Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[cancer] Fear and loathing in El Lago

Excellent Italian dinner with e_bourne and markbourne last night. Much was discussed, including me unpacking more of several earlier conversations with calendula_witch about my current state of mind with respect to the cancer issues in my life.

In short, I normally have a rather high degree of self-awareness and meta-awareness. This is both a function of about thirty years of on-and-off psychotherapy, some of it quite intensive (I was a suicidal mess as a teenager, and didn't really come into a solid, secure adult identity until well into my 30s); and the whole writer-mind thing where one grows a sort of second personality to function as an internal observer (I sometimes think of it as a benign controlled schizophrenia). Even when I am behaving like an emotional buffoon, I am usually pretty clear on what I'm doing and why, which generally allows me to abbreviate the process and make the appropriate amends.

Apparently I have been reacting to the new cancer diagnosis with an existential terror so deep that I have been completely unaware of my own negative behaviors and communication tics. That in turn frightens me at a meta-level, because over the years I have come to rely very heavily on my meta-awareness. In effect, I am at risk of abrogating trust with myself. This requires a great deal more thought, and careful communication

Cancer really, really sucks. It's not just a social disease, it's a mental illness.

Tags: calendula, cancer, health, personal

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