Thursday, January 17, 2013

Self-Pity Is for Sissies


It’s been a long time since I have written here. That is because I have been stuck in my own head having a no holds barred, pity party. It’s been pretty epic, and by epic I mean whiney, self-serving and completely pointless.  It is also, for the most part, completely out of character.

I am not one for pity; not for myself, not for anyone else. I am not the friend you go to when you have a problem and you just want a hug, a glass of wine, and some reassuring drivel about how ‘everything happens for a reason’ and how ‘it is all part of some grand design or master plan’ and ‘everything will be okay in the end.’ The only helpful thing that comes out of that is the wine. No, I am the friend that you come to when you have a problem that you are interested in solving. You’ll get the wine, and the hug, but what you won’t get is the pity. Instead, I do my best to help you come up with a solution. I will, however, only do this once. If you come to me the next month with the same problem, which you have done nothing to improve, the best you’re gonna get from me is a “that sucks”. A lot of people find this harsh or unkind. My friends (at least the ones that have lasted) know that I am coming from a good place; that I care about them too much to stand by and be a cheerleader while they do nothing but wallow in self-pity. They also know, that most of the time, I employ the same tactics to myself.

While I have been dealt some tough hands in life, I've never really been one to take them lying down. I have always been stubborn and have taken on challenges with an “is that all you got?” attitude. When I was in third grade, I had a surgery which resulted in my legs being in casts from ankle to hip. I somehow managed to teach myself to walk around my house with these casts on; I found being carried or using a chair to be too annoying. Instead of wallowing in the fact that I couldn't move, I decided that figuring out how I could move was the best course of action. Exactly twice in my life, I have allowed self-pity to take over: once in high school when I moved schools and felt so isolated that instead of finding ways to make friends, I retreated into myself. I began cutting and was severely depressed until senior year when I decided I was over the bullshit, made some friends and had a pretty decent year. The second time is now. Well not right now, but it pretty much started after my diagnoses.

This treatment has been the absolute, hands down, most challenging thing that I have ever encountered. Not just because of the treatment itself, but because the longer it goes on, the more it has been exasperating the things that were already difficult in my life. I have gained weight because of the meds, which is problematic for me. For years I struggled with a bad body image; additionally, the extra weight is making it harder to move and so much easier to fall. My normal aches and pains have become more intense and almost constant, even resting I am in pain. My muscles are fatigued and weak; I can no longer get myself out of bed without a struggle or stand for longer than five minutes at a time. There is so much more that I care to list, but in short, it’s been a challenge. A challenge which I have buckled under at almost every turn. Instead of telling myself the usual: That it isn’t that bad, that things could be worse, that this is only temporary, and that I should just keep on keeping on; I have been thinking about how hard this is, how unfair, how long 48 weeks is, and how I just simply cannot do it anymore. I cry and I swear and I throw things.

I know what some of you are thinking; that seems like a perfectly reasonable reaction. Perhaps it is, but is it solving anything? Is it making the 48 weeks go by any faster or less miserably? No. I knew this, but still I wallowed. And then real shit starting happening in the world. Children were shot and killed in their school; girls with their whole lives ahead of them were being murdered, my friends were losing loved ones expectantly.

And that’s when I remembered, no matter how hard things are, it can get worse. What I am going through really pales and comparison to what is happening everyday to someone else. In fact, what I am going through means that there is hope; hope for a cure, hope that 48 weeks of misery means a lifetime of better health. And so I am climbing out of my self-pity hole. I am not going to settle for “I can’t” or “it’s too hard” anymore. I am not going to be that sad girl I was in high school. I am going to be that stubborn third grader. I am going to do everything I can do. No more lying around and doing nothing. I might have new limits, but there is still plenty I can do, and I am going to do it.

Yesterday I vacuumed the first floor, did the dishes, cooked two night worth of dinner, took a shower and called my best friend. Tonight I have quilting class and tomorrow I am blessed to be able to spend time with both my father and my grandmother. Next week is my last week of Invicek, which many consider the hardest part of treatment. I can’t wait to start eating better, and trying to get a simple workout routine in to build my muscles back up. From now on, treatment is not going to kick my ass. I am going to kill it. I am done with worthless, pointless, lazy self- pity.

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