Sometimes I feel like there is pressure to always be positive about things. There are times where I find it difficult to be up beat and only see the positives. I've never felt comfortable with the positive thinking thing. I find positive thinking very rigid and inflexible. There are times where I feel guilty because I find it difficult to think like this all of the time.
I came across a document titled "You Have the Right to be Hopeful" on the website of the National Coalition For Cancer Survivorship. The document defines hope and discusses the differences between hope, wishing and optimism. It goes on to describe different types of hope. This document can be found at www.canceradvocacy.org .
I found this document quite reassuring and uplifting at this time where I am dealing with depression. I highly reccommend it to anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis but particulary if you are feeling the pressure to "just be positive". Perhaps this comment needs to be replaced with "I'm being hopeful"?
It's good to hear from you, Flight. I'll follow up that link, as I didn't know about that organisation. I also have experienced depression post-treatment, it's a strange stage to go through.
I think I'm now feeling a lot of the things I avoided feeling when I was diagnosed - because I was trying to be positive!
Hi Flight and Harker, I too just cant seem to get the whole positive thinking thing also. When i was told i had cancer in Nov 07, it totally rocked my world, i was already struggling with postnatal depression and other bad things which were happening in my life, im still struggling with my depression which im still on daily medication for. For me i just couldnt put on a smile and go out into the world everyday, it was just too hard. Soon ill be coming up to my 2 years in remission and im soo proud of myself, but somedays i still find it hard to smile and be positive. I wished i could have found something like this to read when i was diaganosed, maybe it might have helped.........
Yes, we are expected to be positive. In fact we are rewarded for being positive, everyone admires us when we are positive. So I am glad that you have the difference between hope and positiveness. For me the epiphany came when I heard a talk from a psychologist and she talked about being trapped in the prison of the positive.
I now have a real interest in lament - acknowledging that there is loss and grief and that we experience awful things from time to time, learning how to voice those things and that it is OK to do so.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore Vincent Van Gogh
Being caught up in the trap of having to be positive all the time is just an awful place to be. The first time i had cancer i was on that road and this time i am doing it differently. Whilst i believe positivity is a good thing so is addressing the gamut of other emotions we experience along the way. The way i see it is that by addressing other emotions we give ourselves energy and clarity to be able to be positive.
One thing that i have found incredibly effective for me is to give myself permission to have down time and to time limit the amount of time i am down. Usually i am ready to come back out and face the world before my time is up.
I had a conversation this morning with my husband who has some difficulty understanding why I'm not always positive about my cancer.
I am lucky that I am still clear 2 years down the track and I like to think that I acknowledge that and I have great hope that it will remain this way.
What I tried to explain to him is that my reality has shifted and while there is a great deal of hope, at times I get very down and very scared of the future.My reality now is that my future is uncertain and I want to live every day and take advantage of every opportunity as it presents itself.
This is my version of positive rather than the happy face that I always had while in treatment.This version of positive is linked to hope but also linked to how our reality has changed.
Jules like you, I need to be able to address/confront all of the emotions that run through us, not just the "happy "face.
It has been lovely to hear other people's experiences and opinions. It is nice (and suprising too) not to cop "just be more positive".
A psychologist once said to me that there is no such thing as negative and positive emotions, only emotions. That, as a human being, it is ok to feel all emotions.
I believe that it is positive, helpful and healthy expressing my emotions- joy and sadness and all the colours of emotions in between. I feel better when I say how I feel- good and bad. It feels good to cry as it does to laugh.
When I hear other people who have been diagnosed with cancer say "I'm just going to be positive about this" my response is, "But it is ok to cry sometimes if you need to".
I'm interested to hear other people's thoughts. What does it mean to you to be positive or to have a positive attitudes? What does hope feel like to you?
I can remember going through the same thing that you are currently going through. Time is an increible healer. The uncertainty and fear fades, at least i found that it did with time.
This time i am dealing with a cancer that is somewhat related to my last cancer but it is different also. One would think my experiences would be similar and yet this time because i am allowing myself to address all emotions and to not feel guilty or any angst at all it is easier. I am finding that i come back when i am ready to fight the fight (just my way of viewing it) and in fact i am energised and just ready to do battle once again.
I said to someone recently who was on the "positive" track that we are not 100% positive when we dont have cancer why should it be different? It is not natural or normal to be positive 100% of the time!!
What we perceive to be negative thoughts necessarily dont need to be. We can turn the negative into positives. For instance if i am angry i hate my cancer, thereby allowing myself to feel the negative but in my mind it is now a positive because it is part of how i fight the cancer.
Maybe i am strange, i dont know .. i just know what works for me and how, as i have said before that this time it is so much easier. In a way it feels a little strange.
my greatest fear is to have to face it all again. I have the enormous respect and compassion for those of you who done this "thing" twice or even more.
I also agree with how the negatives can sometimes become positives. While there is nothing positive about cancer, the fact that you view your life differently and maybe live it better is something that I no longer take for granted.
Julie I really don't beleive you are strange; if you are then we are all there with you. What this forum has shown me is that what I am feeling and experiencing is common and that this allows us all a little hope.
Thanks for you reply.
I used to have the fear of having to face it all again, that slowly faded with time. Yet here i am now doing exactly that and although some of the 2nd time around is somewhat surreal at the moment in some ways it is just easier. I know what i am going through is just natural and normal, there is no angst ... it is difficult to explain. I have been thinking on this subject recently and havent come up with a good explanation yet other than it is easier. Which i think relates specifically to the discussion which started this interaction.
Thanks re the sane bit also, guess i was a bit nervous as i have not posted in a forum before.
I do believe that any situation no matter how bad, good can and does come out of it ... sometimes you just have to look.
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