(Missing from photo: my older brother. When all else fails, family is what matters. They are the ones that will help you see the light)
Self-pity – Though the primary focus of self-pity is on the self and one’s own emotions within, it also has a strong interpersonal component. Being an interpersonal emotion is directing the emotional feeling or response toward others with the goal of attracting attention, empathy or help. However, some who are dealing with self-pity usually look outside of themselves for the source of their problems which only leads to a downward spiral of issues.
Am I looking for attention? Am I looking for empathy? Am I looking for help? Am I heading in a downward spiral? The answer is no! In fact, I am in the best possible place right now. I’ve never been more self reliant, I have never been more at peace with myself, I’ve never felt such a calm in my life, I’ve never been so understanding of others and the problems they may be facing. It is very unfortunate that I had to endure so much and it took me almost two years to get to this point, but I believe that I had to endure such pain to make me who I am today. I am a new person, a person I never thought I would be, a fighter, determined and a very strong person. When I was first diagnosed with cancer I would often say, “I just want to be the person I was before cancer”. At first I didn’t like this new me, but in all honesty, I LOVE the new me! I love that I am my own person. I love that I can fight for a better life. I love the new experiences life has given me. I love that my children can see that independence is very important. I love the feeling in the morning when my little one wiggles in the bed saying, “its morning time”. I love that I have many experiences which helps me help others in need. Every day is a new day, we all wake up not knowing what the day will bring. It may bring joy, it may bring sorrow, but you have to embrace each and every day and make it count, for you never know when it’s going to be your last.
Nobody ever asks to be victimized. I was a victim of cancer, infidelity, violence and depression. It’s hard to tell your personal story, you worry that people will think less of you, you worry that people will think you are lying and you worry that you will be victimized again by opening up. I feel I am stronger now and I can handle the ridicule that comes with telling such gruesome life events. No person should ever be made to feel like they are not important or that they should keep quiet about personal experience. I am one voice, a voice for so many people that are made to keep their story silent. This is my personal story, and it is my personal right to be able to share.
Did I ask for cancer? Did I ask for my body to be mutilated? Did I ask for infidelity? Did I ask to be victimized? Again, the answer is no! Nobody ever asks for any of this, it’s unfortunate that it happens, but it does and when it do your body enters survival mode. All you want is to survive, survival is on your brain 24/7. The only downside is how your brain will react. Mine didn’t react in the way I wish it could have, I felt abondoned and I felt like I couldn’t fight anymore. It was as if I started to give up my fight. I cried all day long, I begged him everyday to come back, I couldn’t get out of bed, I would forget to prepare meals, I couldn’t be around people, I argued with anyone who tried to help and I lost over 30lbs in less than a month. I had sunken into a deep depression and didn’t know it. The feeling of being harrassed, stalked, mentally victimized and taken advantage of was too much to handle. Often times I was too scared to be around my friends and family because I knew something would happen that would be very embarrassing, which happened frequently. I guess, in a way it was a good thing because my family, friends and police witnessed a few horrific incidents.
Have you ever had a panic attack? I would have mild ones, but nothing I couldn’t handle, but they became extremely intense. I had medication to help keep me calm, but that didn’t seem to work. I remember being in the bathroom one evening, the three older boys were outside playing hockey and there it was……a panic attack. My chest tightened, I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t hold myself up. I fell to the floor crying, I couldn’t move, it was as if I was paralyzed. My three year old son came in and lay on the floor holding me saying “it’s ok mom, everybody has accidents”.
June 17th, the last piece of treatment was to be removed from my body. I had so many emotions, it was the day I would have my port removed. I was afraid if it was removed my cancer would return, the same way I felt about my chemo hats. I had them in a bag at the top of the stairs, every time I had to visit the cancer centre I would pick the bag up and quickly put it down saying “I’ll bring them next time”. I felt safe somehow with my chemo hats and port. The port was inside me and ready to inject my body with treatment if the cancer returned. It was a part of me, it helped in saving my life, I wasn’t ready to have it taken.
When I arrived at the hospital I was told my surgery was July 17th, not June 17th. I felt life leave my body, it was over, I couldn’t possibly handle another thing. I asked for help, I was having a mental breakdown. I was transferred to the Waterford Hospital. I remember sitting in a room with one psychiatrist and saying “what have I done, I don’t belong here, this was a mistake”. His response was “today you proved just how strong you are, this is the most courageous thing to ever do……admit you need help and asking for it. You have done nothing wrong and don’t ever doubt the choices you have made”. I was diagnosed with severe depression, severe anxiety and panic attacks. After being assessed by a panel of psychiatrists, I was given two option: 1. Be admitted for 3-4 days for recovery with a 24hr psychiatrist or 2. Be released and agree to seeing the head psychiatrist once a week. I chose to release myself, I was afraid the children would think I was leaving them too.
This was yet again another challenge for me and even a bigger one for my family. Depression, pfffffff, is that real? Can’t you just shake it off? Can’t you just forget about it, get up and do something to take your mind off things? Can’t you just stop thinking and put things out of your head? Is it really that bad?
Not only did I have to deal with depression, anxiety and panic attacks, I had to start educating my family on how to interact with me and to make them realize this was real and it is a real sickness.
Around the time of my darkest days, there was a song I would listen to over and over again, Fight Song by Rachel Platten. It helped me on some of my darkest days, it would remind me that I had to keep fighting.
~~This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me~~
~~Rachel Platten, Fight Song~~