The Cancer Caregiver’s Conniption-Fit Corrective!

Conniption fit

1) A conniption fit is a spontaneous outburst of anger or frustration, usually precipitated by an act of stupidity or neglect. Wild animation, gesticulations, and flailing of limbs often accompanies said outburst, adding visual flavor to the experience.

2   synonyms:

3    Hissy fit, miff, tantrum, huff

Well there you have it. And FYI, I massaged the above “definition” a bit with just the right verbiage to capture the essence of the caregiver’s plight.

-Warning memorandum inserted here-

Absolutely do NOT—ever—throw a CF in the presence of your loved one who’s fighting cancer. They might just get jealous!

If necessary, go outside where no one can see you. A backyard with a privacy fence is an excellent place. That way, you partially hide the fact that you look like a maniac to witnesses (which you would). Neighbors passing by will only be able to see your arms flailing around, or get a glimpse of you pacing or running back and forth while mumbling or outright yelling to yourself. But think positively: They may think a bee is chasing you!

Now, please, please, please don’t get me wrong. In NO way am I implying that being a caregiver to a loved one diagnosed with cancer causes these emotional outbursts. It’s the stress of the circumstances that does.

The maddening and disquieting thoughts that enter the most distant part of the brain—thoughts you wish would lay dormant or stagnant—rise to the top. These thoughts can come anytime, while at doctors’ visits, during dinner, in the shower—heck, while you’re sleeping! They always seem to be there lurking, and don’t want to go away.

You just learn to live with them as you learn to compartmentalize your brain. Say to yourself, “I’m just not going to think about this right now,” and you neatly put it back in its place. Hah! In your dreams. Who am I kidding? These moods just come and go as they please.

At times, your emotions are so intertwined with a cancer diagnosis that it builds and builds within you until all the emotions you’re feeling come pouring out. And trust me when I tell you, they will come out sooner or later, and better that they do. Because they need to.

We caregivers and cancer fighters belong to a unique society, and we need to band together. So, the next time you feel a meltdown a’comin’, go outside, do some stretches, and release your “Inner Conniptor”!

Embrace that good ol’-time stress reliever, complete with, yes, hair-yankin’, voice-raisin’ and foot-stompin’—all of which will indeed add “visual flavor to the experience.”

And if despite your best efforts to hide your “episodes,” your loved one happens by and sees this gesticulation detonation in full bloom, they’ll no doubt understand. Who knows? They may even want to get in on the action!