Sunday, October 29, 2017

Cancer sucks

They say that when a family member is diagnosed with cancer the whole family is. I feel like this is true. The last month and a half has been one of the hardest in my life. I can't speak for my other family members, but I am sure they feel pretty much the same way. I'm working through some tough stuff, but I am not the only one.

Things seem to be going back to "normal" as the initial shock has started to wear off. I keep running through a whole host of emotions. I am feeling guilty for when I feel happy. I am sure this is normal for the situation. I have moments where I am so overwhelmed I just have to sit down. I find myself rubbing the center of my chest in an attempt to calm down my racing heart from the anxiety. It's almost so automatic that I don't even know I am doing it. I think the thing I fear most is when I go numb and feel nothing at all. That is one of the hallmarks of bipolar systems. In fact, for a long time before I was diagnosed I thought I was incapable of caring for or loving anyone. I hate that I don't know what is going to happen. it drives me crazy. AND I WOULD REALLY LIKE A DAY WHERE I DON'T CRY. I am super emotional right now guys. Regardless, I am just taking things one day at a time. Luckily, the nightmares seem to be subsiding and I am starting to have nights where I am sleeping.

Most of all, I am angry. I am at a loss for how someone who is healthy and never smoked can get lung cancer. I've been avoiding reading things on the internet about it, but one thing I learned is that lung cancer is the most common and that as a non-smoking woman I have a higher risk of lung cancer than I do of breast cancer. Point is, I'm pissed. It's not fair. I know life isn't fair, but this feels particularly cruel. So f**k you universe.

Now that I've gotten my pity rant out of the way, I want to focus on moving forward. I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy. So while I feel guilty for trying to move forward while my dad battles cancer, I know he wouldn't want me to mope. I can be victim or I can fight. Victim has never been an option.

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update, since my last post was pretty depressing. This one isn't great either, but at least things are moving forward. I (and my family) am extremely grateful for all the well wishes we have received. It really helps lift our spirits. Dad's next chemo treatment is tomorrow, so feel free to send him some positive vibes!

Friday, October 6, 2017

I'm not ok and that's ok

I've been debating whether or not to post something like this. 9 years ago I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't hide my struggles anymore and seek help when needed. Consider this post holding myself accountable. The last few weeks I have been hiding. I've been isolating again. I think most people that see me everyday have noticed a change in my behavior. I am very grateful that many of you have been reaching out to make sure I am ok. The answer is that I am not ok, but I will be. I've been fearing having to face episodes again, but the last few weeks have been hit after hit and it has started triggering symptoms. I won't go into details about what has been going on and I'm not ready to talk about it yet, but the shooting in Vegas was what pushed me over the edge. The grief from the last few weeks has come to a head and I have admitted to myself that I need help again. At first, I was ashamed and felt like a failure. I've gone 9 years without having to seek therapy. I've put myself on a pedestal that I should be the shining example of someone with bipolar disorder living the perfect life and having it all figured out. I've gone so long without having to stare down the seriousness of my disease, that I figured I am might not have to deal with it again. Sure I have had ups and downs, but grief does things to you. Unfortunately, that isn't the case and I have to remember how hard I worked to have that "remission." I think anyone in my situation would be feeling grief, but bipolar has just added a whole new level. Life is hard, bipolar makes it harder. I need to realize I am not a burden to my family and friends when I need help, but I hate admitting I am not ok. I'm not sleeping, nightmares have plagued my nights, and the anxiety is overwhelming. I sat in the shower for 30 minutes this morning trying to calm myself down and motivate myself out the door. I forgot how crippling this disease can actually be.  I am a strong person, but sometimes even the strongest people need help.

I am not writing this for pity. I am writing this to show that it is ok to not be ok. It's ok to acknowledge that you need help. I have, and I am going to see a therapist. I was going to take an extended break again after IM Wisconsin, but I need structure right now so I am back on a workout schedule (don't worry, all easy at the moment). I have also made use of my sick hours when I need to since I have been breaking down at work. Bipolar is an illness and it needs to be treated like any other illness. It's going to be a long few months for me and for my family and I need the tools to cope with what is to come.

Finally, don't be afraid to reach out if your are in trouble. I am always available if you need to talk.

Also, a picture of some of my family, because I love them and I love this picture.