was dealing with depression and anxiety long before cancer. Now I feel the most
fragile I’ve ever felt. Just when I think I have a handle on things, everything
explodes. I’ve written about this in the past. What happens when the strong
need to weep? They weep alone.
struggled finding people to talk to and let my guard down, really and truly let
my guard down. What tends to happen is they listen for a few minutes and then inevitably
tell me the following:
goes on for a few minutes until the shift happens where I become their therapist
and shoulder their pain and their fears. They assume I’ll be just fine and can handle
others can’t handle hearing your fears or darkness because your
“normal” personality is sunny and zany, that’s pressure to always
appear okay. That’s my current situation. Heck, it’s been my ongoing
chronic pain makes it harder to keep my emotions in-check. I no longer have the
energy to keep up the appearance of being okay. I don’t get a break from what
my cancer treatments and multiple surgeries have done to me. I wake up hurting
every morning and go to bed hurting every night.
been very down on myself about my weight and being chronically single. I grow
even more frustrated with being told the following:
or relationships are overrated.
your own worst critic.
understanding my body and loneliness just adds to my depression.
I’m resilient. I don’t know where that comes from, but I somehow always get
back up after being slammed to the ground over and over and over again. I’ve wanted
to give up, but my nature just won’t let me.
don’t want to be alone.
through the darkness while leaping from one friend to another, sharing spurts
of what’s hurting the soul but knowing there’s no one shoulder big enough to hold
all your darkness is my daily struggle.
I’ve been in a very dark place lately. It’s honestly the
darkest I’ve been in a few years. I was reaching out to friends seeking words
of comfort and compassion. Instead, I felt like most have been trying to “fix”
me. The whole adage of “You have to want the change” or “You have the power to
change your mindset” or “You should seek therapy if depressed” no longer speak
to me. The power of thinking positive no longer works for me. Why?
I was on Instagram this morning. I follow a lot of writers and sites that post quotes. The post I read today is what gave me the push I needed to step back from the ledge. This one below from Digesting Grace spoke to me in the way I needed. It spoke to my soul.
Before I saw that post above, I was starting to plan how I
would end my life. I’ve had suicidal thoughts in the past. I’ve battled
depression since high school. I acknowledge there is a scary darkness within
and work hard to push those thoughts away. So far, my sheer will, and stubbornness
has kept me from stepping off the ledge. I’m a huge proponent of therapy. I’ve
been in therapy for years until recently.
I realized yesterday that my stress level keeps reaching new
highs. The palpable grief is either following me or crushing me. I’ve been
questioning the point of my life.
I’m in many online cancer support groups. I always see posts
of how their husband and kids keep them going, etc. Well, I have neither, so
what is the point of my struggle? I don’t have a legacy to pass down. The items
I’ve saved and treasured since I was a child through college mean nothing to
everyone but me. I can talk about it with friends and their kids, but they won’t
fully understand or truly have a vested interest on the level I do because I’m
not related to them.
Why would they care that my college cheerleading jacket
looks as pristine as the day I received it?
Why would they care about the meaning behind all my tiaras?
Why would they care about my many, many photo albums and journals?
Why would they care about my beloved scrapbooks?
I then realized the following stressors:
The anniversary of a personal tragedy is this
My three-year cancerversary of my lumpectomy/reconstruction
and the nightmare of waking up in the recovery room with blood soaking my
sheets behind me because none of the nurses saw a tube was loose until I sat up
is this week.
My one month of leaving the Catholic faith
forever is this week.
It has been a month since the shingles insanity
and stopping the post-cancer medication with my oncologist’s approval.
My next mammogram with MRI is on April 1st.
I’ve been medically induced into menopause officially
two years now.
I don’t physically recognize myself. I consistently struggle
with this unnatural chemo-induced curly hair. It will never be naturally straight
again. This is it. I’ve been struggling with my weight since I turned 30 thanks
to all the different antidepressants, hormone changes and now induced
menopause. I was always very thin but muscular up until my 30th
birthday. Then add all the steroids from chemo and the many, many surgeries and
steroids post-treatment, no wonder I’m presently the size of a southern whale!
When I make the statement the right man for me doesn’t exist
in this life, I’m consistently told the right man will love me no matter what
size I am. Well, that’s untrue. I’ve always been drawn to preppy or artsy men.
I’ll talk about race for a hot minute.
I’ve always been teased and bullied by the bulk of black men
and women growing up and as an adult. I’m “different” and constantly told over
the years that I dress, act and sound white. I’ve heard this within my own
family, too. How about I dress, act and sound like an intelligent woman with a
bit of flair?
Then I always hear from the bulk of white men and women that
I “speak so well” and “you don’t act like you’re black.” What does that even
When I was Catholic, I would always have white men and women
asking me if I go to the black Catholic church. It’s blow after blow of
realizing they don’t see me as a woman of this parish. They see me as a black
woman of this parish, and therefore, should go to the black parish.
The only type of men I seem to attract (except when I lived
in LA) even when I was a size 6 are black thugs with gold teeth or creepy, old
white guys. There was the occasional “my type” but the timing or compatibility wasn’t
there. That is why I can make the statement that I won’t find love in this
When I look at my features (especially when thinner), I’ve
always seen more than “just black.” My mother is biracial, and my father is
black. My international friends are the only ones who actually notice that I’m
a mix of a unique recipe in a beautiful and positive way.
I continue to deal with chronic pain, weight gain,
unnaturally curly hair, soul crushing loss of what can never be, and what I
didn’t know I wanted until all my lady parts were removed with zero sex drive. The
enormity of these permanent and unwanted changes literally sucks my breath
Yet, seeing that post from Digesting Grace on Instagram this
morning has given me the gentle but powerful nudge to find that miracle in my
darkness. I suppose that’s what being resilient is all about.