Friday, September 2, 2011

Who Do I Call?

I'm sitting here wondering who to call. I want to tell someone what a hard time I'm having adjusting to work. There's no one to tell, I guess. At times like this I feel like I'm the one in slow motion in a scene where people in the background speed by. People have lives, they do things when they get off of work and on the weekends. They get together, go camping, have drinks and do other things I'm not a part of. When I am able to make it I'm only half there.

Where I used to live with occasional nausea, hip pain from my bursitis, joint stiffness/pain and getting through my day, I'm now trying to manage all that while getting a lot of things done at work. I'm putting everything into being precise, effective and as productive as possible while having the uncomfortable feeling of failing at all. I ignore my pain. I wish to do better and put all my effort into doing so. Then I find I've forgotten something and stress wells up inside of me. It's okay but as each and every little minor mistake builds onto my psyche I wear it as a backpack. It gets heavier and heavier as the days goes by.

Friends have said, "Oh that's normal", or "Now you know what it's like for everyone else", when I talk about my failings. My memory was very much above average before, not so much now. The frustration I feel over it is completely overwhelming.

I try and tell myself it's okay, that not being perfect is okay. I've never believed that of myself. I have no problem accepting others as humanly flawed but cannot even conceive of it being me. I don't think I'm perfect, I just actively do everything within my power to minimize the imperfectness ( <---like in that sentence structure). I often make up the gap of normalcy and excellence with sheer will power and stubbornly refusing to stop until I've done %110. Always %110. That was always my mantra through simultaneously single parenting, working and completing my degree.

I thought I had learned something since almost biting the big one. I thought I had become easier on myself and learned how to be gentle. How can I still feel that way? I never used to dispair about it, I just worked harder. Maybe I should be in some sort of 12 step program for perfectionists anonymous. I'd probably try to be the best recovering perfectionist there, I'd actually kick everyone's asses in anti perfectionism. I don't know where this high achieving streak comes from....

Or maybe I do. I didn't have the kindest of childhoods. And I remember in elementary school, the boys chasing me with worms by shoving the worm directly in my face screaming that I was scared because I was a girl. I taught them a lesson by tackling them, taking the worm from them and then chasing THEM around with it. They screamed their sissy little heads off. They never did that to me again. I always had to climb higher, run faster and be tougher. So much for being non competitive. The problem with being competitive with yourself is that you're always the loser.

I just want to do well at work work and be valuable again. I feel like every little mistake or being a little bit slower than I would have been before, is me failing. Failing to be of any good to anyone.

I really used to struggle hard with this. Am I no different than I was before pre cancer?


Hillary St. Pierre said...

Hi I can relate as a recovering cancerous perfectionist. It's devastating to have your body deny what your brain so desperately wants it to do. Not to sound glib, but on the brightside, you have your mind. Mine is under siege still from chemobrain. The SamFund is a foundation for young survivors transitioning back to life after cancer. What you're describing is exactly what they deal with. I hope you call them or get ahold of me. I understand more than I want to.

Joy Huber said...

Hi! Just came across your blog & enjoyed reading (especially the part about taking the worms from the boys!); I was diagnosed with stage four non-hodgkins lymphoma at the young age of 33 March 24th, 2010. I'm in remission now (but still doing maint. chemo. every 8 weeks!) & have gone on to found "Cancer with Joy" to help others through their experience.

I suspect the pressure on yourself to be perfect while you said you tolerate flaws in others does come from the one sentence you said about your childhood. The previous comment mentioning the SamFund helping people could be something good. She said she could relate so I'm sure others can too.

I wonder about contacting a group called Imerman Angels too; they provide 1:1 FREE cancer support. They try to match you up with someone very much like you and who's already gone through what you are. That might be helpful too in seeing if they could match you up with someone . . . just trying to think of an answer to your question "Who Do I Call?" :) Good Luck!

Joy Huber
Cancer with Joy