Get an entire grip on yourself: sadness & the art of keeping yourself in “check”
Cannot tell a lie. I’ve been sad for the past couple of days. Sadder, perhaps, than I’ve felt in some time. I had cause. In the past week:
- I said “goodbye” to my “home school” of seven years, and all the students therein. (Reminded myself “goodbyes” and change are normal and healthy.)
- I got infusions: Lupron, Excheva. (Reminded myself that they might make me feel like shit, but they might also save my life.)
- I am in the middle of an Ibrance cycle. (Same as above: feel like shit, but possibly life saving.)
- I was suddenly, unexpectedly, disillusioned by “the program” I’ve been overzealously involved in for 70-some odd days. (Take a lesson: humans will disappoint, they always somehow do; grab what you learned and run.)
- I have felt tired from being a cancer patient who traveled a lot, and didn’t sleep or eat enough. (Duh.)
Yesterday, I had some business to attend to, and after that I closed my devices — no phone, no social media, no writing. I needed to be on the couch with Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, burnt waffles with Trader Joe’s banana spread (seriously, that’s what I ate for dinner last night), and go to bed very early.
I feel better today.
I wanted a drink last night. Just a glass of wine to “take the edge off.”
I did not drink. Not even a glass of wine.
This is going to sound very silly, but I prayed.
I prayed to my understanding of “God” to keep me
from drinking or thinking about drinking,
and I went about my evening and did not drink.
In the morning, every morning, I am thankful to myself
that I stayed off booze for another day: Day 76.
And Day 76 will turn into Day 100 and will turn into a year or better
if I am allowed, by the grace of God and modern medicine,
to live that long.
I am Alcoholically Homeless, I suppose.
My therapist suggested I take a little “space” from
“the program.” Feel my feelings, and all that shit.
The Zen Center is sounding appealing.
I think maybe I just need something to ground me spritually.
I think that’s, in the end, what I really liked about “the program” —
the way it brought me back to myself. My real self. Not my
grumpy, malcontent, alcoholic self.
If I’m being “rigorously honest,” if I felt there was “no hope” for me
in re: the cancer thing
I would just say “fuck it” and drink all the booze I like.
However, I feel the faintest (some days stronger) hope
that maybe if I take care of this body properly, I can
be around on this planet for a few more cosmic minutes, yet:
I want to. Even when it’s awful,
I really enjoy being alive.
If I’m being “rigorously honest,” some of my “old thoughts”
crept into my brain this week. Dark, mean, utterly unhelpful
thoughts. This is not to say that all unpleasant thoughts are
to be disregarded, rather, I know myself. And I know when
I’m thinking “crazy thoughts” about myself. I now know
the difference between “being kind to myself” and
“being an asshole to myself” and I am not keen anymore
on “being an asshole to myself.” I don’t deserve that, and
neither do you, reader.
My brilliant therapist once posited that maybe I take my cruelest
thoughts about myself and imagine I was saying them to a student.
“I would never,” I told my therapist. “I would never talk to a student
the way I talk to myself.”
My therapist didn’t really need to say much
to prove the point.
So yesterday, when I was like, “What are you even doing?
You are a cancer patient. You can’t do this.” I remembered
what my therapist said, and I tried to be nicer to myself.
“Lots of women are metastatic breast cancer patients,”
I told myself. “And there are lots of hopeful treatments
for breast cancer,” I told myself. “And most days you feel
just fine, so please calm the fuck down.”
I would not say “calm the fuck down” to a student, but
I have been known to tell a student mid-flip out, “You need
to get a grip on your entire self.” In fact, I did say this to a student
once many years ago when the student was flipping out because
they had lost a liter of root beer. Sarah and I say it to each other
frequently, “You need to get a grip on your entire self.”
So I’ve gotten a grip on my entire self, today.
I have a couple of things of import to do this Friday.
Right now I’m just drinking coffee, listening to Thin Lizzy,
and writing in my “diary.”
I’m okay today.
Feel less tired than I did yesterday.
A Favorite Former is stopping by later
for an evening walk. My sister
is visiting for the first time in almost two years
in a little over ten days. I cannot wait. I have not
been away from her for this long since she was born
about thirty-seven years ago.
Thanks to therapy, Prozac, and healthier boundaries,
I am able to have some bad days and not totally “spin out.”
Did I want to drink yesterday? Yep.
Did I drink yesterday? Nope.
There are a million reasons why I don’t drink, not the least of which
is that I really enjoy waking up in the morning not feeling “foggy.”
I like waking up and being awake. Like I wish
a motherfucker would
Felt good to be off my phone/computer/etc
for a while yesterday.
Maybe that’s the secret to
“getting an entire grip on yourself.”
To step away.
To acknowledge that no one dies
if I take a break, but I might die if I do not
take a break.
Maybe the secret is La Croix, burnt waffles,
and a stupid video game
where I wander a digital forest
and slay monsters
and never really die.