Abandoning Fear, and Fearing with Abandon

I’ve been avoiding the blank page. I’m okay. Some hours I’m better than okay. But I continue to feel more shut down—both with others and with myself —than I have since I was diagnosed last October. I am carrying on with my life just fine. I get out of bed every morning. I shower and eat and go to meetings and take care of my children. I do what I need to do for work and smile at people on the street. I even laugh at times. But my heart does not feel open the way it usually does.

Over the last year, I’ve thought a lot about what I want to take away from my experience with breast cancer. Just last month, I wrote about how cancer is teaching me to prioritize joy—and to abandon fear in order to do so.

That has not changed.

However, this month I am steeped in a new awareness: I am aware that cancer has also taught me to be afraid in ways I never was before.
fear chasing

As I write this, I am self-consciously aware of sounding depressed and negative. I feel the need to say, “I really am okay.” (And I really am okay.) I feel the need to say, “I’m a very happy, positive person.” (And I am a very happy, positive person.) I feel the need to say, “I know I have much for which to be grateful.” (And I do have much for which I am grateful.)

But I also feel the need to say that right now, I am hurting and scared and angry and uncertain and lonely. I feel the need to say that I feel abandoned, but I don’t know how to let people in.

hurting heart

10 thoughts on “Abandoning Fear, and Fearing with Abandon

  1. Dear Jenny, thank you for saying what’s true for you. I wish I could send you a big box of sunlight that could warm your spirit or a gentle comfy hammock that would rock you and let you feel safe. But all I can do is remind you to breathe and wait it out. Remind you that the hard, negative feelings do not change who you are, nor your capacity for joy. It’s all there, waiting, protecting what’s vulnerable right now. Even if the love feels distant, it still surrounds and holds you. Even in the dark. Maybe like the moon that’s sometimes bright and brilliant, sometimes cloudy and partial, sometimes gone, apparently, but never is. This too will change, as everything, always, does.
    Hugs from the heart, dear one. LJ


  2. Hi Jenny, this post resonated with me strongly and I’ve just written about something similiar on my last blog post. I stumbled upon the phrase ’emotional blunting’ and I think it sums it up rather well. I am certain that it’s the brain in ‘protective mode’ but it doesn’t feel like that, it feels like the joy has been sucked out and just a husk remains.

    I acknowledge your place right now but asure you that it will at some point be overtaken by good feelings again.



    1. Rosemary, I just read several of your posts, including the one in which you write a bit about “emotional blunting.” (For others who might be interested, here is the link: https://cystaract.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/zometa-aspirin-and-emotional-blunting/comment-page-1/#comment-211) I agree, it makes sense that we process/feel what we can handle, and after what we’ve been through– what we’re still going through– I’m not surprised that we’d shut down here and there. As always–especially these days as I struggle with feeling shut down–it’s comforting to hear from others who really “get it.” So thank you for sharing.


  3. Joy is a mystery because it can happen anywhere, anytime, even under the most unpromising circumstances, even in the midst of suffering, with tears in its eyes.

    ~ Frederick Buechner


  4. Dear Jenny,
    I heared understood, you might sometimes wish to rest and confide, or discuss quietly how you feel.
    It is legitimate.
    Ad in this way, your talk with Harrison is so wonderful.
    Delicately, he asks how you feel, receives your sadness and shows compassion understanding, like a sweet sweet boy.
    I do hope maybe your surgery is aiming now at safety above all, or to get a clear and perfect healing, before further steps?
    So as to abandoning fear fearing abandon,
    to feel at times sad lonely angry scared,sorry but I have to admit it, so is live, as long as you also find along, joy, reliance and love!
    They may seem to fade away at times, but they linger alway around, so you can catch them back.
    There is alway hope.
    You don’t have to die to have a second or better life.
    You can discover yourself cherishing what you have.
    Take good care of you, lots of love Mariejeanne.


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