For a country as large as ours you would think that we would provide more to our people. More services in terms of advocacy, mental health or support, but I think the idea that someone might be broken is something we’d rather not discuss. Like we can’t kiss and tell, because there’s shame in a perceived flaw…a misstep. That the “flaw” is our fault, our problem, and as a result we shouldn’t discuss it.
When I found out I had cancer, I was alone. I was in my car, alone, as the lab handed me the test results without a second thought. And although I later saw my doctor and he went on to explain our plan of action, no one offered me mental health support as a cancer patient. No one mentioned support groups, offered materials to read or literature of what to expect post-op. But why? Are emotions not part of the equation? Which is funny because everyone keeps mentioning how brave and strong I’ve been, which are an emotional state of being. So why not the other possible emotions, frustration, fears etc? Is it because to feel something negative would be met with shame? That I am merely having a pity party for poor me?
See, that train of thought is what isolates us even more than being alone. The idea that if we feel upset about our current situation we are in the wrong. We want attention, for others to pity us in our time of need. How about we are just having a bad day? Or having not yet learned to cope in our current situation because no one reached out to say “its okay, its okay to feel anger, frustration, out of sorts.”
Well let me say it now to all those out there, fighting this battle “alone”. You will have emotions that are out of character, in fact you may feel out of place. This disease is isolating, not only during the required portions, but while you are stuck in limbo during these visits and treatments, others are still living. When you lack the energy you once did and are forced to sit them out, or when you purely need to cry as you hide behind a building at work, unwilling to look weak as you seek mental peace. This is okay and normal and you are not alone or undeserving of your feelings.
Whoever reads this please note:
If you’ve never gone thru this, don’t give up as a support system to your friend. There are people who only reach out when necessary, who won’t invest in more. Don’t be that person, be the person constantly seeking and supporting the other person. This disease, the visits, the procedures are so overwhelming its often difficult to have enough mental clarity to do so. I simply hate burdening others.
If you are going through, you are free to feel what you do, just don’t become reclused and unwilling to continue to spread the love.