Reflections of healing

Reflections of healing

Good morning friends, supporters, new comers…

A bit of a personal post reflecting on my process of healing through therapy and some other oddities. Before we can delve into this I need to give you some background. Fair CW, we are gonna talk about some things that may be upsetting to sensitive people.

Partial reflection of a face in a broken shard of mirror

Here’s 2018 in review

My mother was diagnosed with leukemia in April and passed away in Dec. During that time I was confronted with what I call the “futility of living”. I mean what does it matter if we are all going to die anyway. Where nothing that you do really matters to anyone. It certainly doesn’t change things.

My mother was 60 at the time of diagnosis. She needed a bone marrow transplant to stand any fighting chance. Unfortunately, the medical insurance company deemed her too old for intervention. So the family was left with a decision of trying to raise funds to cover the procedure and the aftercare support. That’s 1/2 a million in my currency.

We are by nature fighters and we had a great love for our mother. It was a no brainer, my blood ~ my fight, even though we understood that chances of success were very low. We (me, my husband and brother) decided to undertake this mammoth task of raising money while Mom did the chemo thing. To myself, I sound so detached right now.

Raising the money is really hard, the cancer was too aggressive and chemo (6 rounds) didn’t work. When Mom passed away I was kinda relieved that she wasn’t suffering through everything anymore. I know that sounds harsh but it was one of the most difficult things that she had to go through. On many levels, I believe she tried to spare from seeing her pain and fear.

Shadow of person in a puddle of water
Things are not always as they appear

Now for 2019

Cancer does strange things to the minds of family members confronted with it. Likewise grief twists your perception of death and life and living. At some point it all came crashing down in spectacular fashion and I needed to seek out some help. Spent a greater part of the year in therapy.

I suppose I did a lot of talking because that is how I process internal conflicts. Saying the words out loud gives them shape and even wings to move right along. Two months into therapy, six months after my mother’s passing I made a rather disturbing discover. I was not grieving about the loss of my mother. Of course I missed her but I had done everything a good daughter should have done in that situation.

I was grieving about me. Everything that I had to do and had to become in order to deal with my mother’s illness, manage the fundraising and eventually handle all her other affairs. The intense desperation to save someone knowing that it wasn’t possible had taken its toll on me. It often felt like an unhealthy relationship, where I just loved my mother too much at the expense of my existence.

Abstract image of a women with three faces
Heal thyself

Healing yourself

Therapy is/was amazing.

  • It allowed me to voice those deep ugly devastating feelings and set them free.
  • It allowed me a freedom that I had not granted myself before
  • It allowed me to explore other things that were bothering me, those dark secrets you never dare release.
  • It allowed me to find perspective.

Part of my therapy homework was to open myself to new experiences. Now a person with depression and anxiety and PTSD doesn’t really enjoy that aspect of being alive. I ended up saying that I was going to do stuff and just never got round to actually doing anything.

Until… I was tired of talking and my internal focus shifted to “doing”. What do I mean by that? It started small. Going to the gym twice a week. Exercising is a form of self-care. Then I started doing arty projects because I like art and just never explored it as an adult. Art was my favourite subject at school. I don’t know why I just stopped.

Reflecting on the self

Over the weekend, instead of following my usual dull dreary stay-at-home routine. I decided to visit a mountain and go for walkup high. Why?
Because sometimes you need to fight for yourself as hard as you fight for others.

View from Table Mountain
City of Cape Town
View from the mountain

And that’s the lesson right there. I am me! I was never broken, just on a difficult path where the view was obscured, by overthinking, for a period of time.

  • I matter
  • I am good enoug
  • I am strong
  • I am competent
  • I am beautiful

It takes an inordinate amount of effort to face yourself. To delve deep into the murky waters of your self-perception. It takes an enormous amount of work to accept your flawed existence. And you know what? I never thought I would be in a place where I can say: I’m ok.

Spiral stained glass windows

11 Replies to “Reflections of healing”

  1. Taryn, thank you so much for sharing your journey. It is a really tough one and grief is so hard, I understand. Cancer is such a painful awakener to what matters. As you know, my mum was diagnosed, since had the all the clear, but it really made me realise how much I took her for granted and also took my life as a whole for granted. Life/Death really wakes us up to what really is important in life and makes us question our whole identity. I am so glad you are getting therapy to help you.

    1. It has been quite the journey. And of course still far too go. But that raw broken feeling has subsided a bit. Like a fog lifting. And that’s rather nice after so much time with those other emotions.

      Thinking of you and your Mum and sending positive thoughts to you both!

  2. I love this sometimes we have reality checks and it pushes us towards a better me. Being in nature and exercising were ways I found myself too. I’m glad you were able to find the peace of mind to be okay!

  3. It’s awful that cancer, which is already stressful, is made more so by the medical costs and insurance companies being the way they are. I feel so much for you with this situation because my husband has just been diagnosed with cancer and we are facing added difficulty because of the system where I am. I’m fundraising too on GoFundMe but it seems so disheartening to even have to do that in the first place.

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey — this has helped.

    1. I’m sorry to read that you are going through this. I hope and pray that you will receive the support that you need via your GoFundMe.

  4. That’s quite the intense story, thank you so much for sharing your journey. I appreciate what you said about self-care and needing to allow yourself to do the things that mean you are fighting for who you are and becoming/fulfilling who you are. It’s an important message and one you give voice to very well here.

    1. I really appreciate this comment. It has been a difficult journey and one that will challenge me going forward. I am hopeful that I have found the right tools to move through life better.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate it. Most of them are quite difficult to write. And I worry I don’t make sense.

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