I had a full on break down a couple of weeks ago. I was in bed at the end of the day, writing in my journal, when I was overcome with a deluge of emotions that I had kept buried since this process got rolling. Fear and anger, mostly. I’m angry about all the years that something was going on and I didn’t know. I’m angry about everything that I have been through, and will go through because of this disease. I’m afraid of my next surgery, I’m afraid to have hope, and I’m afraid I will never get my life back. This is raw, gripping fear that I finally confronted, and once I did I wound up sobbing in bed, by myself. I didn’t bother to stop the tears – I just let them come. Afterwards I felt such release.
Earlier in the day I must have sensed the emotional storm brewing, because I had phoned Melissa for advice. I was overwhelmed. I feel like a shell of a human, looking through the window at a life I once was able to live. I now have been reduced to this exhausted, anxious person who is constantly in pain. I can’t see a way out, and its hard to remember what my life was like before, when I could laugh and travel and dance and do more than one thing every other day and not want to collapse completely into my aching body. Not to mention this really terrifying surgery I have looming in my future.
I worry that I’ll never live a normal life again; my normal life. I won’t be able to take trips around the world, I won’t experience music festivals and wine tastings with my friends, I won’t be able to have a relationship and share my life with someone, and my life will whittle down to the bare minimum while I cling desperately to the shadows of what it used to be. I couldn’t bear the thought. So I called Melissa, and like always, that wise Icelandic princess talked me off the ledge. Melissa has been through more health scares and hospital stays than anyone I know, and she’s the only one I will listen to when I’m panicked, because she knows. Not only does she know, but she carries herself through life with this calm grace that very few people possess.
The main thing she said: SURRENDER. Surrender completely to the endo; don’t fight it. Let it all unfold as it wants to, stay present, and handle what comes each day instead of wasting energy on tomorrow. This is so difficult for me, because I’m always playing the “what if” game. I’m constantly worrying about next month instead of staying present in today.
The second thing she said: THIS IS TEMPORARY. I will not always feel this way. A day will come when the endo is under control and I am healthy and will feel like a normal human person again, instead of this agitated, painful wretch I’ve become.
If words were balm, hers cascaded over my wounds and sealed them shut.
That was exactly what I needed to hear, and I keep saying those words over and over in my head. Daily. They are my mantras.
I don’t know how to say this without sounding cliché, so it will just have to be cliché. I am in awe of the strength and wisdom of my friends and family. No matter how well you think you know someone, you can still reach down to peel back another layer and reveal something so perfectly remarkable you wonder how you never saw it there in the first place. There is so much depth to humanity. I love that the deeper I dive, the more I witness their capacity for love. The surprise should wear off because that’s what I see every time, but it still makes me marvel.
I never asked for help in the past. I chose to do everything alone – as if that made me stronger and more independent. That was so dumb. But who knows, maybe it was a self-worth thing. I didn’t believe I deserved help or support, so I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t get it, either. Important lesson there.
That woman is a distant memory now. I have learned that there is no strength in silent suffering. The moment I need help, support, a kind word, or a hug, I ask for it. And my friends and family immediately prop me up when I can’t stand on my own. They gladly become my foundation when my own crumbles beneath me.
Ask and you shall receive. It’s such a beautiful concept, because asking and receiving fosters deeper trust, love, and cohesion within your tiny village. It brings strength to both the giver and the receiver, and forges an even tighter bond than what was there before. I have become very good at asking. I’d like to think it’s because I learned my lesson well. And you know, since embarking on this journey I can’t recall a single instance where I didn’t get what I asked for. So that’s pretty cool. 🙂