I said, in April, that I wouldn’t be doing monthly updates any more, unless I had something specific to say. Well here we are, just two months later, and a brush with anxiety has necessitated an update. And that update is to say sorry for the posts I’ve missed while anxiety has been visiting.
The majority of the text, below, is copied across from the equivalent post on my Chubby House Hubby site, edited as necessary:
It’s been a while since I posted, for which I apologise. Of course, thanks to the way WordPress allows you to backdate blog posts, there’s a very good chance that, over the course of the coming month, this opening will make no sense… Because I’ve back-filled the posts that I’ve missed! Now, anxiety, or not, I realise that this is a little on the underhanded side, as such, in this update, I’ll include a list of the affected posts. Mind you, Underhanded is my middle name! Don’t ask; my parents have a strange sense of humour…
So, the posts I’ve missed and have, or will, back fill are:
- Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer?
- Does Cannabis Cure Cancer?
- Can Obesity Cause Cancer?
- Can Urine Therapy Cure Cancer?
Actually, in the great scheme of things, that isn’t too bad. I’ve missed eight posts on the Chubby House Hubby site!
Part of the problem, I think, is that I’m not particularly familiar with Anxiety, let alone the Free Floating version from which I’ve been struggling. In contrast, I’ve had far more experience with depression than I ever hoped for, and always kinda assumed that anxiety and depression were the same thing. Turns out that I was completely wrong about that.
I’m going to wildly oversimplify here but, as far as I can make out the difference between anxiety and depression goes like this:
Anxiety is worrying about the future, because bad things may happen
Depression is having given up on the future, on the acceptance that bad things will happen.
For a more detailed explanation about these differences, please see the following page at CalmClinic.
So, my problem over the last couple of months is that I’ve been struggling with a bunch of depression-like symptoms while not feeling hopeless and depressed. Just… worried about uncertainties in the future. More specifically, I’ve been struggling with:
- Insomnia and sleeplessness
- Feeling tired (even more so than normal)
- Irritability (or so Julie and the girls tell me)
- And lots of lots of ‘what if’ type worrying
As I hope you can appreciate, this is not particularly conducive to settling down to write (what I hope are) reasonably light-hearted posts, in the circumstances.
It was only when Emma explained to me that there is a difference between anxiety and depression (and stress, as it turns out), that I was able to see what was going on. From there I found my way to the concept of Free Floating Anxiety, a term I’m going to continue to use, because it sounds so much better than the more properly named, Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
After that, even I was able to work out the source of my problem. I’m suffering from anxiety because we’re in the process of moving house, hence the cover image of the update.
It turns out that moving house is one of the most stressful things that you can put yourself through. As I’ve mentioned, Stress is different to Anxiety (and depression). Stress, as it turns out, is the body’s physical response to external events such as having cancer or moving house. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a possible psychological reaction to these same events. Stress and Anxiety are not mutually exclusive and can, very much, feed off each other in the right circumstances.
I think that in my case, I’m simply no longer able to cope with added stressors in my life. I’m just about able to keep a lid on the stress, anxiety and depression, relating to my ongoing cancer treatment, which is always nibbling away at the edges of my mind. Except for the period between my scans and the results, then I’m far more likely to crumble under the pressure!
On which note, I’ve got the date for my next scans: 28th July. From then until 7th August is going to suck! And then, come the seventh, and depending on the results, things could get soooo much worse. Hence all the suckiness. This means that there will be a, hopefully anxiety and cancer free, update in August.
Not that I’m actually expecting bad news. I’m lighter and fitter than I’ve been for a very long time. Better yet, I’m not experiencing any recognised tumour-related symptoms. I’m currently pretty optimistic, which is an unusual place for me to be. And has the potential to lead to an almighty bout of depression, if my bubble bursts.
Not least, because we’ll likely be moving house within a couple of weeks of receiving such news…
But there’s no point in dwelling on the possibility of negative outcomes. That’s not in keeping with my current experiment with optimism.
No, the reason for the free floating anxiety is that the move hasn’t been going smoothly. I won’t go into too many details because I’ll do a post about it, on the Chubby House Hubby site, in due course. But I will mention that I’ve only moved three times as an adult, the last two with kids in tow. And the last one (six years ago) doesn’t really count because we part-exchanged our way into a New Build; we really had very little to do. That couldn’t be further from the truth this time around. And the place we’re moving to blows my mind every time I think about it!
Anyway, these last eight weeks haven’t solely been filled with home-moving related concerns. Nope; I spent two of them laid low with a rotten cold. Historically, I used to get these colds quite regularly but this is the first one I’ve had since my last bout of chemotherapy. I really haven’t missed them!
Yeah, yeah, bring on the ‘Man-Flu‘ jokes; I can take it. But next time I get one, pop on over and I’ll infect you and then we’ll see if you can take it…
Not that it’s been all bad. Ceri celebrated her 16th birthday, and I ‘baked’ her a birthday cake, the first baking I’ve done since I started this diet. She wanted a Crepe Cake, so there was no actual ‘baking’ involved, but I’m sure you take my point. Ceri also had her High School leavers Prom, following in Emma’s footsteps from this time last year. As Emma did, Ceri also had a very low-key after-prom party around here. I also did some baking for that… which, likewise, involved remarkably little in the way of baking.
Strawberry Mousses and Chocolate BonBons don’t like to be baked. Not that it would have mattered; virtually none of it got eaten! Although, to be fair, this is largely because the Prom included a very nice meal. That and the fact that a giggle of girls (apparently ‘giggle’ is the correct collective noun for girls!) who have just spent a bunch of weeks watching what they eat, for the sake of their Prom Dresses, aren’t likely to have the biggest of appetites. Which, of course, is why I did Strawberry Mousse…!
Ceri’s crimes against food aside, we’ve also been visiting Universities with Emma, to see where she fancies going next September.
Now I know it’s such a cliched thing to say, but I can’t help myself: where has all the time gone? How can my baby girl really be flying the nest and striking out on her own? It only seems like yesterday that I was carrying her in my arms…
Oh, wait: it was only yesterday!
And it’s not like she’s planning to go far. About a 90-minute drive away. So we’re likely to see her any time she runs out of clean clothes… or money… or strawberries…!
But the daughter-related excitement is all sorted now. Ceri has both left school and become officially old enough to make really poor decisions. Emma has decided on her first and second choice Universities. Additionally, I have learned enough about Free Floating Anxiety to understand, and overcome, what’s going on in my mind.
Sure, the house-moving process is an ongoing concern but it’s mostly over, bar the inevitable solicitor wrangling. Why solicitors insist on leaving everything to the last possible minute is beyond me, but, I guess, solicitors have gotta solicit.
All of which means that I’m back and able to get on with my blogging again, starting with this anxiety based update. At least, I’m back blogging for the time being.
If the results are as good as I’m hoping, i should get another six months off. In which case, I intend to finally settle down and write a novel. I mean, I’ve been talking about it long enough. I did write one before my diagnosis but I never finished the proof-reading phase. Besides, my ideas regarding that one have changed so much, in the last seven years, that I’d basically need to start again. And that would be soul-destroying. So I think I’ll go with a different one.
My point being, if I’m trying to write a novel, my suspicions are that I’ll have less time for blogging, unless I have something specific to say. Like if I’m back in treatment…
Additionally, I’m quite tempted to explore the Vlogging option on YouTube. The new house has a room that would be ideal for filming such things. Whether I would simply convert posts such as this to vlogs, or try something else entirely, I am not yet sure. One logical option would be to work my way through the existing blog posts and turn them into vlogs. Again, logically, this would impact on the amount of blog posts I would make, going forward.
My key reason for writing these posts is to get this information out there, in an effort to help people in similar situations. Demystify certain aspects of cancer treatment, at least. I feel that I might be able to make some headway with that, with a YouTube channel.
If anyone has any thoughts regarding any of this, I would really like to hear them.
On top of my possible writing and vlogging plans, I will have a new house to decorate. Upon which I will also need to utilise my entirely inconsiderable DIY skills. Seriously, I suck at home improvements; it’s going to be carnage!
And, with that, I offer my thanks for bearing with me and taking the time to read this. Sorry that I haven’t been around but, as I hope this update explains, Free Floating Anxiety turns out to be really quite challenging.
For anyone else who is struggling with Anxiety, please let me point you in the direction of:
- UK – Anxiety UK
- US – Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Australia – Beyond Blue
- Canada – Anxiety Canada
- India – Live, Love, Laugh Foundation
- New Zealand – Anxiety NZ
I apologise if you live in a country for which I haven’t provided a direct link. My language skills are sadly lacking, but a search for anxiety charities in your country should offer options. Failing that, I’d recommend starting with Anxiety UK.