Now, I don’t know of course if this kind of self-hate is the same as yours, in substance or in strength, but surely there is a familiarity.
Those feelings must spring from somewhere, and IMO it is very much the same source, so to speak. Something inside is broken and needs fixing. Medication can help but it has side-effects and it is NOT a cure. See a health professional about this, but make sure you see more than one.
What helped me was, to some extent, therapy but mostly therapy I trained myself to habituate – i.e. I learned how to think differently. All the time.
To stop the hateful thoughts and replace them with something else. Cognitive behavioral therapy, I believe it is called – and it was a self-made variation thereof I used, with some help from therapists.
But what I would really like to point out is that I did not seriously commit myself to this kind of therapy, including the 24/7 practice (which was the most important) before I realized, deeply, that my current status quo would lead to self-destruction.
You can fill in the blanks there … But I realized that I hurt myself and that ultimately it would not do me any good to continue.
Whatever it was inside me that apparently believed I would do something or other that I, well, needed by hating myself … that illusion was dispelled and I could finally seek help.
Reality is merciless here. If your nervous system can’t take the way you live, it will break down again, even if you think that you ought to do fine, or that you are fine.
But there is a lot more to it than these stray thoughts, of course.
And it is a difficult and hard road ahead.
Still, there is hope. As I know from my own journey, even if my experiences – or that of many others – can’t be totally transplanted to this situation.
These past weeks, as I understand H, has been about putting out the big blaze. Now the real reconstruction work starts.
But it is a very simple kind of work in its essence.
They need help. And professional help. And it has to come from family and private funds.
And everybody needs patience and courage and needs to acknowledge, each in their own way and time, that the healing process will not lead back to the old life.
It will lead to something new, which – frightening as it may seem now – is actually the best. For example a more flexible and realistic and loving and communicative attitude towards … everything.
That’s a tall order.
For old and frail people like H’s parents.
But it need not be perfectly like that.
There just needs to be a movement – towards change.
That will give hope.
You can start dealing with problems better and more rationally – after the ice-cream.
As I get older I find that I still struggle with fears, perhaps more so than before – fears that come out of nowhere.
But, I suppose, founded in reality. Or potential reality.
Fear of growing old, dying suddenly, getting ill, becoming handicapped, losing Char or Jay like that, etc.
Those and other fears. But the physical ones – about physical danger – seem more pertinent. They circle like shadows of sharks.
I have before berated myself for those fears, but as I grow older I also find that the only way to deal with them properly is to accept them completely.
And then use the rest of the time to the best of my ability, regardless whether the fears come true or not.
It is difficult but it is the only way. Otherwise you get a vicious circle with fear of … fear.
And I could say the same about a lot of other sharks.
If you feel bad about how little you achieve in a day, then try to lower your expectations. Not too much, just a little, until you feel better. Praise yourself for what you have achieved. Affirm that you will achieve more of what is truly important, just not today.
It sounds like hard work – this kind of control – and it is. But it is much harder on you to succumb to the allure of bashing yourself about all the things you can’t do in a given day and how problematic that is.
That is the result of expectations that have become toxic – blocks to actually realizing and achieving something because you spend too much time to worry about these expectations and why they are not fulfilled more.
What do you – right now – think you can’t let go of, but which you feel stressed about keeping in your life?
What if you could let go of it?
Why don’t you find a reason to do it, then?
Your Life’s Journey. Where are you going in it?
What is The Most Important Destination?
Answer that and you will have one powerful tool to knock out stress. Not the only one, but one of the big ones.
A power-tool, if there ever was one!
And now, today, I felt again afraid that I – for some reason – would not make it. Would not draw all the things I really want to draw. Or write all the things I really want to write.
Very afraid …
And I think I know why …
I felt afraid because I was not spending enough time doing it.
For when I don’t spend enough time doing it, then … it is obvious to feel afraid: “What if I die tomorrow or next year? … Without having … ”
I see that now.
And I shared that.
I hope you can use it. I can.
Maybe my mum doesn’t want that kind of ambiguity when talking about her post-cancer operation treatment options, because I don’t give her straight answers and tell her one course, just as she is not comfortable with my brother’s very straight-forward directness about what he definitely things she should do.
Maybe she just wants things to go on as normal, forever. Unfortunately, that is a wish nobody can fulfill.
So we will have to do our best to make the time until forever starts, as beautiful as possible.
The chemo choice is not about managing cancer, it is about managing fear. And that I know for sure.
And that is something I will use all my resources to help her with, because as long as there is life and no reason to believe it ends soon then that should be a life fully lived, not half lived. And a life half lived is a life in fear.
Or conflict. So no calls to my brother trying to persuade him to be less harsh with my mother. I’m not even sure he was “harsh” – maybe just blunt. And, of course, afraid on her behalf – of her making the wrong choice. But my mother made it sound, well, different … “I think he thought I was crazy” she said on the phone.
Well, that I hardly think my brother thought, much less said. But it just goes to show how vulnerable my mother is right now.
But fortunately, that is, as far as we know anything else, an emotional vulnerability. There is nothing more physical for the moment.
And that is what we must face. And deal with.
Management of fear, not cancer.
Although the two tend to be closely related.
But it is good to keep that in mind, what it is really about – when you try to help.
It is about that – and so it is about my mother’s peace of mind.
So no calls to my brother.
I go home again and snap some more pictures of little toddler Jay for my mom.
There are worse ways to cope with a potentially deadly illness in the family.
I have to accept it’s going to be back and forth emotionally from now on and I have to show that to others and remind them of that as well – especially my mother. Both experiences are okay and natural, but we have to – have to – continue to move between them. Never stop. Especially not in the valley.
One practical consequence of being called up and told your mother probably has cancer is to see things that seemed awfully important awhile ago … aren’t.
Also important to try to tear each others’ heads off, after lack of sleep …
But not so now.