Monday, August 21, 2017

Waiting room.

The waiting room for the breast clinic is full and I've run out of data on my phone, so I guess digital dissociation isn't an option. 

your appointment may take 1-3 hours

We appreciate your patience

thank you.

There's a TV in the waiting room, I wish it were playing one of those trash morning shows.

Instead, there's a loop tape. 
It's the same loop tape that plays every time I come here.
Slowly it cycles through miscellaneous, supposedly relaxing footage.

A waterfall.
A fern.
A flower, petals coated in raindrops, the word secludio in the top right corner. 
A swan.
Gum trees reflected in a body of water. The text reads Lilly pond, but it is not a lily pond.
A gliding close up of a leaf with the word somewhere in the bottom right corner.
Another waterfall.
I feel like I'm dying.
Another flower.

The water fountain is located on the other side of the waiting room area.

When I came here for the surgery, the oncologist was named Dr. Mann. 
I thought that was pretty funny. Because it's the breast clinic. 
A different oncologist just popped his head out into the waiting room and called someone's name. 
She got up and smiled as she greeted him.

I'll probably smile too, involuntarily, when my name is called. 
Like maybe if I'm polite, they won't tell me I have breast cancer? 
Is that how manners work? 
The naive subconscious smile, the hope for good news, like a pleasant greeting is going to make a difference to what the papers say inside that folder.

God I wish I had wifi.
A pelican soars across the loop tape screen.
Wait time: 30 minutes

The tumor was removed nearly 8 years ago. 
Benign, but some kind of rare tumor. 
The scar is the same colour as my skin now, but it's still thick.

Every year we check to see if it's come back. 
Every year a different doctor. 
Every year their hands are cold. 
Every year they press them into me.
Every year the swans and waterfalls. 

what if your Pap test result is abnormal?

Wait time: 45 minutes.
My name is called. 

A new doctor tells me his name and I forget it instantly.
A student is in the room and he extends his hand upon introduction. 
This formality puzzles me considering I'm about to take my top off.

"Everything seems fine Rebekah, We'll see you again next year."

Monday, February 20, 2017

I overdid it.

If you, like me, are a person prone to occasional depression relapses, I would like to offer you some advice.

You don't have to take the advice, I know sometimes advice is the least helpful thing for people like us, and to be honest, I actually write this blog for me, not you, so it's kind of advice to myself...but it's nice that you're here, so please stay.

Firstly, congratulations on getting up and going about your business most days. 
What a feat! Oh trust me, I know, it's a big deal.

Sometimes, I can go days getting up and going about my business. 
Sometimes, days in a row!
Sometimes even weeks!

I know if I remember to eat, sleep, tend to my garden, and avoid certain things that make me very sad, I can continue along in life without my carefully built mental structure crumbling.

The other thing I need to make sure of, is that I balance my energy levels.
I require down time.

I use a lot of energy by being outside. 
By talking to people. By working hard. 
By trying hard to be a successful, non-depressed, non-anxiety-controlled person, with a life, and responsibilities, and goals, and really, really high expectations of myself.

Last week, I did not allow myself any down time.

I worked,which I enjoy.
I socialised, which I enjoy (in controlled environments).
I worked again, a little harder and a little longer than usual.
Then I did some more work, and I socialised a bit, then I worked more.
Then I went to the gym. Then I went back to work. Then I went out with friends. 
Then I got back to work.

I enjoy all of those things.
I like my work, my friends, and heck even going to the gym isn't that bad (yes it is).

I did not stop and rest in between.
So when suddenly I didn't have any work scheduled, or any catch ups planned...

I was catapulted into 48 solid hours of heavy, guilt-ridden uselessness. 

I told myself the free time would be a good opportunity to do some house work, run some errands, maybe fit in a bit more editing work. I should use this time to stay on top of everything. 
Maybe even get ahead of everything!

That was not correct.

The time should have been allocated to rest.

So, when my brain collapsed on itself, as it inevitably does sometimes, 
I was not ready or able to deal with the low. 
I can ride out the lows most times. I try to be kind to myself. 
I watch netflix, I ignore my phone, I ignore the mess in my apartment, I eat a lot of crackers and dip, and I recuperate.

But this time I couldn't believe it. I was so shocked! 
I was doing SO MUCH. 
I still had SO MUCH MORE TO DO. 
I was internally screaming at myself WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS.
Then I eventually remembered that I'm just like this sometimes, 
and that's okay, and I could probably chill the fuck out for a second.
And just give myself a little break.

So I guess my advice to you (but mainly to me) is to remember to take care of yourself. 
Remember that depression can be dormant for a while,  which is great, but if you're not paying proper attention to it, it can flare up a bit. 
But we can manage that. 

If you find that your depression flares up again and stays for more than 2 weeks covering you like a thick tar - get to your GP for a mental health plan and get back into that sweet sweet therapy, and remember that it can be managed. 

I know it can be managed cus I'm doing it.