I’m depression-tired. It’s different from regular tired. I didn’t wear out my body with activity or my mind with inputs. I’m tired in my soul.
There’s an element of self-pity and petulance to the resurgence. “This? Again? Seriously? Not fair.”
There’s some nastiness and self-criticism as well. “Why can’t you keep it together?”
Coffee doesn’t help this kind of tired.
Nor does sleep, when I can get it. I’m practicing “as good as I can” self-care. Which means it could be better, but it could be worse. I’m trying to surf the wave of depression but I’m getting bored with trying to keep my head above water. I’m starting to forget why letting myself sink is a bad idea.
This is probably not the best mindset to be in when getting biopsy results.
This is probably a good time to say that I’m really struggling to accept my conflicting feelings and believe that they don’t make me a bad person.
I don’t have breast cancer. There was a chance I might; I had all kinds of tests, including a biopsy. So, this is a very good thing. Everyone tells me it’s the best news. We should go out, celebrate. My family is relieved; my friends ecstatic.
What I do have is something called a papilloma, which is a fancy way of saying benign tumour. They still want to take it out, so I still get surgery, but it’s not a mastectomy and I don’t need any kind of chemotherapy or radiation.
And my friends and family are right. This is a very good thing. I’m completely relieved. Mostly. The truth is I feel like a horrible person every time I tell a friend or family member and have to deal with their excitement and relief. I feel like that because in contrast to their unmitigated joy and relief, I’m only about 80% there. I’m 20% disappointed with the result. I’m 20% disappointed because cancer would have been a potential out.
Who thinks that way? I feel horrible for letting a thought like that exist because there are people with cancer who would never, ever make that choice. Unfortunately, it is also the truth. I’m tired and a terminal diagnosis seems like it would have been a relief of sorts. It probably wouldn’t have been, but that’s how I feel, and why I feel guilty and despairing over the kind of person I seem to be at times.
Depression can be tiring. Mental illness can be tiring. You aren’t always suicidal. But sometimes I think it would be nice if the choice was taken out of my hands. With cancer, if I’d had cancer, there was a potential end in sight and it wouldn’t be my fault. I could let go, give up, sink, and no one could blame me for it.
My eating disorder is part of that 20% disappointed too. I’m struggling on that front, trying hard to accept a body that I really don’t like on a daily level. The negative body thoughts work in concert with the depression to keep me down. The thinking my eating disorder is engaging in goes like this: with cancer, I’d have had chemotherapy. I’d have thrown up. A lot. I’d have lost weight. And I’d have been thin. Really thin. And it wouldn’t even have been my fault. I wouldn’t have to try. And my eating disorder liked the potential of possible emaciation, no matter what horrible happenstance I’d have to embrace to get it.
Thoughts like this have a way of making you feel bad about yourself. I wonder about the kind of person I am, even as I struggle to remember that thoughts are just thoughts and I don’t have to attend to them. That thoughts are just thoughts and I don’t need to judge myself for having them.
I have good news. No cancer. And life goes on. This is a very good thing. I know this, truly. I want to see my children become fully-fledged adults. I want to do things with my life. I want to redo my bathroom. But there is a part of me deep down that is just the tiniest bit disappointed. A part of me that wishes the decision to keep fighting mental illness had been taken out of my hands. Battle fatigue.