I am calling myself out on my last blog post. I made a mistake. Several readers wrote in and said “thanks for the honesty again and boy am I glad I didn’t say that to you.” They sounded a little bit scared and so I started to wonder. I made the mistake of expressing my growing anger and frustration through outrage at my friends and family, lobbing a misguded missile at well meaning but inarticulate friends. And I didn’t even mention all the women who have wondered at my delay for mastectomy stating, “You wouldn’t let them take your boobs? Wow, they could have whacked mine off, no problem.” “That’s not the protocol for IBC” I whisper quietly, trust me, “this is a show I’m not running even if I am a doctor.”
Systems Centered Therapy encourages us to take note of our outrage and use it as a clue to help us find our anger. But we must try not to act on our outrage. It is simple to recognize what makes me angry. Of course I’m angry at having cancer, at the cancer, at the inconvenience of having to go to the hospital once a week (I’m grateful for and at the same time exhausted by it), tired of this medicine that is slowly diminishing me even as it attacks the renegade cells. I’m feeling worn out and a bit irritable.
You would think a psychiatrist that’s been studying therapy, in therapy and doing therapy for twenty-two years would not make that error. But make it I did. I’d like to take down that post. Usually I wait at least three days before posting a blog. This time I was in a hurry. I didn’t want to wait. That should have been a clue. But of course I was too outraged to listen. Ha.
My friends and family have been so supportive with food, prayers, healing services and love. I’d like to make that criticism disappear but I won’t. My blog is a transparent unfolding of my writing life over two years. At first I was afraid to write and then I was afraid to write about anything but my daughter being in Thailand and gradually I moved into writing about who I am and what I do and mostly about what I am passionate. Gradually my blog turned into me.
So please, remember that as a meltdown. A big outragous whine reflecting how afraid I am not of dying exactly but more of not living and missing so much. This outrage represents the fear I feel when people casually skip the “Thank you God for giving her back her health” and lead right into “God loves you and is watching you, you will be fine either way.”
The anger that I feel is what drives my recovery. I need anger and passion to muster my defenses and keep on going, going for walks, lifting weights and doing Pilates, painting, writing, working, meditating, going going and stopping and believing too. This energy fuels my life force and creates my healing. But that doesn’t mean I get to yell at my friends on my blog. That’s misdirected outrage and I’m sorry.
Turns out I’m not angry at you, I’m angry about something else. Something altogether different indeed. And that angry energy is keeping me alive. I hope you can forgive me. I’ve already forgiven you.