I wish I had cancer

Yeah, you heard it right.

I know that I’m gonna get a lot of angry cancer patients on my case, thinking I’m mocking them.  However, I am not.

While I’ve had been thinking of it it for quite a while, only until very recently I finally said it to someone other than myself, on a DM.

And I stand by it.

You see, I have an illness.  But it’s a mental one.  I look good on the outside.  I haven’t lost ridiculous amounts of weight.  I still have all my hair. I have a good colour.  I don’t look like I’m ready to take my boat ride across the River Styx. Only that I am.  And I’ve been there several times.

But Mental illnesses don’t get the sympathy or empathy from society that cancer does.  Or Cystic Fibrosis.  Or Muscular Dystrophy.  Or any other of those “legitimate” illnesses.

People like me are mostly regarded as moody individuals.  An annoyance, most of the time.  Someone normal people need to stay away from because we are Debby Downers.  Oh, it’s all in your head, I’ve been told many times.  Or, you just have to count your blessings instead of focusing on your limitations.  And sure, I’m all for counting my blessings.  I’m very grateful that I don’t have to sleep on the street, that I’m not starving.  That I am not being gang-raped, or tortured or enslaved.  I’m also grateful for friends and the love they give me.

But the truth is that even if I we do the right thing and reach out when we have our lows, it becomes harder and harder to do as time goes by. Sure, friends and loved ones (spouses, children, etc) will try and help the first time they hear about it.  And the second time. And the third time.  And maybe even the fourth and fifth.  But after a while, they do get tired.  And that’s normal.  They are only human too.  And so, we become a burden.  Because Mental Illnesses are hard to treat.  The prognosis is gloomy for the most part.  According to the Royal Mental Hospital Depression Research Centre (depression is what I have but it might as well be schizophrenia or any other mental illness),“Many people diagnosed with a major depression will fail to respond adequately to two medications of different classes and about 60 per cent will have a treatment resistant depression.”  60 PERCENT! And unless we commit suicide (gasp! yeah, I said. Because a lot of us actually do) we live a normally long life just like any other person free of any lethal disease.  So we become this pain in the ass, gloomy, cranky, grumpy, sad people that no one likes to be around.  Even those who love us, have a hard time 1. dealing with us at a personal level, and 2. dealing with their own coping problems associated with loving a person with a mental illness.

And those are the lucky ones who’s friends and family care enough to help them.  But there’s still a lot of stigma associated with mental illnesses.  Even as I write this blog post, I can hear a very scared little voice at the back of my mind telling that I’m insane for talking in public about it.  What are they gonna thing about you? it says.  People don’t like to be friends with crazy people.  Also, people DON’T HIRE crazy people.  So won’t you keep it quiet? it’s for your own good, you know.

So, I wish I had cancer.  At least there wouldn’t any kind of stigma associated with it.  And – like I said to my friend, if I’m lucky enough, cancer would kill me really fast so I wouldn’t have to go on living in so much pain.  

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19 thoughts on “I wish I had cancer

  1. S. says:

    Reblogged this on The Secret World of S. and commented:
    As she so eloquently points out, It is not that she wants cancer, rather she wants recognition for the suffering and pain an unseen illness can cause. Just because mental illness is invisible for the most part doesn’t mean it is not there for the person experiencing it. Suffering is the same whether outsiders can see it or not.
    A wise woman, and a great read.

  2. Caroline says:

    HI

    Have you been to see an NLP trained Life Coach. A number of techniques available have helped several people with severe chronic depression.

    Just a suggestion.

    I wish you all the luck in the world and hope you find a cure.

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      Thank you!

      I haven’t done any kind of NLP or behavioural therapy but I finally found both a therapist and a medication that works for me. 2011 was a really bad year for me (I even got my wish) but I’m doing much better now

      • Caroline says:

        It’s just that I did an NLP course with John Grinder (one of the inventors of nlp) and he has had considerable success in helping people with depression.

        Hence my suggestion.

        Best wishes and good luck again! Caroline

  3. S. says:

    Hello,
    Your post really spoke to me. I have been battling depression for over year. It is connected to chronic pain I have from a back injury and subsequent unsuccessful surgery to fix my spine.
    No one understands why I can’t just snap back to being the person I was before the injury. I have given up on going back to the person I was, this experience has changed me and I will be different at it’s conclusion. I am now trying to find that person I will be. I can’t build myself with the same bricks that have crumbled under my pain, now I have to make new building blocks. But it is always easier to state what you need to do than actively do what you need to do. At least for me.
    Anyway, thanks for speaking out.
    Best,
    – S.

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      I hear ya. I’ve also lived with chronic pain since I was 11.

      And yes, knowing what is it that we have to do and actually doing it, are two completely different things.

      Best of luck in your journey! :)

  4. ourjourneybits says:

    It takes boldness and courage to speak from your heart and I commend you for it! I have a couple of people in my family suffering from mental illness. You have opened my eyes because sometimes I forget that they too have feelings. I’m so glad I read this post because I will make sure that they feel loved by me and that they know I care for them and their feelings.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      Hi. Sorry. I didn’t see your comment till now. Thank you for your kind words. I wish you and your loved one the best in your journey. Mental Illness takes a big toll from the whole family. Everybody is affected by it.

  5. waywardweed says:

    Yes, mental illness is “all in your head.” Where else is it supposed to be? How can people assume that the brain would be immune from illness? It’s an organ like every other one in the body, but unlike the others it’s more complicated. And I agree, cancer, as bad as it is, is often preferable.

  6. Daan van den Bergh says:

    This is amazing. Not in the good way, though. I mean, I understand where you’re coming from.

    I am suffering/suffered/recovering (I’m not sure, haha) from ‘double depression’. A depression that I carried with me through childhood, which eventually grew out to a clinical depression. I never took medication, though, because my therapist at the time didn’t believe they worked. And I’m thankful for that, I’ve worked through a lot of shit since then and I have made great steps towards a full recovery since then. The only thing with these mental illnesses is, that you never know if you’re fully recovered. Let’s say, I’m recovered enough to not be as down as I used to be…

    What I’ve learned is that Yes, there’s a stigma, but we do not have to suffer from it. It helped me to realize that every person is mentally ill in some way. Everyone has been mentally damaged in their life by a disturbing image on tv, witnessing a fight, experimenting with drugs, etc. It might sound weird, but everyone has their kinks and quirks. We call it a mental illness, when it becomes difficult to hide. And by not hiding it, the ‘mentally ill’ do not live up the etiquette of social behavior. He/she becomes the weirdo and is labeled as ‘mentally ill’.

    This realization helped me to stop looking at myself as damaged, or below average.

    I separated myself from the social etiquette and stopped caring what people think of me and my quirks. If anything, I’m proud of my quirks and I will present them to anyone at the least ‘convenient’ – another etiquette thing – moment.

    I don’t know if it helps, but I just hate to see a good person like yourself feeling the way you do.

    I know this is an old post, so perhaps you already conquered a lot of obstacles since then, but anyway, I hope you’re doing good.

    Sincerely,

    – Daan.

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      Hey Daan, thanks for stopping by.

      The battle with mental illness continues for me. This week, I not doing too well, but had you asked last week, I would have told you I was doing great. I even blogged about it.

      I’ve come a long way. From “I’d rather die than admit I have a mental illness” to being very vocal about Mental Health and stigma awareness.

      Like you, I used to see myself as damaged goods but now I embrace my quirks.

      Still, I know how hard it is for those who love me, to see me in such state when I’m going through a dark phase. So, as much as I love and accept myself as I am, I sure wish I could spare them the pain.

      Here’s to us and our journey!

  7. Laura P. Schulman says:

    Do you know how many times I have had this exact thought???? Countless. I keep hoping for some “legitimate” lethal disease to come along and let me out of this prison. Oy. Thanks for putting this into words.

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