Thursday 25th June
Instead of sailing across the sparkling, blue ocean, aboard my father’s yacht, I’m floundering in the sea, with the surf breaking over my head, and all I can see are bigger waves on the horizon. What I once had and enjoyed, has now sunk without a trace. Well, that’s what it feels like to me.
Maybe I’m a bit cynical, or I just know what the problem is, but today’s hour and a half course on Stress, left me, well, stressed.
Today I attended the first of four sessions, entitled The Stress Less Course.
I know all the stressful feelings I experience: numbness, guilt, low mood, jealousy, discomfort, insecurity, futility, hopelessness, upset, flat, tearful.
I know the stressful thoughts I experience: worry, cut-off from others, poor concentration, hard to relax, loss of interest, no get up and go.
I know that stress has affected my actions: avoidance of doing things or going places, withdrawal, avoidance of responsibility, eating less.
I know how stress has affected my body: tension, drained, headaches, tiredness, shallow breathing, stomach pains, insomnia,
I know what has caused my stress, that leads then to depression.
My own health has led me to deal with huge changes in my life recently. That I have Stage 3 malignant melanoma is something I think I have accepted since being diagnosed in 2013.
My father passed away in 2009 from Pancreatic Cancer.
My mother is in a Care Home as she has the beginnings of dementia.
My elder son passed away fifteen weeks ago today, diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, having undergone 99 days out of 100 days of chemotherapy treatment.
Oh, and I’ve been signed off work since the day my son died.
So my stress is caused by depression, life problems, anxiety, sleep problems, health problems.
I suppose this afternoon’s session was introductory, and necessitated going through all aspects of stress, anxiety and depression. But I did find it stressful, in that I had to think about what it was that created the stress, and what I should or shouldn’t do about it.
And yes, I know there are coping mechanisms, and things I should be doing to help myself, gently along the way.
I take anti-anxiety medication and sleeping tablets. I don’t smoke, nor do I drink alcohol, but I do like my cappuccinos. I try to exercise by going on a daily walk to increase my normal heart rate. Our diets are improved, and include much fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken. And I find writing about my feelings in this blog, quite therapeutic. I’m also trying to raise awareness and money for a testicular cancer charity, in memory of our son. I also have a goal to focus upon, and that is to climb Mount Snowdon in August.
What I also need to do is learn relaxation techniques, and diaphragmatic deep breathing.
I know I won’t be able to change what has happened, but I would like to feel better about myself, to have my once positive attitude back.
The biggest cause of my feelings of depression is, of course, the death of my son. My grief is, and has been, all-consuming. I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with it. Our lives have been changed forever. The future that we thought we were headed towards has now disappeared, and we don’t know what path to take.
Maybe this group therapy to come to terms with stress, anxiety and depression will be of use to me.
But it won’t bring my son back.
It won’t change the past.
But I need to be able to swim again, without feeling I’m drowning, being able to hold my head above the waves, and reaching the shore without a struggle. The waves will always continue to break, the tides will rise and fall, I know I can’t stop the inevitable, but I’d like to be able to go with the flow, and enjoy the current as it takes me to somewhere better than where I’m stranded at the moment.
As always, thinking of you, my dearest sweet Angel xxxxx