Guest Post – Staying Sane During an Insane Time

Hey all. It’s That Guy filling in for That Girl. A little while ago, the readers of this blog voted on a topic for me to discuss in a guest post. And finally, with the help of some ‘gentle reminders’ from That Girl, I’ve gotten around to writing about it. Staying sane during an insane time. Oh where to start?

This blog’s story begins around the time of That Girl’s cancer diagnosis, but for me, normalcy was already on its way out. I guess that comes with the territory of having a second child. I feel I was mentally unprepared for the arrival of That Baby. Her arrival being 4 weeks early didn’t help much either. So then how did I wrap my head around all of this and stay sane over the last 8 months? I’m really not sure exactly. Perhaps I may have actually lost it a little bit at times, but everyone else around me was too nice to say anything. I guess it depends on how you define sanity, but for the purposes of this entry, let’s simply say keeping a level head and feeling okay mentally as opposed to some formal legal definition.

Generally speaking, while it’s a bit of a cliche, I’d have to say that the approach of taking life one day at a time seems to have worked out so far. Of course, this approach has not necessarily been by choice. It’s often felt like the only option. I’ve found that most days, I end up feeling tired and burned out, despite a higher than usual amount of caffeine intake. I don’t have the time nor the mental capacity to do much more than what’s right in front of me, both at work and at home. My memory has been less than perfect (okay, it’s been bad, really bad), and my attention span has rivaled that of That Little Girl. Sure, a lot of that deficiency can be traced to having a newborn with initially many sleep deprived nights, but the unknowns associated with That Girl’s condition going forward certainly have had a major effect as well. During this whole time, I’ve remained cautiously optimistic about That Girl’s health and tried my best to remain mentally steady, not get overly down about bad news, and much to the dismay of That Girl, not get too excited over good news. It may not be the best way to handle a situation like this, but I’ve tried to stay off that roller coaster as much as possible. I’ve also avoided dwelling on the “what ifs”. The doctors, to this point, have been positive and reassuring as much as they can about That Girl’s treatment and recovery. That has made it somewhat easy to avoid wondering ‘what if’ they’re wrong.  What if the treatment doesn’t work? What if the cancer has spread? What if something else bad happens? What if…..? Yeah, you can see how quickly that thought process can spiral out of control.

Having limited my focus and thinking to one day at time, how to I get through each day individually? Getting away. I don’t exactly mean getting far away. Although, I did manage to take a few days on a ski trip this past winter across the county with just the guys. Good times by the way. While I haven’t been able to go do much of anything, there have been a few things that have kept me going. During spring and summer, I was able to play baseball and even make most of the games.  It’s such a simple thing, but baseball offers all sorts of benefits. Other than the fact that I love to play the sport, I get to hang out with the guys, be outside, compete, be physically active, and have my attention on a game for a few hours, rather than everything else life has thrown our way. Since baseball season has ended, I’ve still been able to get outside to do yard work, or basically anything that feels productive. Maybe it’s just me, but these days, there’s just something that’s therapeutic about being able to block out the world, turn on some music, and focus on doing a single task, even if it’s as undesirable as scooping dog poop. It’s also been helpful to realize that our family’s tough situation is temporary, and it could always be worse. That Girl is under the care of good doctors, and in my unprofessional medical opinion, I believe she will be just fine in the future. That Baby Girl will continue to grow up and ultimately be able to do more on her own.  That Little Girl is becoming more self sufficient every day. There is light at the end of this tunnel. An occasional reminder of these facts, along with a few deep breaths, helps me keep it together as much as I can.

Do the readers out there have any advice for me in this situation?  Drop a line in the comments section.  I could certainly use the input!


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