Friday 24 November 2017

'I don't really know who I am any more'

In week six of her Cancer Diaries, Emily Hourican discovers the difficulty of being yourself when all around you has changed

Writer: Emily Hourican
Writer: Emily Hourican

Emily Hourican

I don't really know who I am any more. Most of the things I thought I was seem to have been the result of the things I did - my job as a journalist, my writing of books, my role as a mother, as a wife and daughter, sister and friend. Now that I have parked most of those things, leaving them to sit on the sidelines for the next while, paring back the non-essentials - which seems to include just about everything that isn't eating and going in and out of hospital - I'm not sure who the person left over is.

I have abdicated so many of the things I used to do - I haven't been to the supermarket in weeks, I didn't take the kids to school on their first morning back, I don't cook or do much cleaning up, I don't go out much except to walk or for the odd run, I read a lot and I write a little, and then weariness sets in. It's not even that I am especially tired; it's more that I lack purpose, direction. I'm always waiting to go into hospital.

It's a weird feeling. And it makes the days very, very long. Even though I am going to bed earlier than before, sometimes even disappearing off for an hour's nap in the middle of the day, there still seems to be an awful lot of the day left in which to wander around the house, without any clear focus, picking things up and putting them down, wondering do I have the energy to clear away the Christmas cards, until eventually I give up and pitch up on the sofa, in front of the TV, watching shows about antiques that I have never seen before.

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