Making Themes Not Resolutions For 2015


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Having made and promptly broken every resolution made for New Years in the  past, I’m trying something different this year. I have decided to pick 2 keywords as my themes for the year which will hopefully guide my actions in the 12 months ahead.

The words I have chosen for 2015 are “create” and “giving”.  I want to build up and not tear down. I would like to make something new, whether it is a new blog post, an article written out of my comfort zone, an e-book, or building a sense of community in my online and virtual worlds. I want to share my experiences more transparently and honestly in the hopes that even one reader will say to herself, “hey, I’m not alone feeling this way”. As I wrote in an earlier post, The Winning Ticket, I want to give back to my community, not keep taking from it. In terms of this blog, I want to create a safe place where we can exchange our stories freely, offer much needed emotional support to each other, and not worry if our stories do not resemble the”official” one of happy smiling pink-suited survivors.

As far as giving back or paying it forward, I would like to be even more candid about sharing my experiences with having triple negative breast cancer 4 Times. While I am not a doctor and can’t offer medical advice, I have almost 27 years of personal experience with this disease. I have gained a certain amount of knowledge about breast cancer and recurrences/new primaries as well as living with a BRCA1 positive gene during this time.

There was a recent post called Breast Cancer: It Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride where I danced around the topic of whether or not I personally suffered from PTSD.  Some readers figured it out while others didn’t. Yes, I have had depression, anxiety, panic attacks and flashbacks for years but was not properly diagnosed with PTSD until 6 weeks ago. Since then, a new medication has been added to my antidepressant and anti-anxiety cocktail and I am feeling lighter than I have in years. So why did I not just come out and say that in the post? Was I so afraid of labels about my mental health that I felt a need to detach myself from this particular diagnosis?  If nothing else, I would like to turn my negative experiences into something positive that others can relate to and realize they are not alone. I have had the symptoms for PTSD for many years and now with the official diagnosis, it is finally being appropriately treated. I feel better! And that is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of for any cancer survivor.

I hope my themes work better than my resolutions ever did. What about you?  Are you making New Year’s resolutions or goals or themes? Why or why not? If you are comfortable doing so, please share these or any other concerns in the comments.

Have a Happy healthy joyous 2015!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Together we can accomplish anything!
                                                           
   

            

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Posted from WordPress for Android

Sharon Greene December 31, 2014

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67 thoughts on “Making Themes Not Resolutions For 2015

  1. Sharon, I popped over after talking to you at my site. I am now following. You are one strong lady, a true inspiration! Never worry about being open and honest about what you are going through. It is not a weakness to admit you have PTSD, it is a sign of strength and talking about it will help others open up about their problems. Amazing things happen when we show our vulnerability, it puts others at ease and it is the most helpful thing we can do for others. Make them feel safe to share and know they are not alone.
    I hesitated when I started my blog to admit to some of the crazy stuff my ex did but every time I shared something I was ashamed of or embarrassed about, someone would comment, “OMG, that is exactly what happened to me, I thought I was the only one”.
    You are amazing and your kids are blessed with wonder woman for a ,mom, (they were right all along)
    Hugs
    Carrie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Carrie, you are making me blush! The response to my announcement was very positive. I don’t think anyone was very surprised.

      You are very honest and open on your blog and that is why I love reading it. I can relate to so much of what you’ve been through. I guess that is the message you are giving to me too. I have been trying not to self-censor as much as I did in the beginning. When I am my most candid, I get a queasy feeling when I push publish thinking everyone is going to hate me or my ideas. But the feedback has been good so I am taking baby steps to come out of my shell.

      I’m very happy that you are a new subscriber as I’ve admired your blog for many months now.

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      1. When you said your stomach got queasy I had to laugh. I figured out whenever my stomach got queasy when I hit “publish” it always got rave reviews so I stopped editing myself and just started writing from the heart. It was great for my self confidence and self acceptance to pour my heart out and have it understood and accepted. Now, even in my “real” life I don’t candy floss what I am feeling, I still care about not hurting someone’s feelings but I am not afraid to express mine.
        It is very liberating.
        I am flattered you say you admire my blog, it has been one of the best things I have ever done, as much as it has helped others it has given me much more. I don’t know how I would have made it through some days without the people on my blog.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes blogging has been very empowering to me too. I feel heard for the first time in a very long time. I’ve come to realize that I am not the only one around who holds certain opinions that aren’t the ones published in the popular press. Contrary to popular belief, there are many of us who don’t see cancer as some great gift from the universe. Yes, I learned some life lessons but I didn’t need to learn them 4 times.

        So your formula for a hit blog post is the queasier the stomach, the more popular the post? I am going to test that theory out and see just how queasy I can feel when I hit publish! Watch out blog world, things are going to get nauseatingly queasy around here very soon!

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  2. Sharon, I think I may be suffering from PTSD , but not sure. I was diagnosed 5 years ago now, had left mastectomy, chemo and two lots of prolonged reconstruction. I have struggled for a couple of years now with body image issues, flashbacks, anxiety and what I think may be mild depression at times (it comes and goes). Life isn’t the same, I am not the same personally longer, I struggle at times to find enjoyment in life, although I try really hard every day. I so wish my body was like it was pre cancer, the old version of myself was better than the new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only way to know for sure is to seek the professional opinion of a psychiatrist. There are any number of online quizzes you can take that will give you an unofficial opinion as to whether you are exhibiting PTSD symptoms. The benefit of the psychiatric opinion is that they can prescribe medication for your condition and get you into appropriate therapy to treat, rather than just label, your condition.

      Cancer changes you physicaly, emotionaly, and spiritually, and not always for the better. I hear you on the body image issues. I miss my breasts. Then again my reconstruction didn’t turn out all that well so others who have a good cosmetic result may feel differently. Hang in there. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, and having flashbacks, a psychistrist can help with medication and a proper diagnosis. A psychologist or trained counsellor can help you deal with your negative emotions

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  3. I’ve been offline for several weeks and just saw this – I love your approach and your thoughtfulness generally. By coincidence, I’d just been thinking about “blogging resolutions” for 2015 . . . some (most) of them pretty mundane, but there’s some overlap with your themes, particularly the idea of community-building. I’ll be turning over your words as I try to figure out how to be a better, more giving citizen of the blogosphere. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my first time doing theme words instead of resolutions and so far, so good. I hope I can incorporate my themes into my blogging so I am being creative and giving back to the cancer community and to anyone else with an interest in cancer. I am glad to see you online again as I really enjoy your posts.

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  4. I think it’s wonderful that you are intending to find ways to share your story and give back. I’ve found that to be a very rewarding way to share what I’ve learned through my own challenges with depression and anxiety and it has also helped me to develop authentic community online. All the best to you in 2015 as you put your theme words to the forefront!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that idea! Being creative is extremely important for self expression (if you deny your needs for self expression too long, you find imbalances will hit you eventually) and giving is part of the basic human needs, in my opinion! In your post about the winning ticket you highlight the effects it has with both the giver and the receiver ending up feeling happy! I read a couple of your stories this morning and felt I had to suggest to add one more to the two you mentioned that I think could benefit you greatly: Gratitude (for more details what gratitude does for you, check out my post Happy Thanksgiving). It is a great natural stress buster and I know from my personal experiences that stress is the underlying cause of many ailments. Wishing you the best year yet for 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are right. Gratitude is very important but it has been a life lesson I have been slow to learn. It is something I am working on, to slow down and count my blessings and not anxiously obsess about my problems. A post idea is emerging from this in a sort of weird way.

      I hope my theme words will continue to remain strong in my life unlike resolutions that would have been long broken by now. Thanks for all your insightful comments and for reading some of my blog posts!

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      1. Your Welcome! One more little tip: to remember thinking about your intentions, put your words on “post it’s” and put them up where you see them throughout the day, like your mirrors, in the kitchen and even on your toilet door/wall, where you have a moment to reflect on them. As soon as you find yourself not looking at them any more, move them around and/or make fresh ones that catch your eye again. Looking forward to your post!

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  6. Thats’s a great and creative way to take on 2015. I’ve never had resolutions. I live like there’s no tomorrow. For me it’s now or never. I wish you all the best with your selected themes. Happy New Year to you and your family:)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t made resolutions in years. I like your idea of themes and the two you’ve chosen sound like good ones for you. Something for me to consider going forward …

    I’ve read several of your posts and I want to thank you for your honesty and your insight. I’ve done my best to put a positive spin on my cancer experience but I have battled depression in its aftermath and sometimes have a difficult time feeling grateful for “each new day.”

    You’ve reached your goal of having one reader think “I’m not alone in feeling this way.” Me! And it’s only January 3rd!!

    Thank you, Sharon.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know you also have experienced a lot of negative feelings from cancer. I’m happy that my words connected with you. You are not alone in feeling the way you do.

      I have never done theme words before so this is a true work in progress. At least I don’t have any resolutions to break this year! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!

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    1. I am trying to turn my 4 bouts with breast cancer into something creative that gives something that is hopefully helpful to others going through their own cancer battles. I guess the quote really did hit the nail on the head.

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  8. Two strong words you chose as your theme. Giving is something we all should set our minds on doing. Just like you, I stopped making new year resolutions after breaking them some weeks into the previous years. My theme is to be open to others this year, because I’m really a reserved person. This blog will be pretty cool if if the stories get shared.

    wish you a great year too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Giving needs to happen more than just Christmas, mostly to our family and friends. For me, writing this blog is part of the way I want to give something of value (hopefully) to all the cancer patients who have been diagnosed after me so they don’t have to feel the isolation and lonliness I felt after diagnoses and treatment. Life after cancer isn’t like a Hallmark movie for most of us where we have great new insights into life and are grateful for cancer’s gifts. Thank you for your comments and have a wonderful New Year!

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  9. Two strong words you chose as your theme. Just like you, I stopped making new year resolutions after breaking them some weeks into the previous years. My theme is to be open to others this year, because I’m really a reserved person. This blog will be pretty cool if the stories gets shared.

    Wish you a great 2015 too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A brave post. Thank you for sharing about your journey. I just wrote a post recapping my 2014 and sharing about a difficult time for our daughter who now knows she has Complex-PTSD and a chronic illness, which all came to the forefront in this last year. I appreciated reading your post. I’m just stepping out there and being a bit braver by writing my own post this evening about something that’s been so difficult for our family. I’m dropping in from the inspired blogging group. 🙂 Happy New Year to you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing part of your story with me. I hope that if I tell it enough, the bad parts will lose their sting. I’m sorry to hear that your dsughter is ill. I’m glad to hear that you are getting the courage to say things you have held back before. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you come by again. I’ll look for your new post in our blogging group. Happy 2015!

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this Sharon. You have shown incredible strength through your transparency. It is and will continue to be a very positive thing as more and more people such as yourself share.
    Bringing awareness, breaking stigmas, and showing others suffering from PTSD that they are not alone.
    I have no real resolutions starting tomorrow, but did a “life change” 3 weeks ago where I asked my employer to reduce me to a 4 day week. They were very cooperative. I also am a lay pastor at a church part time, so life is extremely busy. Have been getting anxiety attacks when overly stressed, and have a history of depression and suicide on one side of my family.
    Reducing that one day has been so good for my mental health.
    Have a wonderful 20151
    ~Carl~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I don’t feel all that brave most of the time but there are still so many topics we don’t really talk about because of the stigma attached that I am trying to at least start a conversation or 2. That is good that you are now getting an extra day off work. You sound very busy! Have a wonderful 2015!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great idea ~ resolutions are too rigid, and once broken it is kind of depressing. Themes, however, are flexible and will always seem positive. I like this idea and will do the same 🙂
    Create & Strength are good themes for me in ’15. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is disheartening to break a resolution. You feel you have no willpower or will never reach your goal and so you give up entirely. With theme words, there are always work arounds that can get you where you ultimately want to go. “Creative” can mean so many things that it opens the mind to new possibilities instead of limiting it to just one narrow approach.

      You will have to write back to tell us how you are doing with “create and strength”. Happy 2015 to you! May it be your best one yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sharon, what a great idea! Instead of locking oneself down to a specific action, you open up the possibility for success no matter what by adding flexibility to do the possible not hope for the impossible. PTSD should be considered a normal human condition because it is a normal response to trauma. No one is immune and it manifests itself in many ways. We can treat PTSD and recovery depends on the individual, not a formula or calendar. Awareness leads to understanding and from there we can move forward. Wishing you a very positive New Year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I always break specific resolutions but with theme words, you may get the same results in a different way. Maybe the resolution to lose 10 lbs gets broken early if you just think about dieting and counting calories. After a few weeks of feeling guilty for cheating occasionally on your diet, you give up in despair believing you have no willpower. But if you chose “healthier living”, you might pick a less restrictive diet that allows some cheating, an increase in exercise, more fresh air, and more sleep. Even if you only succeed at regularly going for a daily walk, you get exercise, fresh air, and probably better sleep and may find the lbs and inches slowly disappearing.

      I am coming to terms with my PTSD diagnosis. I have experienced a lot of trauma in my life, not just breast cancer. I have long suspected PTSD but it was never even suggested as a possible diagnosis until I finally raised it as an explanation to my chronic depression and anxiety. The psychiatrist asked me a bunch of questions from her checksheet and lo and behold, I scored very high for PTSD. Even though I thought this could be the problem, it didn’t seem real until a professional actually diagnosed me.

      Thank you so much for your perceptive and helpful comments! Have a wonderful 2015!

      Liked by 1 person

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