Its 6 months since my surgeries and this week I have learnt an important lesson.. It’s ok not to be ok..
Since my operations I’ve just not felt myself. At times I’ve been anxious and tearful and have found all the has happened to be overwhelming.
Within 10 days of diagnosis I had a bowel perforation, within a year I was having major surgery. I’ve spent over 3 months in hospital and missed every holiday including Christmas. It’s been one thing after another and I’ve just had to react to each thing as it happened. I haven’t been able to process them or think beyond getting through the physical aspects. It begins to catch up.
I like to think I’m quite tough, I’ve put on a brave face, my standard reply is “I’m grand” but the reality is at times I’ve been terrified, there have been grim days, days I’ve felt totally under it but I’m stubborn, pretty darn stubborn. It wasn’t in my plans for the last year but it’s happened and I’ve come through.
I thought being brave was about coping on your own, that asking people for help was a sign weakness but this week I’ve learnt it takes courage to talk about your mental health, to ask for extra support.
Illness causes stress and part of the healing process is to accept the problem and then take responsibility to deal with it head on even when you really don’t want too. The honesty is talking to my GP about it has been terrifying but one of the biggest reliefs.
I’ve actually learnt that no one expected me to just cope with it, no one has been surprised when I’ve been honest about my feelings, all that pressure and expectations just to be ok came from myself (and probably my stubbornness).
This blog isn’t about looking for people to feel sorry for me. It’s about highlighting the fact that it’s ok not to be ok. It’s about the reality that even if you are trying to be positive and you’ve the most supportive family and friends you could ask for – there will still be bad days and that’s ok.
I’ve learnt that it’s about speaking up and not trying to go it alone, sometimes it’s just about being persistent and taking the first step.