Reflections on a Blogoversary

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer - Two Years On

The JBBC blog is two years old this month and from the outset my aim was to lessen the feeling of isolation among cancer survivors. This has evolved over time to encompass more than cancer survivors;  for the more I write, the more I realise how universal many of our feelings are. I want this blog to be a meeting place for people who are dealing, not just with cancer, but from any kind of emotional difficulty. Often we shut down, because we feel that nobody else will understand, but as Anna’s guest post yesterday showed us, this is not necessarily the answer.

While I write about living in the aftermath of cancer and what that means for me, there are many different ways that a diagnosis of cancer affects us. A diagnosis of cancer leaves a common legacy which in many ways we share, but equally our experience differs from each other in many ways too. This is why I encourage guest posts on the JBBC blog, so that we can learn from each other’s stories. I hope we learn that we are not alone and that while our experiences differ sometimes, we share a common bond of learning to live with grace and courage with the challenges of our lives.

If you read the Sunday Times regularly as I do, you may also read Sally Brampton, the resident Times agony aunt. I  find Sally’s writing to be wise and compassionate, particularly when it comes to dealing with depression. Sally writes honestly about her own struggles with depression and has written several books on the subject. Read what she has to say on being open about her depression:

The way that I deal with my depression these days is to talk about the way I truly feel, and not the way I think other people would like me to feel. I am rarely right about that anyway. And I have discovered that when I break the treaty of silence, I am amazed to find how many people will join me.

I know that some people find such notions of honesty and vulnerability impossible, if not abhorrent. Most of us have never learned the vocabulary of intimacy. We simply don’t know how to express our feelings. Perhaps some of us don’t need to but it’s more, I think, that most of us are frightened so we hide behind a carefully constructed social self. Much of that self is unhelpful; it is a brick wall behind which we find ourselves trapped, frightened of not being, as the therapeutic phrase goes, “good enough.”

Curiously, the best antidote to the not good enough culture is to say it out loud. We live in an imperfect world. We are imperfect beings. The more we share that, the better we will feel.

We get so conditioned not to show our natural frailty that we forget that vulnerability is a precious thing. It’s what makes us human. It is what heals us because it is connection and not separation that makes us whole.

Life is about connection. There is nothing else.

I truly belive that life is all about connection and compassion, and as I enter my third year of writing this blog, I want to re-dedicate myself to these ideals. I do hope you will continue to journey with me on this path of connection, compassion, and healing.

Have you found a sense of connection and compassion in the blogosphere? Please share your views and stories in the comments section below.