The Pain of Optimism

It may sound oxymoronic, but I believe there is an inherent pain associated with constant optimism. I believe the only way to get better and heal when your body is falling apart is to have a clear and positive mind. But maintaining clarity and joy at all times can have such a drain on you that is ends up sucking the strength out of you. Ultimately, it’s just not natural. We as humans are meant to experience the full range of emotions. Joy, pain, elation, sorrow. All of that. So forcing yourself to only be able to experience the positive emotions is akin to stunting yourself mentally. Not allowing negative influences from the outside world to have an effect on you makes that effect so much stronger. It’s almost as if trying to smile while someone digs a knife into your skin makes it somehow more painful than if you were to just let yourself scream out in pain.

Being put into the position I have been and having the beliefs that I have produces such an array of stifled emotions. Sometimes I feel so much more depressed than I think I ever would if I just let myself be sad sometimes. Sometimes, it’s like sadness leads to happiness, as long as you allow yourself to be sad. But when you try to shove half your emotions into a bottle and only let the positive ones shine through, you eventually get so taken down by life that you only have those negative emotions in the bottle to show. And the worst part is, you’ve been so positive and optimistic for so long that when those negative emotions do finally come out, everyone around you tries to fix you. Even writing this blog and showing negative emotion, I fear I will have parents and friends texting me some bullshit like “keep your chin up” or “I’m so sorry.” Like I’m not a fucking pity case. I want to be strong, and I want people to see me that way. And when I reveal the truth about how this situation I’ve been in for the past 3 years slowly kills me inside both emotionally, mentally, and literally, I want people to know that’s not me having a moment of weakness. It takes strength to get on a soap box and say this shit sucks and it’s killing me and I just want to fucking be better. But there’s nothing I can do. Plus, if I go around saying it drives me insane when people pity me for what I have to go through, it will do nothing but make them feel bad for trying to care for me. Like, what kind of asshole lashes out at the people trying to lend a hand? But no one knows what it’s like. Even the people who have cancer and literally know what it’s like don’t understand how it affects me, just as I don’t truly understand how their cancer affects them. I just want the answer. I want to scream and smash my fist through a wall, and at the same time have a smile on my face and know that somehow punching that wall is going to produce positive scans. I used to get so wrapped up in trying to live that I would debate if it was even worth it. Like, is living even worth it if all you do is try to live? I don’t give a shit about beating cancer so much that I would put myself through hell just to chase the dream of having a life that may end up never happening. But I wanna see how this story ends. I’m not afraid to go through the hell of living any more than I’m afraid of going through the nothingness of dying.

I dunno. I just know I can’t be the only one feeling this way and if no one else will stand up and talk about it then fuck it, I will. Besides, I’m sure no one who needs to read this ever will, but at least it makes me feel better to say it and get it off my chest.

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Mitch in March of 2019, but he never published it. The family decided to add this post to the timeline of his story to more fully capture his emotions during this time.

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