I’ve been planning my funeral lately. Whoa. Wait… what’s going on with such dark thoughts? I hear you thinking. To put your mind at ease, my thoughts aren’t suicidal. With the news of the unexpected passing of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade lately, mental health has been on my mind. Writing the words out loud makes me feel shocked too. If you’ve been following my health journey from the time I was diagnosed with my Thymoma cancer tumor to the recent news of an impending growth, you’ll see that my life has been unpredictably rough these couple of years. So why these dark thoughts all of a sudden?
GOING DOWN THE SLIPPERY SLOPE
I’ve always considered myself mentally strong and healthy. So if something came up, I go into fight mode. Dark thoughts can’t prevail when you’re on defense, or so I thought. That’s what makes these dark thoughts so sneaky. They fester silently and creep about in your mind, almost unnoticeable. They cast a shadow on your life but they don’t hinder how you function on the outside. And they’re not huge enough that you can’t brush them off for that moment. But I think that’s where the danger lies with these dark thoughts. They’re still there and they grow – in the dark and in silence.
I didn’t notice it so much at the time but I stopped letting myself dream. When my BFF in Australia talked about visiting me for our next birthday milestone, I shirked from the topic. Instead of excitedly throwing out ideas, I nodded and said It would be fun and silently added, If I’m still around. Or when our kids talk about having children and what I wanted my granny name to be, I didn’t dare to let my mind go there. My dark thoughts are centered around FEAR.
DON’T LET IT ROB YOU OF JOY
My dark thoughts got so low that I started planning out my funeral because I was fearful that I wouldn’t make it through my impending surgery. I planned all the details even down to the songs – Dancing Queen by ABBA, Dedicated to the One I love by The Mamas & the Papas and Say you won’t let go by James Arthur. My mind created videos I was going to make beforehand so my family knows how much I love them. It’s pretty dramatic and I feel a little sheepish confessing these thoughts but that’s my truth unveiled.
They say to live every day as if it’s your last so that you live life to the fullest. When dark thoughts hover, it robs you of that joy. You live every day silently saying goodbye to everything you do, or people you see as if it’s the last time.
TELL SOMEONE ABOUT YOUR DARK THOUGHTS
I don’t believe, my story is unique though. My hope for this post is to encourage you to reach out and seek help if you or someone you know is going through a hard time.
I’ve discussed my dark thoughts with my ever-patient husband and we pray every day to God. My husband is my confidant. If you don’t have a spouse, tell a friend or discuss it with a mental health professional. I had mentioned it to my other BFF who also happens to be a psychologist (yes, I’m a blessed girl – I have two BFFs) and she gave me a healthy reality check as well as some professional advice.
As she dissected my issues for me, it was as if she armed me with a pair of magic cutters. Talking it out helped free me from the mental shackles. Telling someone helped me find peace and dispelled the thoughts rather than letting it play over and over in the wee hours of the night.
Tell someone. Please.
SOME THINGS THAT HELPED ME
Like our physical health where we try to eat right and exercise, our mental health needs a workout too. Here are some of the things that helped me through the process.
Journal: I hate journaling. It means having to own my words and I’m gripped with fear of my own thoughts. Really, it makes me want to vomit. Weird as it sounds, being vulnerable empowers you to find courage. This is something I learned from the Queen of Vulnerability, Brene Brown. So here is my journal entry for the world to see but yours needn’t be so public.
Acceptance: Accept the negative thoughts and emotions. This is so important for kids to understand too like in the movie, “Inside Out“. Empower our kids to understand that it’s normal to feel all kinds of emotions and take the stigma out of talking about them. Both negative and positive emotions make you human.
Delve deep: Find the root of the issue, make peace and then let it go. Letting go is hard work and a process. The process could take a second or years. Everyone is different.
Have faith: It’s beyond our control. I believe, this is ultimately up to God. We don’t know when our time will be up. A perfectly healthy person not expecting to die might be hit by a bus one day while someone who has a chronic disease might outlive their prognosis. We just don’t know.
What we can control is how we live today, so make every day a day you can be proud of.
I will be posting small updates on my FB Page if you’d like to follow along.
So for now, my fear of looming doom and gloom is gone. It has come just in time to face my next obstacle. I’m about to have a second surgery for my remaining tumors in mid August. I ask for your prayers and good thoughts.
If this post struck a chord, please share it. If you have a story you’d like to share or a resource (like a book) that has helped you, please feel free to comment below. I will put together a list of reader recommendations. Or shoot me an email at IttyBittyFoodies (@) Gmail (dot) com