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Archive for June 30th, 2011

Dear Faith,

I am sorry that you are feeling so crappy right now. It isn’t fair. You did nothing to deserve feeling this way. You did nothing to cause it, and there is nothing that you are doing or not doing that would make it all better. This is emotional chemo. This is something that you cannot get around, over, or under. The way out is straight through the pain until you get to the other side.

I know that it feels like you have always been and always will be in this much pain. The truth is that this feeling will not last. The longest it has ever lasted was six weeks. You didn’t believe it would ever end, but it did. For four wonderful hours, the clouds parted, and you felt the warmth of the sun. You felt more alive than you ever had before. When those four hours ended, you kept the hope that this pain would not be forever. Hold onto that hope.

Don’t let anyone minimize your experience. The pain really is that bad. It’s not your imagination, and you are not just “being dramatic.” Your pain is very real, and you don’t owe anyone any apologies for not being OK with being in so much pain. You don’t have to get through this time with grace: you just have to get through it however you can.

This is not a situation that you can “fix.” There is no magic formula that is going to make the clouds part and remove the intense pressure from your spirit. This is all part of the “emotional chemo” process. Healing moves to its own rhythm, and you are just along for the ride. It will feel more endurable if you stop fighting it and, instead, express what you are feeling.

It is OK to cry. It is OK to get really, really pissed off about it. It is OK to take it easy. If you were going through physical chemo treatments, nobody would expect for you to keep the perfect house or get everything done. You would be given the time and space you needed to heal. This emotional chemo is no different. Take the time you need to nap and rest.

I know how hard it is to believe that this is survivable, but it is. You already survived your childhood, and you have already survived these dark places several times. You can do this, one baby step at a time. You don’t have to get through the rest of your life – you just have to get through right now. Do what you need to do right now, in this moment, to survive it. I promise you – the clouds will part.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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