I realized I’m in the throes of a depressive state of mind yesterday. The anger and frustration of going through cancer and the physical changes still weighs heavily on me. I thought after two years since my last chemo and radiation, I would be better. My final surgery was last year. The grief and anger is still so palpable. I notice people in and outside cancerland rarely ask if I’m doing OK because I come across as very strong, humorous and put together. In actuality, I am broken and hurting. It’s like no one gets it.
In this instance, being told to be positive (B+) trust in God and let it go is not helping. I’ve already left a voicemail for my psychiatrist. I see that as a sign of strength because my current coping skills are no longer working.
My nature is typically positive and always there for others. I post smiling pictures on social media. I may look strong, put together and fun, but inside I am fragile and wish people would see that.
My “sister”/bestie asked me point blank if I was depressed yesterday. I didn’t even realize I had fallen into a depression until she asked me that question. That’s when I realized the trigger of the depression.
It has been one year since I “resigned” from that supposed dream job where I was making insane money, had a lot of responsibility, and felt financially free for the first time ever. This time last year, I could barely remember how to get home. I couldn’t process any new information. It had been five months since the hysterectomy/bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and had been on the Arimidex. That post cancer medication nearly killed me.
The fact I’m single with no siblings and a mother who is also battling a blood cancer, makes things quite difficult. I’ve created my non-blood family but now see many don’t ask how I’m really doing or gloss over it because I “look” great. I love my friends (local and worldwide), but I still don’t feel heard.
I post a lot about my chemo induced curly hair. I notice whether I post on my personal Facebook/Instagram page or in cancer groups, I tend to the get the same responses below:
“You look cute and healthy.”
“The curls suit you.”
“Be happy you have hair.”
When I see those comments, it’s like my heart gets stabbed over and over again. I’ve been asking myself why I continue to get so upset by those comments when I know my friends are just trying to be supportive. Another warrior in a cancer group nailed it.
The bulk of people I meet now have only ever seen me as bald, growing the hair back and now the curls. They have never seen what I looked like years before the cancer entered my body. They have never seen me before my hormones got out of whack and the weight gain got out of control. They have never seen me with the straight bob that I miss so much. They have never seen all the ballerina buns, French braids, French twists, and flips and so many other ways I styled my hair.
When I meet people now, they have no idea these curls weren’t part of my life. They think this is just how I look. I still do not SEE me!!!! I still see a complete stranger. Yesterday, the curls looked nice, but I still see them as a prop to whatever clothes and makeup I’m wearing. I still don’t connect with the fact this is my hair now. So many other cancer warriors have told me the curls aren’t permanent because theirs wasn’t. Well, mine aren’t going away.
I don’t want to accept this “new normal” because getting cancer is not normal. Being medically induced into menopause is not normal. There is nothing normal about this situation and the way I keep feeling.
This anger, depression and grief come in waves. Will there ever be a time where all those feelings go away? Will the shock and trauma ever leave my mind? Will I ever truly feel heard?
Until next time,