Every year, Winter is the hardest season for me to get through. Depression settles itself right in and takes the wheel and I become an unwilling yet taciturn passenger. But this year I’m struggling even harder to find the willpower to take back the wheel and drive. Because this year Depression has new weapons: cancer and side effects from treatment. Zoloft ain’t got nothin on those bad boys! So bear with me, I’m just going to get a bunch of stuff off my chest.

I’m angry at my body for betraying me. I’m angry at radiation for making everything so much worse than it was (even though I understand why it was needed). I’m frustrated with the side effects like muscle tightness and lack of saliva. I’m jealous of people who can eat and drink and speak normally, who don’t wake up 4-5 times every night to their tongue sticking to the roof of their mouth, who don’t need to carry water with them everywhere they go. I want to be able to see a recipe and try it without wondering if I can chew/swallow it or if it will even taste right to me. I miss cooking. I’m frustrated that it takes me about an hour to eat small amounts of food and that I can’t seem to find many healthy foods I can both afford and eat without an issue. I’m scared I won’t find a job and I’m running out of money quickly. If I lose my disability I lose my benefits for myself and my son. I don’t want to be on long-term disability, I want to work and have that part of my identity back, but I’m in no shape to work at the bedside anymore so trying to find a new career path is difficult. There are so many bills to pay and people to keep informed about disability and work absence and appointments to make and I’m totally overwhelmed by it all right now. When I get overwhelmed I tend to retreat into myself and do puzzles/games all day because I can focus my brain on something and that is soothing to me. So…I haven’t made some appointments and my house is a mess and I am just barely treading water right now. I one hundred percent admit I’m struggling.

*deep breath*

I KNOW I’ll get past this. I know I’ll have better days when the weather improves and I can just get outside and it will motivate me to be better and do better again. But right now I’m so tired of fighting it. Trying to stay positive all the time is EXHAUSTING. I want to just lay here and let someone else do the fighting and the worrying and the tasks I’ve left undone for too long. I want to go to sleep and wake up when this is better. But it won’t GET better without my effort. And that’s the crux of it all. How do I force myself to get up and get better when I’m exhausted from constantly trying to get up and get better? (This is a rhetorical question, PLEASE don’t send me advice. I don’t want it, I only wanted to write this to give an idea of how I feel.)

I’m just ready for Spring. I want kick Depression out of the driver’s seat and cruise with the windows down and sun shining on me. I also hope for a renewal of my body somehow, that maybe my own Spring will bring new taste buds and a flow of saliva and the energy to keep up with everything I’ve been neglecting, but I’ll settle for the mental fortitude to better accept “the new me.”

Thanks to all my friends and family who stick by my side even when I’m despondent and difficult to really reach. I promise happy-go-lucky, positive Stef is still here, she’s just overwhelmed and exhausted and trying to gather the strength to take back the wheel.

Published by Stef G.

30-something former Critical Care RN, divorced single mom, tongue cancer survivor and empath who is constantly striving to be better than she was yesterday.

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