Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[cancer] The rats are scurrying in the walls of my mind

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.

Tags: cancer, child, family, friends, health, personal
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