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Struggling to move forward in life

walla Community member Posts: 1 Listener
I was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in December 2015 and didn't worry about it but after my chemotherapy and radiotherapy things haven't gone well for me. I was drinking heavily and although I have stopped that, my life is meaningless. I was only 48 when it began and at 51 I feel like I'm on the scrapheap waiting to die. I have beaten cancer and people say I should be glad but I now have a tracheotomy and feel like I will never meet a partner. I am lonely as hell and don't know where to turn?


  • Madworld
    Madworld Community member Posts: 20 Connected
    @walla hi there, Im really sorry about whats happened to you it must have been a horrific experience. Theres people on here who give great advice and are here for you to talk to, im sorry you feel so lonely right now and believe me when I say I know what its like to feel lonely but youre gonna get through this you shouldnt put yourself down. Theres plenty of people who will completely understand your situation and like you just the same im sure youre a lovely person :smile:
  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,790 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @walla, welcome to the community.

    It's great to have you here, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing this with us- it sounds like you've been through some really difficult experiences lately. I hope you know that you can come and talk to us on the community at any time- we have plenty of friendly members who are always up for a chat. Have you considered looking into social groups in your area, too?
  • Waylay
    Waylay Community member, Scope Member Posts: 973 Pioneering
    I know how you feel. My back did something very weird when I was 32, and I lost my whole life. I Developed chronic pain, and my mental health went down the tubes.  

    10 years later, I'm still on benefits, still have severe MH problems, still have bad pain. I managed a little job for a while, but had to leave. I miss my Before life, desperately. 

    In my Before life I didn't trust anyone, I didn't need anything from anyone, I never asked for help, and I believed that I wasn't worth anything (screwy childhood).

    In my After life, I *wasn't* independent anymore, I did need help, but I had nobody to support me because I'd recently moved to a different country.And I felt like Hell. Emotions everywhere, grief over my lost life, anger at what happened, fear for the future, shame for not being able to work (thanks, DWP and mainstream media). If I didn't value myself Before, how could I possibly value this lesser version of myself?!

    Except... The After me isn't lesser, she's just... Different. If I could go back to Before I would, but with a lot of sadness. I wouldn't be who I am now without the last 10 years, and I'm actually starting to like who I am, for the first time in my life. (Then I have another benefits assessment and fall apart again, but that's a different conversation.)

    During a better period I started going to knitting meetups. I met all kinds of people, and... They liked me! Even though I'm broken and wounded and need help to move stuff around my own room, can't cook, am always on tramadol, and have to miss a lot of things at the last minute; even though I'm poor and unemployed, and I no longer feel like a valuable person, these people value me. They offer to help me. They do kind and/or supportive things for me. They enjoy having me around.

    I started to open up, to trust people, and I slowly began to believe that I have value beyond my ability to work. I can't help a friend paint her bathroom, or do her gardening, but when things are bad with her partner, she calls me. I never thought of my emotional labour as valuable, but apparently other people do. 

    I've done a lot of therapy. It's been really hard, but I've become a healthier person in many ways. I'm honest about what I want. I tell people what I think (kindly). I have 2 very healthy relationships, and a group of friends who know me really well and STILL love me. (Whoa!) I know that I can depend on them, and they can depend on me. 

    I never even knew this level of connection was possible, or how amazing it is to feel cared about, and to care in return. To have a safety net. My values have changed.  My people are the most important thing in my life, now, not my accomplishments, my salary, etc.

    I've learned that having a social circle is very, very important. When I can, I go to knitting meetups, critical conversation clubs, have tea and long talks with new people.

    I'm not over losing my Before life, by any stretch, but I'm starting to appreciate different things. I watch sunsets, smell roses, enjoy lying beside a lover and watching a movie. I've learned to knit, to spin wool, and to do some silversmithing. 

    Find groups that meet during the day - other unemployed / disabled / chronically ill people tend to congregate at these kinds of things. They'll understand you - we all have things that aren't great about our bodies at this point. 

    You are not destined to be alone - would you judge someone for having a trach? Some able people might judge, but screw them. The rest of us get it.

    You're not old and washed up. You may feel old (my back feels about 90), but you can still enjoy life. It's not going to be the life you had before - which is very difficult to accept (I needed a therapist to even start). Before is a memory; take a fond look at it every now and then, but not for too long. Looking back all the time will keep you from looking Forward. What's Forward? Your new life! 

    This is a life you get to build, pretty much from scratch. It's exciting, terrifying, overwhelming. Start small. You've already started writing here, so congrats! Find a meetup about something you'd like to do, and go to it. You don't have to do much. Smile. Tell them your name. Go back the next week. You'll start to make friends after awhile, and your new life will start to grow. 
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