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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Mood swings - the good, the bad and the ugly

One thing about being diagnosed with incurable cancer is that it puts a microscope on you emotions.  At first it is like being on a roller coaster, and one which seems to be going down in the dark with no end in sight, and very little going up into the day light to a safe place where you can rest and catch your breath for a while.  No matter how much any of us try we will never get off this ride, but with a bit of practice I have reached times when it is a bit more like the revolving tea cups where you can control how much the cup spins even though it is still going round and round.

There are those who say you have to be 'POSITIVE' (in capital letters, rather than shouting) all the time, as though one negative thought will make the cancer grow out of control and destroy any good in anything else you may have done that day.  If this is the approach that gets you through the day, then fine; but to me it seems to be a bit punative.  It is a bit like thinking you have to stick to the anti-cancer diet of your choice absolutely, and if you eat anything that you know you shouldn't be eating then everything will be negated.  Really it is all about doing the best that you can in any particular moment.

One thing I have learned over the years of having depression in my life is that I need to go with the flow.  There are times that I just really need to have a good cry and let out the pent up emotions, hormones, whatever, so I can get some balance back into my life and save what is left of my sanity.  It is like a build up of water behind a dam, if you don't allow any release in some sort of a controlled manner you have a disaster in the making.  Think Dambusters!  When the bomb landed in the right place it caused the dam to be breached, but if it didn't get the right spot the problem would dissipate relatively harmlessly.  Some where along the line recently one of those bombs got right up against my wall and blew my mind for a while, but I am getting back to where the bombs aren't hitting that spot and the impact is not causing any cracks.  There needs to be release, not collapse; there needs to be some sort of control that can allow my focus to come back to where I want to be.

At the beginning of last year I did a course about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction that was run as a trail by the hospital where I have my treatment.  That taught me a technique of constantly regaining control by being able to bring focus back to my breathing.  Just normal breathing, nothing yogic, no deep control, just ordinary breathing while noticing that the air being taken is in cooler than the air as it comes out.  This is a microscope focused on my emotions that I am using, not the one I mentioned at the beginning of this post which feels as though it is broadcasting those emotions to the world via a link to a giant screen.  My personal microscope allows see that right here and right now I am ok, and my breathing can allow my mind and body to relax and gain control over the here and now.

It is more about having confidence in myself to be able to deal with things, and allowing myself to take time to deal with them.  Time is something that I do have, even if my diagnosis is 'incurable'.  Infact this moment in time is actually why I still have hope for the future no matter how dimly that hope may seem to be on occassion.


  1. Hi Vicki,
    Firstly, sending you a huge hug (((((((Vicki))))))) We must recognise our emotions and you are right 'go with the flow' let it run it's course!!! It's all about balance I don't think it is natural to be up all the time.
    Honestly Vicki I think that one of the reasons that I am in the state I am in is because I have ALWAYS tried to control my emotions and do the right thing!!! I found when I started menopause that I sort of went in to an automatic pilot stage and would have tears well up for absolutely NO reason while I was in the aisles of the supermarket . When I went for help I also admitted to the doc that I had lost my temper for the 3rd time in my life and perhaps I needed help. ( I should have realised it wasn't natural then!!!)
    The meditation has also helped me get to the me inside thatI have been "shutting up" for the last 50 years... it really is quite blissful at times and frankly I am even beginning to like myself - a new experience for me!!!

    I am coming over to our cottage again this year and will be in London from 20 - 24th and then going to France. Have also planned to go to another retreat with Thich Naht Hanh at Plum Village in the south (near Bordeau) I enjoyed being surrounded by the 'unconditional love' that I felt there last year and wanted another dose =)
    Hope you job situation pans out well for you... you never know what the universe has in store for you...perhaps something even better is around the corner???
    Sending warm wishes your way... you are in my heart and mind.

  2. What will be, will be, as far as the job is concerned; and everything really. Lucky you to have another helping of Plum! Scrumptious. :o)