When things start getting too much to handle, do you find yourself withdrawing from the world around you?
I find there are times (of extreme pressure) when I just don't want to see or talk to anyone.
Is it just a survival mechanism?
I withdraw also when things get a bit tough. I just regroup and re energise to get back into whatever is happening at the time. Yes, for me its survival mechanism. I find the beach very therapeutic when i am feeling like withdrawing.
Even when I am withdrawing, I know it is at that point in time that I need people the most.
My emotional strength battery has got too low and needs recharging and a 'jump start' from someone else's battery would help give me the power I need to get home and recharge fully.
Yet, all too often, no jump start is offerred. The silence is deafening.
Rarely do I come home from dropping my boys at school and find a message on my answering machine, "just called to say Hello and see how you're doing".
Is that why we withdraw, to protect ourselves from the possibility of others letting us down again?
I'm a carer and even I find myself withdrawing at times and yes, it's usually when I'm feeling extremely stressed. I don't want to talk to people, put on the niceties or talk about boring crap. I just want to be on my own (or with my husband) resting, doing stuff I/we enjoy and shutting myself off from the rest of the world for a bit to concentrate on me for 5 minutes.
I don't think we should apologise for it though. We're all going through something that is very emotionally challenging and we should do what we feel is necessary to re-charge our batteries. Sometimes, we just can't cope with cancer AND everything else going on and that's to be expected.
Just do what is needed to help you get you through.
Hiya Mrs Elton
I have thought some on this one.
Its different i think being a carer to a patient. People often perceive the patient as the person needing all the help and tend to forget about the carers perhaps?
Friends and family are not always going to live up to our expectations and sometimes it just takes us to reach out and actually say what we need. Even though at times it is blatantly obvious to us what we are needing, other people i feel dont see it so clearly.
You are so right! other people don't see it so clearly.
I have always been a person who thinks of others, if I hear that it is someones birthday or anniversary, I make a note of it and then wish them all the best on the day. I don't stand by and watch someone struggling, I lend a hand.
I care about people and it pisses me off that now that i need a bit of caring, there are very few who make me FEEL they care, even though I KNOW that they care.
There is a huge difference between knowing something and FEELING it.
I have told people if they don't feel comfortable talking with me then they could send me a text letting me know they are thinking of me. Result - negligible. I have said to people who are concerned about upsetting me by saying the wrong thing, that there is nothing that they can say that will be worse than what this cancer diagnosis has made me feel and that they should just say, Hi how ya doing today? That gives me the option of continuing the conversation or saying, not up to talking about it today. At least that way they are acknowledging it.
Saying nothing makes me feel like they don't care.
It's only a feeling, feelings are not right or wrong, they are just feelings.
Still, I am so GLAD to have found this website, it has really helped me and I am so grateful to people like you who have shared with me.
I am not giving them an excuse just giving you an explanation. I think people can't cope with us changing.
In my case I am the go to person in the family. I have been since since I was 18. Mum and dad used to rely on me for errands. With my husband, he'll willingly tell you that I run the house, his schedule and the kids schedule. I make things happen. So, when I couldn't do that any more...what happened? Noone would believe me! About a month ago, things came to a head and I went to see my GP for a few days off work. I was just too exhausted to give a damn any more. She gave me a week off. On my first day off hubby had a list of 3 things he needed me to do for him and mum had a list of 2 things. I was so tired (emotionally and physically) just the thought of getting dressed had me on the verge of tears. Did I get any rest during that week? very little....I even told everyone at home to pretend I did not exist for a week (mum and dad are currently living with us to help out). That lasted for about 15 minutes.
So you see, although you would like people to understand that you could do with a return of at least some of the care and concern you have shown them, it will take time for them to adjust to the idea of you needing some tlc not being the one giving the tlc.
Keep asking and eventually they'll get the idea.
I joined the gym four weeks ago (after my week off did not work) and now at least twice a week I get 2 hours all to myself to reclaim my sanity.
And if they still dont hear you...dont worry...you have us on this forum 🙂
Hi Mrs Elton,
I go through the same thing all the time. Like you I am the one who cooks a meal for my sick friend, or reminds a mate its his wife's birthday or the like. I am the one who makes a lot of noise about the importance of fundraising, or the one people come too to whinge about their lives (or usually their husbands lol). Yet, just as you have found, I have struggled to find that support for myself. A girlfriend who I haven't seen since before T's cancer is visiting this weekend from SA. She really, really needs me apparently as she is turning 40 and just CAN'T cope with that without me. I hope I have the strength not to give it to her with both barrels as I am waaayyyyy over trivial melodrama. Definately no enegiser batteries in this lil bunny!!! May I add that she has called me about three times in these last nine months. Reminds me why I left lol. A lot of my friends were that way back home. I have chosen a bit carefully up here.
After that big whine, I have found I have a small group of wonderful friends that drag me out for coffee once a week as they noticed me fizzing out lately. I need more fundraisers haha, I always head downwards when I don't have a focus!!
I went up the mountain this weekend. DID NOT want to come home. I love birds, snakes and lizards, (I hear you all go ewwww, but I just love them), and lil marsupials and anything furry and cute. My little daughter shares the same joy over animals. We had such a wonderful time, bushwalking, bird feeding and holding snakes, but it sure broke the bank!!! I don't care though, we needed it. T got out the rucksack and headed into the rainforest for a 5 hour trek. So refreshing, cleared the head and shone a bit of light on the future. First timeI have thought past the next chemo treatment or specialist appointment in ages. maybe I should take a quick runn back uo there before my friend gets here! :-)
Good news! T had his medical and go back to work tomorrow. Exactly nine months to the day after diagnosis.
Take care all
Hi Mrs Elton,
Yes, I also withdraw, but I believe this is part of my coping mechanism. As others have mentioned in their comments, there are times when you need re-charge.
Some friends will disappoint you, others really don’t know what to say, so they don’t say “anything”. This is difficult to understand but I believe friends don’t mean to cause harm, this is unfamiliar territory to them as well.
Search for what gives you the energy you need… be it… a favourite walk ….. a family picnic perhaps… time for you alone, watching a movie.. try and do whatever lifts your spirit. I learnt to close my eyes to “an imperfect house”, dust collected, the garden filled with leaves, we often had sandwiches or my “Favourite..baked beans and cheese on toast” (Yuk, you say) for dinner, I just did what I could at the time.
Cancer causes emotional turmoil on our lives, sometimes that turmoil needs to be confined for a time, and as one lady said in support group “she puts the turmoil in a room in her mind and closes the door, she knows it’s still there but she gradually lets it out, in stages she can cope with”.
We each develop our own unique methods of dealing, there is no right or wrong, just what works for you.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.