i have a really bad habit that i have tried to reform for years.
my name is elizabeth, and i like starting fights on the internet.
don’t get me wrong, i’m not a troll. but people say dumb stuff. people say Dumb Stuff a lot. or just stuff i disagree with and makes me angry and i want to get angry because they are WRONG or at least i think they are wrong. i’m rarely actually furious, or really mad, but it’s a good place to vent my irritation. i keep up online dating profiles for a similar reason – to abuse people when they send offensive messages to me. it’s soothing.
however, because i feel upset and angry and anxious today – because i am in the middle of the ‘post doc anxiety’ ‘post doc acceptance’ ‘pre doc anxiety’ – all three at once, it’s manifested in an intense need to get angry at people on the internet. there was a post that sort of triggered it on facebook, but this is a broader, much larger thing that i’ve seen a lot of times, and always pisses me off.
today was about my feelings about prayer. people sometimes ask if it’s ok if they pray for me. they know i am not a believer. they know, some of them anyhow, that i used to be, and have ‘lost my path’ with God. and they kindly, compassionately offer me something from their hearts to help me. and what helps me is that offer – that gentle kind offer of thinking of me, and caring for me, and giving their time, and their thoughts to me in a time they often reserve for something special.
does it matter if it heals me? does it matter if it ‘works’ -whatever that means? if working means that i smile, and feel loved and cared for, that seems like working to me. what matters to me is that people care, and think of me, and take that time to tell me. how beautiful is that? it’s a real, genuine kindness, and to slap people with that, as though prayer means nothing because a peer reviewed study doesn’t show it works to heal you is vile. i don’t want people to pray for me for healing. i am just grateful for their wishes. just as some people say ‘you are in my thoughts’. there is a particular arrogance to mocking this that i hate. i am the person being cared for. they want to wish me well. they care. i don’t like seeing this be mocked. i don’t think people’s care and love is something worthy of being laughed at. it makes me angry that this thing that brings me happiness and comfort is viewed as funny or stupid. (NB. i will not engage in an argument about this on here – i will just delete any comments defending why it’s ok to laugh at people who find comfort in prayer. sorry. this is my ‘i fucking have cancer’ blog, not a blog to discuss atheism. you can go do that on a reddit board).
i had a lovely dinner tonight, and managed to not throw up. not even once! i drank powerade and had a dear friend over for dinner. i spoke to my mental health nurse and felt good about our conversation, and her observations. for context – the ACT has an amazing service where people with debilitating mental illness can have the service of a specialised mental health nurse, fully funded. i have seen her once a day at some times, and once a month at other times. she is a fantastic help, and a stabilising consistent force in my recovery from the worst of my bipolar. and now, she’s someone i can use as an external barometer to make sure my mood remains as stable as it can through this. the nature of this is mood swings – instability – elation, and misery – all completely normal. i have permission to have an anxiety attack, and permission to stay in bed all day. this is liberating. but my nurse can make sure, over time, that i am still responding rationally.
the problem with bipolar, if it runs out of control during this period are three main risks: depression may cause me to suicide or refuse treatment. mania may cause me to think that eating dirt and drinking smoothies will cure me or rain dancing or whatever weird thing my brain takes up. and psychosis – if i am unlucky enough to have an episode – means i cannot have surgery, as i would be unable to give meaningful consent. it is vitally important that i remain even of mood, and to not worry that each bad day is a return to my illness. there are bad days. there are feelings. there are FEELINGS. i need to be careful, but not fretful.
i am scared of my PET scan. this time tomorrow it will be over and i will have a chemo plan. this is good. and bad. and everything else.