The view from the bottom of the well

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RobLee
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 388
   Posted 6/13/2017 3:39 PM (GMT -7)   
For your reading endurement, I thought I would copy part of one of my posts from Cancer Forums back in April. Some of you might be able to relate to what I was feeling at the time...

Believe me, the view from the bottom of the well is a LOT different from how it looks up top. Most days I can walk past "the well", even approach the edge and look down into the well and think "gee, that doesn't look so bad... that shouldn't be so hard to climb out of". But I never know just when I'm going to fall in, or when I do, how long I'll be down there. And as I'm flailing about down there, screaming for help, I can look up and see all the people standing around the edge looking down and thinking "that doesn't look so bad". And once I finally manage to get out, then I have to apologize to everyone that I may have offended when I was down there.... which doesn't make me feel any better. And some of them may have actually given me a little shove, granted it's never intentional, just some little thing that pushed me over the edge.

According to the American Cancer Society, 15 to 35% of cancer patients experience depression. That means either one out of three or one out of seven. That's a huge gap. I suppose it's actually 1 in 3 that are depressed but only 1 in 7 report it, or feel they need to do something about it. Thinking back, I remember at least a half dozen times I've visited doctors and described what should be classic symptoms... endless crying fits, tightness in the chest, unable to breath, feeling a need to escape rather than engage in an uncomfortable discussion. As I describe to my doctor(s) what I feel are serious problems I just see this blank look on his face, like all he's thinking is "what's the least I can do to get this guy out of my office".

I was amazed at the difference in medical care between what my wife has had compared to what I get. I've sat with her thru her many doctors visits. Her doctor asks are you in pain, and how is your emotional state? She even looked at each of us and said "you have cancer, and YOU have cancer, this is going to be difficult... you will need to be sure that you do not let it affect your mental state". My doctor just says "I'm putting you on hormone deprivation therapy... there will be some side effects".
.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you cannot see... be gentle, be kind.

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20044
   Posted 6/13/2017 8:15 PM (GMT -7)   
thx for sharing roblee. this is very important. it is indicative of a lot of things in the medical world. my mental illness was not recognised on the heart ward and i was shamed to sleep a night in the tv room because of constant sleep walking and sleep talking. yes, i hate that people feel obliged to apologise for being mentally unwell. hate this. hate it, that's why i am constantly de-stigmatising mental illness and teaching about co-morbidity factors....esp to the med students!!! such eager young minds that need focused education. got 2 teaching sessions coming up. keep strong roblee. thx for you being a guiding light of hope to others.

pitmom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2015
Total Posts : 2177
   Posted 6/14/2017 4:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for sharing this. "the well", "the black hole", "the rabbit hole", whatever one calls it, it's a terrible place to be.

Why don't I tell my doctor how I'm 'really feeling'? Because I know he won't 'get it'.

My partner recently told me that I complain about my pain too much.

I don't think I'm looking for pity so much as I need someone to recognize that I have a disability, that I hurt constantly. What others do and take for granted, like shopping, is painful for me.

I feel like retreating. Climbing into the hole to be alone in my misery. Such a battle.
multiple surgeries for rotator cuff both shoulders with residual chronic impingement syndrome, ulnar nerve transposition, carpal tunnel release, wrist ganglionectomies/denervectomies/tenolysis, multiple herniated discs, tarlov cyst, whiplash, bursitis of hips, tendonitis, torus, 3rd degree shoulder separation, torn labrum, ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors of the uterus

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41907
   Posted 6/14/2017 6:31 AM (GMT -7)   
I was once told I think too much about how I feel. Well, isn't how we feel very important? I just got the fibromyalgia then. I was always in pain and tired. Now I am still in pain and tired but I am use to it I guess.

Our mental health is so important. It should never be overlooked. We should do as much as possible to feel better. Keep looking for answers.

Keep moving forward.

Pitmom, you can't control how people think, feel or what they say. Just know you do the best that you can. If you complain, you complain. What the heck??? You are human.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

RobLee
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2017
Total Posts : 388
   Posted 6/14/2017 7:39 AM (GMT -7)   
My wife and I now live in a retirement community, with about 10,000 seniors all over the age of 55. We even have our own zip code. Everyone here has some form of cancer, or have had it, or will before they go. Someone dies here every day. My wife tells me that some don't go to community gathering because "all they do is complain about their problems". Well, everyone has them. What strikes me is how thin is the line between here and the hereafter.

What I see before me every day is what I might be if I am still alive for another decade or two. I talk with men who may have a similar condition to my own, then I hear that he is no longer with us. Then I realize it has been a year or two since I last saw him and consider how fleeting our lives truly are.

Looking back at what I thought were big problems when I was young and ambitious, and now realize that they may seem trivial when confronted with a potentially fatal disease. I consider myself fortunate that I did not drive over a cliff or take too many pills when I felt like doing so. It has allowed me to see our children mature and become the wonderful adults they are.

Sure, I have aches and pains. I know that some people are much better off, but many more are so much worse off, and again I consider myself fortunate to have made it this far and not be in worse condition than I am now. We can never know what others must struggle with every day, or what they have endured in their lifetimes. We don't wear signs other then the lines on our faces. I see people who I know are younger than me, but look so much older, and can only imagine what they must have endured to leave such indelible scars. Sometimes the most optimistic people are those who have already seen life at its worst. Some are bitter and cynical, and I suppose are trapped in their own living hell. We are all given the choice between looking upward or looking down.
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you cannot see... be gentle, be kind.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41907
   Posted 6/14/2017 8:23 AM (GMT -7)   
That is so true, the choice of looking upward and looking downward. It isn't always easy to look up but I have learned when we are negative, everything becomes a negative because that is how we look at things. I try to stay positive. Not always easy, but makes life easier in the long run.

I find living in the moment helps with this. Mindfulness. I preach it a lot because it has helped me so much. And the funny thing is I didn't become mindful until I got fibromyalgia. Because of the fact that I never know how I am going to feel on any given day. So I started living each day fresh. It does work. We don't know how much time we have in this world. That is a fact. So make the most out of each moment. Even when I do something as simple as dishes, it is like doing them for the first time. I have to really focus on what I am doing. And it works. Makes the task go easier too.

RobLee, I lost my first husband to lung cancer. I learned a lot about life, living and death. I think it gives you an insight when you are faced with these things. I think you live harder and think deeper. Kudos to you and your wife. I imagine that the time spent together means the world. That is a good thing.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

F27
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/14/2017 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm enjoying this thread - it resonates with me.

A number of years ago I made the mistake of letting my depression define me. The timing was coincidental to my discovery of various online peer groups, including HealingWell, where I was able to, in effect, normalize my depression. Feeling like I was part of a group was wonderful, but in many ways the nature of the groups kept reinforcing the concept of 'person as disease' instead of 'person with disease'.

Karen's point about mindfulness, and living in each moment is valid. Allowing yourself to make the best of each sweep of the minute hand is a fantastic survival mechanism, especially for those who are limited by their conditions. I absolutely love being able to stay in any given moment, forget about yesterday's foibles, and tomorrow's expectations. My wife learned the same discipline, and it really does help us cope with our laundry list of chronic conditions.

On the other hand, living in the moment has served to stop me from goal setting. Spending all this time NOT thinking about the future has robbed me of motivation and hope. In many ways, the last four years have been my 'lost years'; a haze of pharmaceutical fog and unhealthy introspection. I've lived a half decade with a dangerous focus on coping with my disease, instead of finding ways to thrive in spite of it.

I've forgotten the first rule of moving forward: setbacks are to be expected, and when they occur you adapt and overcome. Granted, overcoming can be overwhelming when there's a swack of maladies that come into play, but I've come to believe that I need to at least give myself the opportunity to try. Denying myself the gift of setting and attaining goals is a large price to pay for the relative safe space of living in the moment.

I hate being depressed. I hate the non-stop hamster wheel of negative thoughts and feelings. I hate the lack of physical energy caused by depression. I hate the fear of not being able to cope with anything challenging. But I'm not letting my depression define me anymore. I'm going to take risks again. I'm going to push myself again. I want to feel that awesome rush that comes with conquering a significant challenge, and I'm going to.

I can't live my life as a slave to my illness. I know "normal" people don't get what it means to be depressed, but I'm through asking for allowances. I'm just going to be me, warts and all. If people feel like nudging me into 'the hole', I'll oblige by falling in. But my history has shown that I'll eventually pop out swinging. I got this far in life not by being afraid of the future, but by embracing it.

I'm going to spend the rest of my days making depression my bi7ch. That's a goal that's going to feel great to attain.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41907
   Posted 6/14/2017 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   
That is where moderation in all things comes into play F27. Though I probably do allow myself to be in the moment too much at times. Put off until tomorrow...

You got to continue to move forward and set goals. Small ones for me. You can still be in that moment. The moving forward one... Planning for tomorrow is truthfully different than dwelling on tomorrow. Instead of worrying about something we should do something about it. Or forget it. So don't sell mindfulness short. It can still be accomplished along with moving forward and setting goals. I'm thinking maybe you aren't truly grasping the concept. And it is so hard to explain at times. But you can be mindful in all things. There are no side effects.

In my mind, there is no "normal" in people anymore. Even the "normal" ones have problems and experience depression. Maybe I don't think of depressed people as "abnormal". I am not sure where to draw the line. Though there are a lot of people who don't understand, but maybe we are becoming the norm... Ha Ha...

It is all within ourselves as to how we trek down this healing journey. We live and we learn. A work in progress is what it is. For all of us.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

F27
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 874
   Posted 6/14/2017 12:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Maybe we can borrow a phrase from our friends on the spectrum and instead of referring to the non-depressed as 'normal' we can label them as 'neuro-typical'. heheh

Nah, I'd never sell mindfulness short. My shrink is a big proponent of mindfulness, and we've been exploring it for the last couple of sessions. Interesting enough, many of our discussions were centered on both the upside and the downside of staying in the moment, and it was those discussions that prompted the tone of my last post.

You're right, there's no reason to stop making goals, my personal feeling though, is that we sometimes unduly limit them. Some people, my wife for instance, are precariously healthy. Today she might be feeling great, but tomorrow could be entirely different. Her goals tend to be short term as she is limited by not knowing how she'll feel next week. I fell into that pattern too, and found myself reluctant to take on anything big because I wasn't sure if I could keep my depression at bay long enough to succeed.

Truth is though, my fear of failure trumped my desire for accomplishment. I spent a long time in the safety of my bubble, eschewing growth for the security of stagnation. As you said, Karen, everyone's journey is their own, and for many a steady state is a goal unto itself. My problem is that I stopped developing when I hit my steady state.

There's a wonderful scene in The Matrix where Morpheus gives Neo the choice between plugging back into the matrix, and living a 'normal' life, or having the opportunity to live in the real world. The blue pill vs. the red pill, as it were. I look at myself as being at the same crossroads: take the blue pill and live life relatively contented, or chomp on the red pill and get back into the spooky world of unknowns and potential failures.

All I know is that I miss the excitement of conquering the unknown, and I'm working hard to get that feeling back.

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 41907
   Posted 6/14/2017 4:30 PM (GMT -7)   
I hope you can regain your goals. I am more like your wife and seem to be set more on short term goals. I think that is because of the fibromyalgia. And never knowing if you are going to make it out of bed the next day. Fear... At least for me anyway.

I tend to choose the contented scenario. Though I may be selling myself short. Maybe one day I will shoot for the moon and see what I end up with. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

F27, work your way up to the level you are comfortable with and then some. I think you can attain your goal. At least you can say you tried. Many of us don't get that far.

And 'neuro-typical' sounds good. ha!!!

Have a good evening. I am off to watch Tiger's Baseball for awhile.

Hugs, Karen...
Moderator-Depression


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20044
   Posted 6/14/2017 5:10 PM (GMT -7)   
neuro typical. yep. yes f27, agree with karen, work ya way up. many healing thoughts to you all.

BnotAfraid
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7174
   Posted 6/15/2017 10:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Fantastic thread!

Roblee, perhaps your wife could start a group of APPRECIATION or GRATITUDE. Find some kind of fun name for it.

The group would participate in positive things such as art of easy medians, poetry readings and writings, short trips to local wildlife sanctuaries. You get the idea.

Even a book club, focusing on humorous books. Not serious or self helps.

F27, mindfulness is wonderful for me. It takes time and practice, but oh so worth the hard work.

The app INSIGHT TIMER is free and a bottomless pit of information on mindfulness, meditation, and podcasts and relaxing music.

Takes a bit to get use to navigating, you can search by subject. The main subjects icons, change daily, however when you find something that inspires, calms or just plain works for you; there is a bookmark feature. This allows you to create your own list, so searching become less.

Also you can activate notices for new additions to certain genres such as Self Esteem, Sleep meditation, etc...

Even as a journal feature so you can keep track of how each session is working and your emotions before and after. The journal page come up after the session ends. You get a comment screen THEN the journal page comes it, it is not labeled though.

As for NORMAL, NORM etc...

I just do not care for labels. People are who they are. We are all unique in how own special way, akin to finger prints.

If there truly was a NORM, how boring life would be!

Peace
Trina
Moderator - Depression

"...when the gift of sight is cause enough for jubilation."
Billy Collins from the poem. HIGH

DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain;Hemicrania Continua; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20044
   Posted 6/16/2017 12:12 AM (GMT -7)   
like being a turtle!!!!

BnotAfraid
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7174
   Posted 6/16/2017 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Indeed!

Last week, John had off. We drove down to the bay north of Atlantic City, about 20 miles north.
It is called Leeds Point.

Only one road in and out. It is also a crossing for turtles, that live in the wetlands! We saw 3 this time! and we saved !.

The 3 one was on the opposite side of the road and a red pickup truck was coming fast, John stopped, I jumped out of the car. Waved down the truck. He actually stopped, reluctantly. I went and scooped up the little guy hiding in his shell and put him in the reeds.

I then waved on the truck before I crossed back. The man, shaking his head, revved his engine and took off. Idiot.

During lunch I realized I got a particular pleasure out of saving that turtle, one because YOU HT are a mate, friend; then there is the fact that my as....h.. brother owned a red pickup truck for years. So to have control for a good deed and at the same time make a male furious in a red truck was like 5 scoops of ice cream with Belgium chocolate sauce on top!!!

Peace
Trina
Moderator - Depression

"...when the gift of sight is cause enough for jubilation."
Billy Collins from the poem. HIGH

DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain;Hemicrania Continua; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20044
   Posted 6/16/2017 11:23 PM (GMT -7)   
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