How are you?

Keeping my blog updated has been a scary challenge since I got back as my world has been predominantly black and negative. I have been stuck in turmoil. A dear friend, Anna, visited a few days ago and urged me to just tell it the way it is as the downs are as much a part of my journey as the ups and maybe others will relate to it. Or maybe not! Anna was part of a team of dear and loyal friends who arranged an appeal evening for me last week in the North East so I could get more treatment. I was absolutely humbled. So much effort had gone into it and the only thing I did was give them my mother’s phone number. They raised nearly £3,000. It was such a great evening with so much healing energy in the room. I felt blessed and that lifted me enough to give me back some oomph to continue with this fight.

When most people ask, ‘How are you?’, the normal response is ‘Fine’, ‘Great’, ‘Alright’, etc followed with the correct response of ‘And you, how are you?’ That’s what they want to hear and the majority really don’t want to know anything else. It is a polite euphemism. I am normally a really positive person. But what if you’re really not ok? It’s a gamble to tell the truth. The person to whom you’re speaking may walk away, never wishing to ask you again. ‘Stay away from negative people,’ I hear all the supposedly positive training facilitators say. Inhuman. Negativity is part of the human emotion and when bottled up it festers into a debilitating depression. When facing a painful life threatening disease, then it is normal to get a mega dose of it. Real friends will see through it and stick with you. No great things happen without that unconditional love.

So here I am again with my forlorn friend sitting on my shoulder, whispering dark thoughts into my ears. I can fight with it, tell it to ‘F*** off’, try to override it with positive affirmations, avoid it with busyness but unless something dramatically changes on the inside then it doesn’t work for long. I was so excited to get back home from the US, I suppose I expected things to be different.  I mean, I had gone through a massive change, but I got back to a lonely, empty existence and the depression slipped stealthily back in little by little and my energy waned. I most certainly don’t want to sound ungrateful for all the help I have had: I am charmed by the amount of people who have reached out to help in one way or another. But it is more evident than ever how deeply troubled my mind is after the recent events.

My good friend, Barbara, came to stay the first weekend I was back and was invaluable in helping me set up my kitchen. I have seen a few friends but I have to be careful: most, except a rare few, do not understand this dark emotion so I have to hide it. Anyway, it is easier in a social setting when it doesn’t feel as intense. If I tell the truth and say I am depressed, they ask ‘Why?’ in an exasperated tone, and list things that have been good recently. Things which, perhaps if I wasn’t depressed, would have been enough to give me a lift. What they don’t understand is that you can’t get on if you’re stuck in a rut. Everything feels overbearing. The fact is, I have been psychologically damaged. The result of all the trauma I have experienced over 5 years of hell is essentially post traumatic stress disorder. It is not going to go away quickly. Yes, I now have a home which most certainly helps, but fears dominate of losing everything again and it scares me deeply, more than the fear of the cancer taking over. A psychologist I was seeing a few years agi stopped the appointments once it became apparent I would be homeless again. Such an event is so destabilising, they know that nothing will get through to you.

Cancer – I am fed up of that word. Aaaaarrrrrgggggggggghhhhh! This has been a long drawn out battle. My trip taught me so much but implementing it all is proving difficult. I could have done it years ago when I was first diagnosed. I had the energy then but not the money. But now I have pain most of the time but I don’t voice that unless it is severe and it slows me down. I was at my mum’s and an old school friend’s mum called and asked how I was. ‘Alright,’ I replied. I was happy to chat with her and didn’t want to launch into a list of crap. Mum said, ‘ No you’re not, you struggle walking’. But she was calling for a 5 minute chat. I felt the truth would bring her down. There have been friends step away recently and, of course, that hurts and contributes to those fears. I understand it may be hard to handle. Bob (the priest at OHI) said the key to my emotional healing is to make myself more vulnerable! How can I make myself more vulnerable than I already have? I don’t know how to ask for more help without being humiliated further. My pride has kicked back in. I am terrified. I believe people would help if they wanted to. People are busy in their own lives. I got back to an attitude of ‘stiff upper lip darling, get on with it’. I expected things to be different, I suppose, after I had bared my soul, but I returned to absolute emptiness. It was like a book I read years ago called ‘Somewhere off the coast of Maine’. A young girl steals money to run away and have a nose job and thinks when she returns to school all her problems will be over and she will be more accepted, but of course they weren’t and she wasn’t.

The booze and fags have been gone for over 3 months now so it is difficult to find an outlet to suppress my emotions. I am learning to sit with them but it’s squirming stuff sometimes and a lot of anger has risen. I have been rather short tempered and grumpy and developed a dose of tourettes. I was becoming like Jack in Father Ted, walking round the flat swearing. Anger is one of the ugliest emotions and a new one for me. A transformation coach at Breast Cancer Haven said we store anger in our liver so it will be spreading my cancer there. She suggested I replace the swearwords with Om so I have been ‘Omming’ a lot. The hurts and fears run round and round in my head and weigh me down. It’s exhausting. I feel under pressure to be perfect. I am evidently still looking outside of myself for approval. I need to find some peace inside.

The detox diet has been difficult to manage on my own so I am not doing everything I should be as it takes so much energy to organise and prepare and it’s all so new to me. I need a wheatgrass conveyor belt going and to grow various sprouts. But I don’t have the set up for it. Shelves are going up today. I could get the wheatgrass delivered but it is pricey – unfortunately most things boil down to money. Fed up of worrying about money. I rebel into a mini sugar binge when I feel down which is an addiction that I am still struggling with (we all know how difficult it is to give up chocolate or the like). I sometimes spiral out of control into a paranoid, defeated, scaredy cat. My dreams are mostly about people running away and abandoning me – any sign of abandonment triggers my fears and I clam up. Most of it is unreal but it is so deep seated.

I had a sudden and extremely painful episode yesterday which has left me emotionally and physically drained and scared. It’s as wake up call. There is a time to live and a time to die and maybe this is just my time. Maybe I just need to accept and be still in that acceptance and be brave. It doesn’t mean I will give in to it , NEVER! But I need to be realistic that my energy is depleting again. I have been very tired recently. I am confused who I am now. My journal for the last 6 weeks has been painful reading back as it mostly the same fears repeated. My brain started working efficiently again when I was away from it all.

I have a black ball of slimy gunk in my tummy putting this out but I am trusting in the healers who say it is what I need to do. I realise I cannot do this detox here alone and simply do not have the support, money or energy and so I have applied to go back to OHI as a missionary which essentially means I will help other guests as they arrive, alongside healing myself. I will have everything I need there at my fingertips, not only with less distraction but without the worry about day to day survival. I need to heal in a supportive environment. As well as the detox they teach how to calm the mind and spirit so I will be assigned a mentor to help me work through all my fears. They have seen this thousands of times so understand it thoroughly. The application will take 4-6 weeks so I just need to try and make sure I stay well enough to get there. I have been trying to find a doctor who does naturally derived Vit C therapy but it seems they all use synthetic Vit C here, which Hippocrates claimed that long term experiments with rats showed it eventually caused cancer! I am still looking for an interim alternative boost.

The healing path is no straight road, often 2 steps forward and 1 step back. It’s tough but no-one said it was easy. I hope to return healed, happier and better able to cope with my environment. On my return I am adopting a dog, 2 cats and a fish so I will have happy sloppy faces to wake up to and brighten my day. 

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8 thoughts on “How are you?

  1. Hi Lady – a day at a time, we are all on a journey and a great deal of the time at dark, hard times, you wonder what the point of it all is – but that my dear is the point – the journey of life is just that.

    By helping one person a day is my motto, just think what a world we live in would look like if we helped one person, each day. Sometimes its paying the toll money for the car behind me at the tunnel pay point, or telling a really lovely lady in the checkout behind me how beautiful she looks today – it often brightens their day, but it ALWAYS brightens mine 🙂

    So, pretty lady – I can’t be there to support you, or give you a magic wand to ‘help’ – but just know there are people out there ‘hoping’ for you – I really do ‘hope’ it makes a little difference.

    Ali x

  2. Sonia, it must have been totally heart wrenching to compose this…. I send you my most positive thoughts. I can come to you on Saturday if you are free xxxx

  3. Hey Sonia, even though you are sharing your dark moments, your fears and anxieties, what comes through here is your fighting spirit and determination. Love you, my prayers and thoughts are with you every day xxx

  4. This post is well written and beautifully honest. It’s been a hard and scary road for you Sonia and for all you have achieved you should be proud of yourself.

    I know it doesnt always feel that way but we are here for you, I am here for you.
    I can’t always be there, I can’t always do everything you need to help and I don’t always say the right thing. That is because I understand in some ways how you feel (dealing with depression) but in many many more ways I have no idea what you must be feeling.

    I do know that we are never given by god more than we can handle. I do know you are one of the strongest people I know for surviving all you have done.
    I also know that if anyone can trudge this path, survive it and come out the other side stronger than ever before it is you.
    And as much as I can and as much as I am able I will try and support you while you trudge it!

    Love you lots. Xx

  5. my dear Sonia, I wish I lived closer to you as i would have you here in my studio for art therapy. Your feelings are so vivid I hope that you can draw them and mark their passing with images rather than words – at least they will not read the same and you might just let a shift happen without words – call me please to get some of my healing…01895 312777 Im in my studio now and sending it your way even if we don’t speak. Sending you a huge heart of love and a skwishy hug. Debra xxx

  6. Sonia, you are always in my thoughts please don’t take my absence from your North East charity function as a sign that I do not care. I did not know about it. Take care lovely lady xx

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