my partner, Robert about how I was feeling, because being the sensitive man that he is, he knew I wasn't doing well, and asked outright what was going on. It was an enormous relief to be able to get it all out over a period of several hours. At one point, we stood in the kitchen locked in an embrace while I wept into his shirt. There is nothing so comforting as loving arms holding us tightly.
He told me that he doesn't want me trying to protect his feelings by not telling him what's going on with me. He suggested that I call my sponsor, so I did, and was honest with her about my difficulties revealing my feelings to her, and was told lovingly that she is proud of me whether I'm doing well, or as I am today, being swept around in eddies and whirlpools of emotion.

So it all comes down to my own expectations of myself, which I've projected onto the people who love me - an old behavior pattern to which I've regressed somewhat, during this difficult time. I'm feeling much better this evening, am going to have something to eat, get some sleep, and go to church in the morning, and to see my sponsor in the afternoon.

Thank you to those of you who have written in support of me, I'm deeply grateful.


  1. Gosh, I am so sorry. Feeling alone is an awful feeling. It sounds like maybe you are trying to take care of others by choosing so carefully who you let loose to though. Could you tell your sponsor you need to not make her proud, you need someone who you can let it all out to. What you are facing is very very frightening. Its one of those things that all of the principles of Alanon can help us get through, but they won't make it disappear. Sometimes we really do, if we are honest, just wish it would all disappear. Problem solved. And there is not one thing wrong with that for a few minutes. You have a strong program, you are a beacon of strength and light, BUT you are just a person. ((HUG)) And that is perfectly alright.

  2. Hmmm It almost sounds like you are waiting for permission to feel what you feel. I am of the opinion to feel your feelings. I don't see the point in denying them. For goodness sake you have got a scary thing going on. I almost think it is selfish for people to demand that off you or expect it. Umm why should you make them feel better about it? Gosh you need them right now. I know I'd be in all sorts of melt down moments.

  3. (((((Hugs)))))) for you, and thank you for writing so honestly. Perhaps your friends would be glad to be able to comfort you if you let your guard down.

  4. I'm glad that you talked to Robert and to your sponsor. Holding back and projecting what others may or may not think is a downfall for me also. I realize that I can half my burden by sharing with another. I also believe that when I isolate as I am prone to do, I am not spiritually fit but sinking into self-pity and forgetting that I need to get moving towards a positive action. I am thinking of you. I haven't had cancer but know the fear surrounding health issues with my wife. I believe that we both got through rough times by having hope and sharing with those in the program and each other. Hoping that you will hear from the doctors about the test soon. And I am certainly wanting the diagnosis to be one that is favorable for you.

  5. What a beautiful post! So glad for your "Later" update. As more was revealed, you discovered that " all comes down to my own expectations of myself, which I've projected onto the people who love me...". The truth lies within, and you found it. It's okay to feel whatever you feel. And it's okay to be human, for indeed we are. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us.

  6. Bless your heart. Some days are just so hard to bear, and we are glad you feel this is a safe place to just be who you are and feel what you feel. I'm glad you talked to your partner and your sponsor. It's strange, but your last sentences made me think of the acronym HALT--on top of everything going on, you sounded Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. And that always makes everything feel worse--even when we aren't dealing with a scary diagnosis--which is, in itself, a grief process of sorts.

    Keep taking care of you during this scary time. I don't think there's going to be an easy way through this. But I do believe your HP is going to go with you every step of the way, and pray you will not be too hard on yourself. Keep reaching out to those of us online who love you and are praying for you. You are a special person going through a rough time. You are still wonderful, whether you feel brave, angry, discouraged, afraid or at peace.

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience. I sometimes feel my honesty will hurt others, I keep it within.
    The program opens me up to share as honestly as possible. I try to begin with my sponsor. She is busy women so I just keep going down the list.