I have thought a lot over the last few weeks about my state of mind. When you have cancer, if you are ever unfortunate enough to be the one in three people to get cancer, it is a question others will ask you about as well. How are you, mentally? they will say and if you are like me, you’ll respond with a ‘fine’ or ‘good’, or if it is somebody you care about, then you might say ‘shit’ or ‘fucking awful’. I find that the F word adds emphasis to this fucking shit situation. See? By adding the F word, you know I really mean it.
I have had three counselling sessions now, and they are proving to be a helpful outlet for me to express my feelings about My Myeloma. Indeed, during my recent and prolonged dark patch, I have found it invaluable. It is not a quick fix, but I do find it is an excellent way in which to excuse my poor behaviour. I will get back to this later.
I have established that I am not depressed. I may have, during the darkest times, thought and talked about death. On one occasion with Mamma Jones, I talked about suicide. I did not mean it. I do not want to die. I just want to get that out there now. I do not want to die. I have said it again. I discussed this with my counsellor, because it worried me that I said it, and I was told that this was a normal response and that I am not depressed. Do you know how I know that I am not depressed? The reason I know I am not depressed is that there is always a catalyst for my Bad Thoughts. I am not constantly walking under a cloud of self loathing and melancholic hatred of My Myeloma. I know that this is a good thing. There are days when I am a jolly old bean, and clearly, a cancer riddled hoot for people to hang out with. They’re banging on the door right now.
My Bad Thoughts come when something has pissed me off or upset me. The thoughts may linger, but they are never a constant. What you will find with me, is that I am angry. Really angry. I am learning how to contain this anger, but there will be times when I cannot. As my counsellor said, my thoughts and feelings are going to be like a revolving door as I continue to fight the myeloma. Sorry Support Network. One minute I could be fine and the next, something will trigger my anger, and I will be upset and appear depressed to the untrained eye (including my own).
The trigger does not have to be anything of substance either. Last week, I got upset and angry and consequentially professed to my dear friend that ‘I hated my life’, because I did not know something about another friend and I would have done had I not had cancer. I was actually embarrassed afterwards about my childish response. It was none of my business anyway. So I mentioned it to my counsellor and she said that it was an acceptable reaction and it was my way of voicing my frustration for a part of my life that I have lost. (To note, I am uneasy about using cancer as an excuse for acting like a bitch).
My Myeloma has taken so much away from me, big and small, that inevitably, this is bound to make me angry and it is bound to make me cry. The anger is not going to go away. It is another thing I have to accept.
Every time the myeloma throws something at me that I do no like and I do not want to hear, I am going to act out of character and essentially have a hissy fit. I was discussing this with Housemate the other day, and he has very kindly offered to tell me when I am acting like a bitch. I need this. Although it is good for me to vocalise my frustration, I think there is a fine line between that and bitchiness. On the occasions where I do resemble the female dog, my anger is likely to be mixed with jealously. Jealously that people can leave their house on the weekend, jealously that a lot of people do not need to know what neutropenia means and jealously that people can carry on with their lives. I have to find a way of channelling this anger so I am not mean. I do not want to be mean. I need friends at the end of this. If I do happen to take my anger out on other, I will use the steroids as my excuse. ‘It’s not me, it’s the ‘roids’ I will say, and if that fails, I will start crying and say ‘I have cancer, forgive me?’. It is the cancer’s fault anyway.
Apparently angry people can also manipulate.
I am not going to go on; it’ll become repetitive. In a nutshell, there are going to be days when I think I cannot handle what is happening to me and my Support Network, and I will have to deal with these as they come. I cannot prevent things from upsetting me and I cannot completely prevent myself from being sad. After all, my life revolves so much around My Myeloma that everything seems magnified. Small things become huge and big things become gigantic. Knowing, however, that these maudlin moments are just moments, helps me. Depression will not become my constant. My witty banter just could not take it.