Travelling with MR C through recovery …#2 Give you permission to … Grieve
After a long time keeping MR C (cancer) positive mentally at bay during meeting Mrs Chemo who was throwing all her side effects cards at me at the time in 2011, I suddenly recovered from an extreme bad flu I called it … Free of Mrs Chemo I was, just before Christmas … who would kindly (sarcastically) start on the Thursday afternoon (annoying) and test me over seven days and (coping) with her presence over six months.
Never forget that moment … I was away on that day and having a well-deserved time away at the beach on my own after my last time with Mrs Chemo … My mind was so on alert and was waiting … for her to appear ! Nothing was happening although my notes of the last encounter with Mrs Chemo side effects. They were indicating the patterns of my challenging task to cope with during her seven days visits . It was sure a lesson that day and realising time is precious to enjoy every moment … So celebrated every challenge after each Mrs chemo visit adding a golden star to my calendar … I didn’t feel like celebrating on that day …I had no side effects … while that was sure something to celebrate … it felt weird …
Everyone around me was so happy … I wasn’t … Almost felt like all that time hadn’t been with it at all … I felt I was in a huge shock cloud … coming down with my feet slightly on the ground from a long trip away ! I was back to reality in a total new world…
I was crumbling inside and all I wanted was feeling me … I kept my smiles up to the outside world and went deeper and deeper into … pretending I was OK …
It was like Deja vue … Emotions were running on high alert like the day was diagnosed … Any moment of the day I would cry on a hint of thoughts flashing through my mind , or listening to a song on the radio , someone’s conversation , seeing a movie , news on the TV … I just couldn’t cope and the worse it lasted a long time … First thing in the morning waking up would cry and the best strategy for me was sitting outside … even it was freezing cold with a blanket over me. I just needed to get away from the four walls that felt coming down … to stop my tears.
I didn’t feel that anyone would understand because “Hey I got through you are healthy now … So I didn’t talk … I so felt lost in my new world … It was lonely and it wasn’t a great feeling having a fear of being labelled as being depressed … I wasn’t … I was getting up every morning, got dressed and went on with my day … taking the girls to school and did all my chores and socialised with friends.
So was so pleased having a check-up with my breast surgeon … It only took a few sentences … How are you? Bursting into tears as soon he said it … He answered with a simple explanation … ‘you are suffering mild survival syndrome.’
What is it Survival Syndrome? … It’s like a soldier who has gone to war … It made sense! It was the answer to my question? I wasn’t depressed … I hadn’t allowed myself to grieve what I had gone through… I was keeping mentally strong and coping with it … Mr C and whoever he brought along! So I took day by day … step by step to heal myself … and let grief be a space to show me how to heal. I also saw a psychologist and that was great … for the first time I was swearing … So grateful I could express how I felt … It sure helped me getting my feet back on the ground … at the start of my recovery .
So whatever life challenges you may have … find strength within to give yourself the permission to grieve… Whatever others are saying … you got through your situation … take your time … to heal!
My favourite quote … Rome wasn’t built in a day … It’s a daily step each day to recovery … It doesn’t happen overnight!