Recently, my husband and I were sitting shoulder to shoulder at church on a Sunday morning. Within the span of a 45-minute service, I got the giggles, cried and then got the giggles again. Scott finally said, “I don’t care if you laugh or cry. Just pick an emotion!”
Pick an emotion? Just one? It sounds easy, but after the year I’ve had, finding my emotional center is proving to be a challenging task.
At this time last spring, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. Over the next six months, I focused my energy like a laser on getting through treatment and getting better. Luckily, I did. And I’m grateful every day to be alive.
Emotional Ups and Downs
The joy I felt when I achieved remission was like nothing else I’d experienced. I was so high from it at first that I naively assumed every day after would be a celebration. But as time marched on, some other emotions surfaced that I wasn’t expecting.
Like fear that my cancer would come back. Frustration with planning my life around a possible relapse. Sadness that my husband and I may not be able to have a family. Jealousy that other people were free of the anxiety I felt about my health. My daily life was back to normal, but my emotional state was clearly not.
Getting a Handle on My Feelings
I could usually identify my feelings, like fear or frustration, but there were also times when I had emotional outbursts for no apparent reason. Getting the giggles at inappropriate moments, crying at TV commercials, and irrationally nit-picking my poor husband were daily occurrences.
It wasn’t until I saw a flyer for a cancer support group addressing the contradictory emotions of cancer survivors that I realized this was a thing and it was normal.
Now Wiser – and Calmer
A year later, I’ve finally figured out that cancer has just widened the spectrum of my emotions. My highs are higher, and my lows are lower. Every feeling I have in between is allowed.
I’ve slowly figured out how to pull myself back to the center of the spectrum when I need to. This includes being honest with the people around me, practicing yoga and having as much fun as possible. Plus sharing, as many others have done, on a CaringBridge Site.
When all else fails and I just need to pick and emotion, I choose gratitude.
What’s Your Story?
Have you had a life changing experience like Lyndsay’s? We’d love to hear about what you went through, and how you handled the feelings that came with it. Please share with us.
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