(This is fiction)
I always wanted cancer. Yearned for it actually. Cancer seems so logical. So predictable. The process for dealing with cancer is straight forward. You go to the doctor; he tells you you’ve got cancer, tells you the odds for survival, then he recommends a treatment. You do the treatment, and you live or you die, win or lose. So orderly, it just makes sense. That is how I like my trials, Cause-effect.
Its not just the cancer patients that know how deal with cancer. The friends and associates usually know what to do. Friends and family feel grief. The close family members will spend weeks, months, or years at your side. You’ll be in the hospital, and Mother will come, brightening up the room with her cheery attitude. Of course she’ll also cry. You’ll see the pain in her eyes and feel the acid in her tears. She’ll weep over all your lost possibilities. Because as a mother, everything she’s done has been for you. Father, will probably be withdrawn at first, after all emotions are never easy for men, but he will come. You’ll make small talk, about the football season, or some new project, maybe even the latest episode of “Lost” or “24.” Brothers will come, bringing the bond forged over years of stupidity together. Sister will come, and probably behave a lot like mother. Women are masters at feeling others pain. Friends will come. They’ll do something to show their support, shave their heads, when you lose their hair, wear buttons on their backpack, hold fund raising dances--something. The community will rally around your family. This horrible tragedy will spur them to action, because when a tragedy strikes, we like to do something—to fix it--and with cancer, we know what to do.
Being messed up in the head is an entirely different matter. How do you deal with it? How do you even know if you have a problem? Sure when you start yelling, calling yourself,”Stupid” or “idiot” you know something is wrong, but you can stop that, right. It’s your brain and you can tell it what to do. But you can’t. You can’t focus on anything; you start hurting yourself. Your mind swirls with poisonous thoughts, seeping into your soul with deadly potency.
You slowly lose your joy. Parents tell you to “buck up.” Friends will valiantly try to take you to your old haunts. When their efforts to cheer you up bear no fruit, they’re frustrated. They slowly creep out of the friendship. Even those who stay by you, don’t know you.
Fear comes to your parents face. They don’t understand this monster. You go to different shrinks, each one with a different diagnosis. You try to accept it, but when you’re alone, the voices howl.
There is no easy way to deal with being messed up in the head. No predetermined way to deal with this tragedy. Because it is so foreign, people will withdraw. It will try to destroy you. You won’t know if you’ve beaten it until the end. How do you know if you won?
If something else kills you.
And that’s why I feel at peace, laying on this butcher paper. The Doctor just said those liberating words, “You have pancreatic cancer, less then a month to live.”
I close my eyes, put my head down, and smile.
(Second Note: Please don't take offense over the insensitivity to cancer payments. This is just an attempt to get into the mind of a mentally ill person.)