There is something very primal felt when hearing a cancer diagnosis. Something deep within, something animal, something… else. It isn’t anger yet, but it is going to be. In the doctor’s office it is just starting to awaken. It starts asking questions, questions the doctor cannot possibly know the answers to. Is it because I am a chemist, been around X-Ray instruments? Handled carcinogens, mutagens and reprotoxins? Was this the reason I had a miscarriage or caused by it? Or that we needed a little help to have children? Why didn’t nursing my children prevent this? Was it too much time in the sun? Not washing my produce enough? Using the wrong detergent? Deodorant?
The interesting thing is that when the doctor doesn’t know the answers, the questions become more frantic and that feeling starts hoping there is an answer because if there isn’t an answer there will be no single place to focus the proto anger and it is growing. It grows the fastest during the quiet alone times. Like the drive to work in the morning, no amount of radio helps and the questions keep coming to feed it.
People want to comfort you, it is a beautiful thing. Comfort you with words, acts of kindness, food, you name it-people want to comfort you. The proto anger is still in there and not interested in being quelled by well intentioned, kind adult behavior. It wants to be released like a tantrum, like the worst tantrum ever. It is not okay to tantrum on people who are trying to comfort you.
People want you to know how much they care. They care on so many levels, it is amazing. They care about you as a person, a friend, a patient, a human, so many levels and it is hitting them all at once as they pour their caring on you. Still the building and growing anger wants to come out. It wants to come out like a tornado, like multiple tornadoes at once, in the same square block or smaller. It is not okay to tornado on people who are expressing how much they care about you.
You know that this anger is ugly and should not be let out. You also know that it is not doing your physical health, mental health and attitude any good to keep it bottled up.
Nighttime. When no one else is awake and you are all alone with your thoughts is a good time to let it out, just do it on paper. I scraped the paper by writing so hard and angrily with the pen. Some parts I wrote nonsense because I couldn’t write as fast as my mind was racing. When I could keep up, it was ugly, angry, spiteful, hateful and mean. There was no one person that was the focus of the spew, there wasn’t anyone spared from it either. I think I found the real question, why now, why me?
Then it ended. Almost two hours later it ended.
When it ended it was a relief, at one point I wasn’t sure it would, that this was how I was going to be forever an ugly, angry, spiteful, hateful, mean person from now on. That was about the time I saw the stacks of pennies under my TV, saw the box of shirts and hats sent with love, and heard my youngest coming down the stairs to our room. I put my pen and tablet down and when she came in I opened my arms and cuddled her all better. Thankfully it all happened in that order, I would hate for her to have come in full nonsensical tantrum spew.
It’s good to get the primal rage out and know that the eruption will end-it does. It really does end. It is appropriate to express it, just choose the least destructive way inthe safest space possible.
I cuddled my youngest and cried softly and she just melted into me for even closer cuddles. She says that she doesn’t remember that night. I hope that is true. I think it would be scary to see your mom like that especially when something startled her to come down in the first place. But the rage was gone, the next day when someone tried to comfort me, there was no war inside. When they showed they cared, there was no bitterness about the need for them to show it in the first place. The whole house kind of felt a peace that had been missing for a few weeks.
I have never gone back to that tablet, I pitched it with the next trash run, pen too, it was nice to have them out of the house. Like if the words and feelings were still in the house in any form they might come back inside me and tear me up some more or find a permanent home.
Every now and then when it is quiet I wonder if there is a piece of it still in there somewhere, but it doesn’t seem to be, for that I am extremely thankful. Letting out the anger was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I hope to never experience that again, I hope that you find your way to let it out so that you can start to heal and experience the good things fully.