In the aftermath of my grandfathers surgery, I coped by blocking it all out, and remaining completely numb. When he died, something inside me just snapped, I broke up with my emotionally abusive boyfriend, stopped taking drugs, drastically reduced my drinking, and got psychological therapy for all my issues. GBM4, while it took his life, it also saved mine.
I've learned through therapy that you cant block things out forever. You can run and hide from your problems for years, but eventually they will catch up with you. I always knew that what I went through with my grandfather would come back to me sooner or later, and I had no choice but to accept that, and focus on tackling my other problems, and strengthening myself for when it eventually did happen. And now, it's happened.
I was laying in bed with my boyfriend the other night, he was asleep and had his arm over me. I reached over and patted his hand a couple of times, and all of a sudden I was reminded of my grandfather tapping away at our hands because that was the only way he could communicate. I got quite stirred up, and tried to move my boyfriends arm off me, but because he was asleep, it hung there limp, which reminded me of how pop was paralysed down his left side. I woke him up, crying and shaking.
Then yesterday I had my wisdom teeth removed. Because I was under sedation, I had to have oxygen via nasal prongs. As I was being prepped for surgery, my nose was itchy, so a couple of times I removed it for just a second or two to rub my nose, then I put it straight back in. They kept telling me 'no!! You have to leave it on!!' and I thought... Wtf... I know that... I am leaving it on... I only took it off for a second... cant you see me putting it back on??? and then all I could think of was the exhausting 12 hour overnight struggle we had with pop to keep his oxygen prongs on. I freaked out, and I tried to explain all this to them, but my head had gone foggy from the drugs, I couldnt find the right words, kept getting distracted, going off track, talking around in circles, they just thought I was talking random rubbish because I was all doped up, they didnt understand that I was actually trying to TELL them that I was freaking out!!
The weird thing is, that all my 'flashbacks' seem to be from his point of view. But I guess that makes sense, because the whole time all I concerned myself with was what he was going through, how aweful it was for him.
It just keeps coming back up. I know its time to go back there in therapy to face what happened, and I really dont want to go through it all again. I'm begining to understand now what the rest of my family REALLY went through emotionally while I blocked myself off, cold and numb. And for someone who up until recently, felt no emotions at all and blocked EVERYTHING out to keep herself safe... its terrifying. But it must be done, and I can do it. Recovering from mental illness is a long, long road. I've faced so many challanges this year, I guess this is just the next one.
I must say though, the strength, courage and spirit of every single user on these forums is truely inspiring 🙂
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.