Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Today I got an email from someone I only know through an association on Facebook. It put me in tears. If it is one thing that is not helpful, it is those types of emails. It was telling me how I was becoming a "victim." I am not sure what she was basing her assessment on. The posting I made on Facebook talked about how I was sad about my situation, and how I might have to sell my furniture, and that I might have to move up to NY. It was me expressing my emotions and what my circumstances were. I don't know that there was "victim" there.

I even revisited my last few blog entries. I looked at what I wrote. It was about how I was feeling and what I was feeling. There was no blame. There was only frustration. There was no "Why me?" All throughout this I don't think I ever once said "why me?" I don't think I ever once said anyone was bad or wrong for not helping. I just expressed frustration about what the situation was and is. People are not helping me as much as they choose to help others. It is a "fact." Another fact is that I am struggling in many ways. Another fact is that many people don't seem to understand that even the things they may think are the simplest to do - aren't.

In speaking with my doctor today, I was telling her about this. I told her that even if someone came along and said here, do this, this, this, and this, I couldn't necessarily do it. It is not as easy as it sounds. On top of that, I HAVE asked for help - many times - and in specific ways - but have yet to have anyone offer in any kind of business sense. Whenever I can, I have tried to barter for things I want and need. Some times it has worked, others it hasn't. Either way, it takes time and energy to do.

Every time I try to explain this I feel like I am making some sort of excuses. I had met with someone about writing a book. I was telling him how I feel when people talk about tomorrow, and put things off because they think there is a tomorrow. Interestingly, the conversation came around to when was I going to write my book. I knew where his mind went. He felt that I was doing the same thing others do. But it was not/is not the same. I am truly doing the best I can, and the resources others have, I don't. Resources, if nothing else, that include "health."

I have tried GoFundMe for more than one type of fundraiser, and I HAVE asked people to share. I have links on this blog, and I have asked for help. I have asked, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...

It takes time. It takes energy. It is a full-time effort and job, and it is very difficult to do. I do not know what to do any more.

New people are introduced to me, and each time a new person comes into the picture, they somehow access my situation, but I don't think completely have the picture. Just because someone offers me help doesn't mean (1) that it will be what I want or need at the moment or (2) that I will remember to respond. The nature of my situation has me forgetting things all of the time. I had forgotten that the person who wrote me earlier had written me asking me something. It got buried. It wasn't intentional. But it happens way too frequently. I have tried to use different methods to handle things, but have yet to find one that really works when I often have to push everything but the immediacy of the moment aside. It is nothing against the person, or the offer. I really try to stay on top of things, but things slip. Even if I was healthy, I am sure things could slip, too. Humans do that kind of thing. And yet I find a few who have held it against me because they thought I didn't do what they thought I should have done.

I said to my doctor today that I wondered if I was depressed. She made a distinction I had never heard before. There is "clinical depression" and then there is "situational depression." Given what I have gone through, and continue to go through, she said it is no surprise if I have "situational depression." She was actually quite comforting to me. She also suggested that the medicine I am on could be affecting me. That the possibility certainly could not be discounted.

I often try to consider what others say. But the thing is that in the last year I have started to think that I need not pay attention to anyone else. The "funny" thing is that all kinds of assessments and labels can be applied to me for acting this way.

A part of me wants to roll up in a ball whenever this type of thing happens. I really hate it when someone tries to help me, and it comes off as an attack - for my own good. Maybe it works in other cases or for other people, but there is not much anyone could say at this point that hasn't at one time been said or suggested or that I haven't considered or in some way tried.

In the midst of tears today I had a thought. I was thinking about how many times in my life I have had the attitude that I wanted to see something for myself. Someone else telling me x, y or z wasn't enough. Even if they thought they were "saving" me from trouble, I wanted to have my own experience. Maybe it would be different than they expected. Even if it wasn't, I was OK with it.

In line with that, I was thinking about this cancer situation. Anyone could have told me anything about what it would have been like, but without my own experience of it, it would not be the same. I didn't really ask for this experience, or want it, but it does align with the way I "DO" things in how it has occurred. I have learned a lot more than I ever could have any other way by having to go down this road.

I have also learned a lot about myself and people by doing it so publicly. It really is no wonder that people stay quiet and private. It is really difficult to be the target of what people think of you and how they react as a result. Some people have been absolutely wonderful, but there have been way too many that have been anything but. Yes. I know they have the best of intentions. But sometimes those intentions can sting like bloody hell.

One thing I am learning throughout this is what really truly resonates for me and what fits me. When people say things, it makes me take a step back and look and see if I am being what they say. I don't find myself easily taking on their assessments of me - like I would have at one time. It makes me see things pretty dang clearly, actually.

The bigger problem I have is how to respond to these people. Depending on what they say, I can sometimes just say thank you and move on. Other times, though, it isn't that simple. When someone says something that obviously states that they do not know the whole story, do I take the time, effort and energy to try to explain what they're missing? If I am really going to be honest...and I really don't want to be...but if I am really going to be honest, a part of me wants to tell them to...I really can't say. I want to, but I won't. But maybe you can figure out what it is that I wanted to fill in the blanks with.

That reactionary part of me tells me there is something that needs to be worked on and worked out. If I didn't feel so stretched, maybe I wouldn't feel that way. The fact that I feel in some way obligated to spend energy I don't have to explain something I have explained many times over really doesn't rub me the right way, and I suspect it comes out in that reaction.

All things considered, I think I am doing pretty damn good. But I have my moments. Some moments last longer than others. Some are darker and deeper than others. Some are the "ugly" I talk about in the header of this blog. It is all a part of the fabric of my life. It is a fabric that I don't really like, but I don't have much of a choice right now. And just because I express myself this way, it doesn't mean I am making myself a victim.

I have played that role in the past, and perhaps where I seem to be at times isn't far off. But I know what it feels like, and it doesn't feel the same. So even if you want to judge me that way, it may just be that it is more about you than it is about me.

So there.  Nah. Nah. Nah. Nah. :P

I had to end on a lighter, sillier note. Everything has been so damn heavy and serious lately. The tears I shed in the doctor's office today I think really helped. I sobbed. I think there are other times I need to do it, too, but I hold back because of where I am or what I am doing. When I can just let it go, it does feel so much better. And at the moment I feel a lot better than I have the last few days.

There is so much to my situation and it can never be fully and completed encapsulated in a way that everyone everywhere will understand. I get it. And there are times it really sucks. There are times, though, that pieces of this journey are amazing, and the people are amazing and there has been so much more that has come from this than I could ever have imagined.

At this point I would love to say, "She lived happily ever after. THE END," but I can't. All I can say is, "She lived, " and when the time comes, someone else will say "THE END." At some point I would love to add the "happily" part, and when that happens, let's just hope that last part doesn't come for a good, long while.

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  1. It sounds like you are going through an awful lot right now and people just don't get it. They can't possibly. How awful that anyone would try to brand you in a "victim" classification. I think you are doing the best you can with what you have to deal with. Don't worry about these other assholes. Block them. You do not need that kind of crap in your life. Think positive and look forward and do the best that you can one day at a time. This is probably your biggest test in life but I am sure you will come through it strong and triumphant because from the sounds of it you have little choice but to keep soldiering on. Weed out the assholes and keep only friends. Think positive. My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you to give you strength to persevere. You CAN do it. You must, and you will. IF for no other reason than that I, as a completely perfect stranger who has never visited your blog before tonight, is cheering you on. Don't think about the end yet...think about now. Think about one day at a time, and celebrate the victory of getting through today. OK, going to hop off my soapbox.



  2. I understand the struggle. Sometimes life challenges us in situations we never ever asked for or dreamed of - yet there they are - smacking us right in the face.

    I appreciate the wisdom of your doctor sharing that "There is "clinical depression" and then there is "situational depression."" - I never knew that. Wish I had heard that before. I've never experienced depression in my 60 years yet twice in the past three years I considered maybe I no longer had joy and was depressed. Now I realize it was just the situation was so depressing that it was dragging me down with it. First in a rift between my daughter and I that simply discouraged me to the point of not wanting to face any family member because that would mean admitting I was a failure of a mom that had caused this huge rift in the family - so I simply stopped answering the phone. And then last year when my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer. He spiraled to "down" and came to the point of stating he had no reason to wake up in the morning, that I became so depressed that I wasn't a good enough daughter as I couldn't seem to lift him up or support him as I should have been.

    Now with your doctor's definition, I realize I wasn't clinically depressed as my doctor had thought - just situationally depressed. I can say that with some certainty for once I came to grips with the situation I was no longer depressed.

    Dealing with cancer is not fun. Watching my dad fade away, knowing that soon I won't find his funny emails in my inbox each week... it's sad... but it's no longer depressing me. We count each week a blessing and we give thanks for precious time spend together. I've sensed my dad has reached that point too.

    However, I can't imagine being the one having to wake up each day knowing that every day is another fight with the stealer of life. I've assumed that this is your journal of your fight with cancer but I'm not 100% sure as this is my first time on your blog.

    Regardless of which, I get no sense that you are a victim - you are coping with circumstances one day at a time and making choices that are best for you at this time. That is not a victim! That is a survivor! A true winner!

    You are allowed to express frustration... and pain! That's part of accepting life as it comes. Just because we cry in pain, does not mean we are living as a victim. Sometimes the cries and the tears are what we need to bring soothing to the heart. Pain hurts - whether it's physical pain, emotional, or even spiritual. From the time we were young, we cried when it hurt. Why would that change just because we are old or older.

    Just cry when you need to - know there are shoulders to cry on and people that are ready to hold you up and give you lots of hugs.
    Celebrate the victories - know there are those of us cheering you one from the sidelines of the daily race - You Go Girl! You can do it!
    Most of all - just know you are loved.

    Many hugs and much love from
    Erica at http://startingafter50.com/

  3. You need to get rid all of the negative people in your life. It is not healthy. Praying that you will feel better.

  4. Elizabeth, you are amazing...I can only speak from my own experience of life struggles with other challenges and am now building into my vocabulary 'It is what it is,' to those who feel they have to offer comfort, advice, support, even judgement , mostly well-meaning. But at the end of the day we have the choice about how we deal with whatever we are thrown in life, whether you want to make lemonade with lemons, or lemon pudding or nothing at all. Whatever you do you are amazing and awesome. Sharon

  5. Thank you, all. I sooooo appreciate your support. Like I said in the entry, times like what I wrote about I really do want to retreat. What you have written in some way validates one of the reasons I am as public as I am. I know there will be more I will want to say on the subject, as today other things came about. But I am still "noodling" them, as a boss of mine used to say.

    Kathy: I love how frankly you speak! and thanks for leading the supportive charge. :)

    Erica: What you wrote really touched me. Sending as much love as possible, and if you are ever inclined to want to share any of your experience in a guest blog, please do let me know. I really feel it is important to get out into the world whatever people are willing to talk about. cancer is a topic that few understand - and I believe it has a lot to do with the silence around it. Thanks for connecting on FB, too.

    Adrienne: THAT is a challenge. I don't know the people I don't know. I don't know who is going to be an awesome new connection, and who is going to be as this person was.

    Sharon: When people tell me they're sorry to hear what I am dealing with, I often say, "Yeah. Me, too." I think we may be somewhat like minded. Thanks for adding your thoughts.