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[cancer] The rats are scurrying in the walls of my mind - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2012-08-07 05:44
Subject: [cancer] The rats are scurrying in the walls of my mind
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, child, family, friends, health, personal
Yesterday I had a slow motion cancer meltdown. It was triggered by me being unhappy about a minor professional happening that isn't even an issue — in other words, a blatantly disproportionate response to something that was at its worst mildly frustrating.

I was irritated, unhappy and depressed.

I almost immediately recognized what was happening. My anxiety and stress about the forthcoming scan and bloodwork next week is finding its way out. This is the classic toothpaste-out-of-the-back-of-the-tube situation.

Of course, being me, I became irritated, unhappy and depressed about the fact that I was irritated, unhappy and depressed. This emotional cycle makes me feel crazy. I even became irritated and unhappy and depressed about the fact that I was irritated, unhappy and depressed about the fact that I was irritated, unhappy and depressed. I was pretty much in danger of disappearing up my own existenz.

And yes, I knew full well what was happening inside my head. Recognizing this is not the same as being able to stop it. Self-awareness does not necessarily confer self-control. So I talked to Lisa Costello on the phone for a while. Then I went down to the basement where Donnie Reynolds has his temporary production office and told him I was having a slow motion meltdown. He fired up the camera and I explained myself to the lens at some length. Which is a degree of self-honesty and exposure unusual even for the pathologically extroverted me.

This is the long, slow slide into the moment next week. And it's only going to get worse.

That's why Donnie is here now. That's why Lisa is flying out to Portland on Friday. That's why Jersey Girl in Portland has been spending so much time with me lately. And [info]mlerules. And all my other friends and my family. The people who love me are showing their love by simply being present for my flailings about and irrational outbursts and long, deep moments of irritated self-pity.

And I love them fiercely for it.

In the mean time, I give myself permission both to be upset and to get over it. Likewise, I have to give myself permission to not write fiction if the stress overwhelms me. I have to work the Day Jobbe and be [info]the_child's dad. Everything else is optional at this point.

Cancer certainly is the great simplifier. Nearly as focusing as the prospect of a morning hanging.

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cypherindigo
User: cypherindigo
Date: 2012-08-07 14:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keeping you in my thoughts.
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a_cubed
User: a_cubed
Date: 2012-08-07 14:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, I so relate to the "just because I understand what's happening, I can't prevent it". I'm not sure whether this is in fact worse than not understanding or not. There's this bit of the mind that's sitting there looking at the rest going round and round in pathological ruminative state and it's making it worse because it's commenting that this rumination isn't going anywhere, it's pathological...
Sucks to be in this state. It really does.
Best wishes. Hang in there.
Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2012-08-07 14:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Stay strong.
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MG Ellington
User: xjenavivex
Date: 2012-08-07 14:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am marking the days here and thinking of you. I am thankful you have your crew with you.
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joycemocha
User: joycemocha
Date: 2012-08-07 15:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hugs.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-08-07 15:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so glad you have close friends nearby.
This is what stress does to us. It traps us in those circles, and, as you say, just knowing it's a circle doesn't make it easy to break it. Which adds to the frustration. I get stuck there too, and... well, sympathy and hugs.
And I hope to see you at Worldcon to deliver more hugs.
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mcjulie
User: mcjulie
Date: 2012-08-07 15:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Self-awareness does not necessarily confer self-control"

So true! Our thoughts are always with you.
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russ
User: goulo
Date: 2012-08-07 18:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey, take care of yourself, and remember that the occasional meltdown doesn't change the fact that you're a cool fun witty smart talented friendly excellent wonderful person, and I often miss the good old days when we lived in the same city and hung out often, instead of living on different continents... Good luck to you.
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Rowan aka: The Seticat: cat - i-petz-you - mysticmirth
User: seticat
Date: 2012-08-07 22:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:cat - i-petz-you - mysticmirth
{hugs}
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User: mrtact
Date: 2012-08-08 00:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Dude, I'm totally stealing that last line for a story. Twisted around I'm sure it will make an excellent FIRST line.
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