What the F*ck Do I Do?: Self-Doubt and Mental Roadblocks, Part Two

I’m going to have to admit that I’m struggling. I’m struggling to reconcile my intentions of making this blog a health and wellness resource with my impulses to talk about myself, to use this space as a journal and chronicle my own experiences. Honestly, I know what my goal is: I WANT to focus my energy on creating relevant content encouraging cancer prevention and early detection, to connect patients and their families with support resources, and to make something useful for those dealing with grief and bereavement. However, there are already so many other organizations that do the same thing and they do it so well. They’re connected and sufficiently funded with enormous followings. While I understand that things weren’t always easy for them, and that my path is different, it makes me wonder what exactly I’m trying to accomplish.

Things don't always go according to plan but we can't let the negativity define us.
Things don’t always go according to plan but we can’t let the negativity define us.

I’ll be happy if I can help even one person in any possible way but if I’m being honest, I want to increase my reach and create a strong community. That being said, I don’t operate with any delusions of grandeur. I understand that there’s only so much I can accomplish blogging a few times a week after working a full-time job. I know it’s hard work. I understand that my tone waivers and my content is broad; one day I’m writing about grief and mourning and the next I’m complaining about my running routine. The dots don’t always connect and I can’t expect readers to commit to someone they don’t know who writes with such unpredictably. Moreover, everything is framed through my own lens making it incredibly self-centered. What am I saying that hasn’t already been said? My pain is not unique. I am not a cancer patient or survivor. My days as a caretaker (with my dad specifically) were limited. I’m not a medically trained professional so I read through these reports, deciphering what I can but don’t provide new information.

As I wrote yesterday, self confidence is an issue for me. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m a capable person who is loved by my family, friends, and dogs. I don’t question my intelligence or thoughtfulness. I’m confident that I am empathetic and kind. I understand that I’m really good at certain things and not others. I’ve always been given so much love and support that I don’t question these things. Truthfully though, I also have feelings of insecurity that I’m not productive or relevant. I talk a lot but when it comes down to it, I’m shy and introverted. I care too much what others think. I’m well loved but I’ve never been popular. I’ve never had that magnetic charm about me. And if I’m being open, I wonder how interesting I am. I fear that I suck.

But, and there is a but, I’m not going to let any of my self-doubt or worry stop me.

Through my dad’s illness, I tried hard to be good and did everything the doctors told me and more. Following his surgery, I stayed with him all day in the hospital and did anything I could do to help. Doctors, nurses, and even my dad told me to rest more but I didn’t heed their advice. Instead, I followed my impulses, laying it all out there and you know what? In the end it didn’t change the outcome. I couldn’t control what was happening to my dad despite my best efforts. I could only continue on and make the best of a really fucking terrible situation. And still I have no regrets. Even though I couldn’t extend my dad’s life anymore through my efforts, I made every day better for him and my family. I focused on the good and the rest fell to the wayside.

Do I wish for a time machine so that I can go back and force my dad to get screened? Yes, absolutely. Do I still startle myself with intense feelings of sorrow? Without a doubt. But do I look back wishing I did more? I can confidently say no, I don’t.

What I’ve come to realize is that I can’t be held back from working on this blog, letting it take whatever form it chooses, all because of negative feelings. I can’t let that cruel voice of self-doubt creep in and destroy the good I’m trying to create. In the end, even if no one reads this blog and I’m cluttering up the internet with my self absorbed ramblings, I’ll know that I tried. I’ll know that I didn’t let fear dictate my actions and it’s something I encourage you readers to do as well (hello and thank you by the way!) – try to remember all the good in you, especially when times are tough. And if you’re going through a difficult moment or ever need a pep talk, I’m here for you.

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10 thoughts

  1. I think that writing from the heart, which is what you are doing, is what readers gravitate towards. Yes, other people have experienced grief, illness and self-doubt, but your experience and voice are unique and deserve to be heard. Xo

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    1. Rationally I understand what you’re saying and I know that I would easily give that same advice to others. Recently though, when everything feels uncertain I’m finding my feelings of self-doubt creep in more frequently but you always give good advice so I’ll listen to you (as I often do).

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  2. ok, I’ll confirm what she said – I wouldn’t have come here to a blog that was just about cancer prevention and early detection, even though I have a friend who’s just finished – or is it completed – her cancer treatments and another friend’s mom just passed away from – cancer? did they call it that or just use a euphemism – blood disorder – like my dad had; no, it was the fact that it was commented about your bereavement that got me here, looking to see what that was about, what your story was, because that’s the connection for me; see, I, too, lost my dad – not quite the same way or as quickly – but still have somewhat the same feelings – having said that as I’ve been reading back through from today – current day 9/13/15 to current day of your blog, as in this post I’m commenting on – I feel you’ve developed a fairly good balance – wouldn’t want every post to be about your dad but can see the progression as time has passed, your growth – I think your dad would be proud of you

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    1. Cancer is such a pervasive disease that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by it but I’m glad that you have at least one positive case and I’m glad she’s done her treatments now. Also, I’m sorry for your loss, however long ago it may be – things still hurt.

      Separately- thank you so much for your feedback and taking the time to let me know. I think I wrote more about my dad than I had intended to initially but I went into this blogging thing kinda blind. Writing functioned/functions as therapy for me right now so I mostly following my own instincts when I started and didn’t have a schedule but I’m glad to hear that I found some sort of balance, even if it was by accident. Thanks again for your comment!

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      1. yes, you’re right; not sure if it’s getting more pervasive or what but I’ve also known several like your dad who were quite far along before there were seemingly any indications who then also weren’t around long after they found out, not sure if most of those people were the type to not go to the doctor – was your dad that kind? the friend I have who just finished her treatments actually pushed them – she’d had something on her neck for a while that had bothered her but even that’s somewhat unusual because she’s the only one like that – the others were all more like your dad, with seemingly now outward signs or symptoms. I lost my dad a little over a year ago – but yes, you’ll never get completely over it but then you wouldn’t really want to but as you’re finding out, it does get better – or can – my dad was older as am I, so I think that makes a difference, but my mom lost her dad when they were more you and your dad’s age and I think it does make a difference, things like he wasn’t around when she got married either, so I never knew him. I think quite a few of us – maybe not the “professional” bloggers – went into this as somewhat a therapy – if you dig into mine deep enough you’ll find I’ve also lost 2 grandchildren that I spent quite a bit of time talking about before I lost my dad and also my mom before that – so, dare I say, at least you still have her – oh, do want to say – and maybe should go find that post – being able to put on/sleep in? – your dad’s clothes sounded so precious, maybe even having the memory of losing him in the prime of life, so that’s how you can remember him vs having to remember a slow decline of old age and watching them slip away so that even their very clothes seem tainted with that might be very precious, if that helps any but glad you’re not lingering but moving on; it’s what your dad would want!

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      2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m truly sorry for your losses – all of them – even if they do go back a few years. I don’t think the pain ever really goes away, we just learn how to deal with it better.

        What I’m coming to realize is that it’s always a challenge learning how to cope with loss because each situation is and always will be different but we keep going, I suppose. We learn and we grow and it’s nice to have a community of people that you can count on. I’m very fortunate to have a strong support system, which now extends to this blog as well.

        Thanks again for your support and your kind messages. I can’t wait to follow along your journey and get to know you better! xx

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      3. thank you; trying to decide which direction to go – a difference in losing both parents is having to deal with their “stuff”, something you’re not having to deal with yet – how’s your mom doing?

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      4. I appreciate you asking about my mom because this obviously affects her in ways I can’t understand, although I can empathize. She’s incredibly resilient and doing as well as you could expect of anyone in this circumstance. Fortunately she has a strong support network that includes me and my siblings but still it’s a bit touch and go.

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      5. I was really surprised at how much my mom’s death affected my dad when we always thought he was the strong one, but it seems it often works that way more so than the other way around, so hopefully she’ll be ok –

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