Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I will be beginning my first of 30-days of radiation treatments.
In my recent scans, there have been several spots of regrowth, and I’ve been awaiting information until recently when they confirmed I will be doing radiation treatments.

It’s all very frightening.
It’s all very stressful.

I’m trying my best to deal with it all as best as I can while processing the million other things on my mind. It’s not exactly calming when the information they do give you is the possibility negative side-effects while stringing in some of the worst of worst-case scenarios.

The most unfortunate of it all is the waiting – and then the overthinking – and then the waiting again. It generates some sort of unique anxiety, but the interesting thing is telling people about it and seeing/hearing their reactions. It puts things back into perspective, whether it be them sharing their personal stories or their lack of reaction possibly from disbelief, either way, it’s something. It shows how situations like this aren’t simple to deal with. It shows me how, fortunately, it isn’t a common thing and people just don’t know what to say or what to do to help. Unfortunately, this means that I, myself, don’t yet know how to deal with it yet either.

I contemplated sharing this on a more public platform but knew that it would cause more discomfort than good. So for those of you who still periodically come here (for whatever reason), I hope this gives you some insight into what’s going on and hope you appreciate this post. It took me a lot of emotional energy to write it, but I’m going to need even more emotional strength to make it through this, and I’m glad I got a chance/a platform to at least put these thoughts out there.

But hey, wish me luck, and don’t be too upset about it – let me take care of that.

Random Thoughts #5.

I’ve been feeling down.

It’s not something you think about when you’re happy, but when you’re sad or anxious, that’s all you can think about. Which lately has been how I feel more and more often. Between the stress of university selections, upcoming math exams, not feeling physically great, and juggling the underlying thought that “something may still be wrong with me”, has been wearing me down.

And I mean down…

Down straight through the ground – so far down I think I feel my butt starting to warm up.

All jokes aside, it’s not easy feeling this way. Especially when you read a post on the confessions page (of the school that I’m thinking of going to) talking about how they don’t believe that people should blame anxiety and that “everyone can get a 4.0”. I replied sharing my knowledge and understanding of “mental health” and personal experiences with people who are trying their hardest, but their obstacles are just too much to overcome. I have been trying my best to talk to people about it (my own fear). I talked to people I believe know me well, but it’s hard for those few voices to overcome the voices of many – society, the education system, and other voices that we place at a high significance.

Between fearing that I have not applied to programs for my highest potential or not even getting into the programs that I did apply to, you come to a crisis of “where do I even belong at all?” I am being pulled to believe that “I’m dumb because I didn’t apply to _____”, but also people making me  think “Why didn’t you apply to ________” because “you seem like the type to apply there.”

Between people who are discounting me too much (including myself), and people forgetting that this huge incident happened to me like just over a year ago (also including myself), it’s really difficult to see which side is most correct in their assumptions, or where the truth is along that scale.

When I get home, I feel down, I feel sick, I feel cold, and I feel tired, but above all, I feel afraid. Afraid that thing that I believe took a huge part of what I considered myself to be, took something that I cannot replace sufficiently anymore. I honestly feel robbed. Robbed by my circumstance. Robbed not of my future, but of the future that people expected of me. Maybe the choices I make now because of it really allowed me to get to my future earlier, but right now, I feel judged. I feel ashamed, and despite knowing what I think I really want, I still fear that that’s just not good enough for me because that’s what people and society have been telling me.

As much as we like to mock certain programs or schools, the people in those programs/schools/campuses are still people too. People with emotions, situations you may not be aware of, and as much as we love to generalize people these days, I find myself realizing the tone that gives off.

When people say ________________ is a waste school/program/whatever, that immediately downgrades everyone in it. It disregards specific circumstances, it disregards specific interests, and it turns these huge decisions (life decisions) into mathematical calculations. We may be investing in our future, but this investment isn’t something monetary.

Remember: we can’t all be CEOs, we can’t all be lawyers, we can’t all be doctors, some of us will just have to be other things that aren’t are prestigious and we will just have to be happy with that (that includes themselves too)- there’s no need to shame anyone.

So now, even after saying all of that, I still am having a difficult time with my decision (not that I even need to make one yet, I haven’t even gotten the official acceptances from the two choices that I’m debating between). At the end of the day, I’m not sure if I’m just saying these things because it represents how I really feel, or if I just got really good at making myself feel better.

Ifs.

**WARNING: FEATURES LA LA LAND SPOILERS**

What if?

That phrase that will be the death of me. Today I watched La La Land in theaters and despite it being a good movie like all the reviews say (with issues of the character development and stereotypes aside), it didn’t WOW me as much as it brought me to a very emotional state – reminding me of the everlasting question of “what if?”. 

Although they ended up being happy in their own separate lives, what would have really happened if they actually met the first time they saw each other (like the film previewed), or if after she filmed the movie they were to get back together, etc. etc.

Thinking about these questions brings up the issue of the million intricate possibilities in life. The many decisions that we make and the many things that are brought to use by fate. So many things are based on spending that extra second to get ready or a split-second decision. That doesn’t mean that bad decisions don’t sometimes lead to amazing outcomes – they are decisions. I often imagine myself in these scenarios (maybe I already am in these situations and just don’t realize it) and think “darn it, what would I do?”.  But this is real life, and there are no replays or flashbacks to tell me.

Much like they did, I probably just have to smile and be glad that the other is happy that they are both successful and doing well. However, it still pains me to think about the infinite possibilities that we all have. I highly doubt I will ever be exactly in Mia (Emma Stone)’s shoes, but what if somewhere along the way I let go of someone or something that could have been amazing? I will never know. Something about that just feels wrong to me, but then again, nothing ever really feels 100% right (at least I haven’t experienced it yet).

Personally, many questions of what if came up often after my injury. Questions of What if this didn’t happen? or What if just did this instead – could I have prevented? still often haunt me. What I have started to realize over time – especially after this movie – is that there’s nothing you can really do to make the best decision every single time because even if you did, you may still be missing out on something you didn’t realize could exist. Who knows? Maybe this whole experience was meant to be – for me to go on this path to see things that people could see or to feel emotions that I wouldn’t have otherwise felt.Who knows?

And who cares? Maybe if we stopped thinking about trying to live perfect lives we could see the perfection within our lives already. Don’t get me wrong, I am a very anxious person, but maybe if we learned to realize that nothing is concrete and there are multiple ways to happiness then we will eventually be able to find our happiness – with no ifs required.

 

 

Anxiety.

As I pick-pick-pick at my acne and obsess-obsess-obsess over little things that I know I shouldn’t worry about, there are very little things that I can productively do to combat my emotional struggles. I got rid of my gaming habits (arguably too well, I can’t even get myself to play those games anymore), I unsubscribed/unfollowed so many channels and pages trying to get myself to concentrate that scrolling through social media is no longer interesting to me, and as much as it pains me to say, I already finished all the shows on Netflix that I want to watch and cannot risk starting a show that will take too long to finish anymore.

The only things that I CAN still do are listen to music and read – things that take concentration and getting into. Unfortunately, the anxious thoughts always come flowing back to me except when it’s the middle of the night – in darkness. But it’s still sort of hard to read in the dark.

 

Over the break or holidays, if there is something that’s on my mind, I tend to overthink about it even more rather than simply enjoy my time. So obviously, it will be a lot worse over this break when it’s the break where I await university replies and a final exam when I return. On top of that, I have a test to hand-in, as well as a rather different and riskier article for the school newspaper likely being published.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I’m at a point when I am worried about these things rather than something related to my health. But, could worrying about this be negatively affecting my health? – Mental + Physical?

I’m terrified of not getting into a program that I love – especially since feel as though I am already in a way “settling” for something not as difficult. Staying back another year would be tedious and unnecessary, I’m starting to worry that this year is already too difficult for me to handle. I am so tired of my friends not being here with me at school, and myself – eating lunch alone, spending my time studying by myself in the library during spares, and missing out on all of the fun things about being a high school student (the things that I used to do). Things like sports, an assortment of clubs, the music program, etc. are the things that made high school worthwhile and interesting, but now that I am struggling to keep up with so many things, I feel like just as much as I cut out a lot of the unproductive social things done in my spare time, I also am unable to do as much of the fun interesting stuff (either because of time, or physical limitations now). Maybe, a part of it is also the mental aspects of it – I just don’t know how I fit in with the crowd anymore. I may have lost my place in the school.

An injury in general impacts a person greatly. Now, make that a brain injury during a crucial part of one’s life that has left someone still physically and mentally impaired in many ways – well, that’s just gosh darn unfortunate. I probably would have still felt the anxiety I feel right now, but at least I wouldn’t need to feel as self-conscious and afraid knowing that I am going through this with everyone else I knew. Sometimes I just find myself feeling so alone – then again, who isn’t?

 

 

Warmth.

Winter is coming, and I’m getting cold. The lack of proper circulation makes my right side feel numb and my toes feel like ice cubes and my fingers feel like popsicles. As I cozy up into my layers of sweaters and hoodies, I find myself heating up really quickly – feeling almost feverish at times when I am not dramatically shivering and chattering. It’s really hard to find an in-between. And as I am not comfortable with the temperature, I start to notice the many other things that just do not feel right.

I haven’t really noticed this until now but I love spending time alone. I haven’t even really noticed the fact that I am alone a lot, but as it’s been a couple months now, the feeling of being alone is sort of sinking in. Not having a band class to go to where you can just take a period to laugh at some silly jokes and make some beautiful music, or having a class with friends you have known for years. It’s really different, and although I’m doing alright (for now), I have no idea how long this can last. Clearly, with the number of times I’ve needed to see guidance and social work, I’m trying really hard to figure it all out, and I am finding the help I need.

My mom microwaves these heat pads to help with the aches. It seems that the idea of “warmth” is a large part of the healing process. Whether it be the warming laughter of friends, a comforting hug, or a heat pad settling onto a pair of tired shoulders, sometimes all we really need is some warmth. In many ways, I’ve begun to find new sources of this warmth from teachers, counselors, social workers, and new friends, but sometimes it’s never enough. And it seems almost unfair that I am needing all this help – taking time out of the schedules for these important people that can be using that time to help someone else. It’s just really hard to ask for help – even when I really need it. I feel like I’ve started to find that balance, but I can’t help but feel bad. I never used to look for shortcuts, I looked for more efficient ways to get to the same spot and definitely never actively relied on help from others (maybe pestered them with questions, but never additional help). However, as it seems to be a mile of roadblocks ahead, I may need to look for both. Even if that means losing out on part of the journey, I still need to get there eventually, and who knows how long it will take me now if I continue down the path I would have taken.

So…

Yes, you need help, Jessica.

No, this doesn’t mean you are stupid, it means you are struggling.

No, this won’t necessarily last forever.

Yes, you can do it – just keep trying.

Yes, even when you are very tired and want to quit.

Yes, now and forever.

 

 

The Burn.

I feel the fire within my soul screaming at me to reach my potential.

But, I also feel the tension within me as I ache;

My muscles and bones are set ablaze whenever I try to move them.

 

I feel the burning desire to continue on and show the world who I can be.

But, I also feel the acid scorch my throat when my meal travels backward;

My eyes burn from the consequent tears.

 

Fire is fighting with fire, and I am not sure who is going to win –

I just don’t want to be the one to lose.

Pre-Scan Jitters.

I have an MRI tonight – moved earlier because I told my doctors about some symptoms I’ve been experiencing. The same sort of symptoms I experienced a little over a year ago during what was likely the most difficult time/situation of my life.

I showered early as the scan is at midnight in downtown. Now I stare at my dinner unappetizingly with a weird feeling in my stomach and throat – warning signs of classic Jessica-style vomiting.

It’s never about the scan itself that is frightening.
It’s always about what the scan shows.

If it’s not clean, that’s a whole set of new worries. However, even if it is clean, there are some unanswered questions and problems which may now never have an answer.

I don’t even know what I want to hope for. Maybe something minor that can be fixed with some pills? Small treatments?

I don’t know.
I don’t want to know.

I just want to find out soon if it’s something that can be helped.

I just want some help.