TMAS (Too Much Attention Syndrome)… The flip side of going public



During the first few days of my diagnosis, when only Super Bro, 2 of my best (and doctor) friends who went to my appointments with me and I, knew about my cancer, I was dodging calls, ignoring people I loved and did all I could to stay positive and upbeat when in their presence.  Nothing prepares you for having to tell the people who love you most in the world, that the doctors think you’ll probably be dead within a year.  A few knew there was something wrong when I was sent home from tour but most people didn’t, since I didn’t have the space, physically nor mentally, to tell them.  Then I told my dad, my sister and mother and watched as their worlds fell apart and I wondered where I could find the strength and time to break the news to each of my friends who I held so close to my heart, re-live the story over and over again, watch their faces and hear the pain in their silence as they understood what I was telling them.  So I sent a mass email, still the one thing I wish I hadn’t had to do, yet the only thing I could, given the surreal version of my new, overwhelming reality.  In it, I told them


“As most of you know, writing is my therapy and whilst it’s not really my thing, I will be starting a blog to help me through this, to keep you all informed and hopefully be a source of comfort/support/information for anyone else going through something similar… Feel free to deal with this however you want/need to, you’re part of this too now. It needn’t be a secret. In fact I would prefer that people know so that we can all just get this stage over with and get this shit show on the road.”


… and with that I felt freedom, not just for myself but for everyone else because I have long been a fan of honesty and know only too well, the dangers of keeping the truth buried inside.


Since then I have enjoyed many of the benefits of sharing my story so publicly; the extended family and friendship it has created, the freedom of sharing how I feel and the inspiration it has meant for others who need it but then suddenly it all got a bit too much for me and I checked out.


By nature, I am a warm and sociable person but I am also very shy.  I have never been one to enjoy the spotlight, always being behind the lens rather than in front of it, and so have been caught off guard with all the attention I have been receiving.  Suddenly everyone wants to visit me, everyone has beautiful words to say about me, my phone remains full with messages and my inbox with emails, both beautiful and haunting.  Suddenly everyone thinks I am an inspiration, friends are leaving their jobs as they fear not living their true purposes and I’m the new guru in town, the vessel through which valuable lessons are being learnt.  I don’t mean to belittle the sincerity of any of this, the happiness this has brought me and the gratitude I feel for such friendship, but now I find myself in a position I am not comfortable in as I feel myself drift more towards fulfilling people’s expectations rather than honoring my purpose for sharing in the first place.


When I made the decision to share my story, it was with the sole intention of finding liberation through honesty, of allowing myself the freedom to be and allowing those I loved to share in my story, without the burden of keeping my secret.  What I did not necessarily want nor anticipate, is how far an audience it would reach and how people now look to me for insight, positivity in the face of adversity and inspiration.  You see, the truth is, whilst I am and have always been honest in everything I have posted thus far, I have been really down lately and have withdrawn from social media and even my friends to some extent, because of the pressure I have been feeling to remain positive for them and it is only I that I blame for this feeling of entrapment.


Yes I am a positive person and yes I do count my blessings everyday but I am also human and the truth is, I am scared, not so much of dying but of leaving those I love behind to pick up the pieces.  I have nightmares about it frequently, my sleep often peppered with dreams I want to wake from.  The truth is, messages from people I don’t even know, like this one, stay heavy on my heart and never escape my memory.  The truth is, through my own determination to ease the pain, I feel the pressure to stay positive so that those I love can stay positive too and forget the possibility that they may lose me.  The truth is, I don’t like so much fuss being made of me.  The truth is, I have long been a ‘people manager’, where others’ emotions and needs matter more than my own and all it has ever resulted in, is sadness and frustration.  The truth is, the self-imposed pressure of needing to be too much to too many people, has left me exhausted and I don’t want to do it anymore.  If cancer is, as I believe it is, a gift to me, I want to accept that gift and let go of that which does not serve me.


So with these admissions of truths, comes a lesson (re)learnt…

To accept my whole self as I accept others and be as compassionate towards myself as I am towards them, as accepting reality leads to change that denial never can.


#PermissionToBeMe #JustBe #Balance #IAmHuman #BeGoodToYourself #Acceptance #HighsAndLows #PleaseDontSendMeShitLikeThis #OnlyTheWholeTruthFromNowOn #ThisWritingIsForMe #Truth #TeamSlugSlayer #Blessed #NeverForgetToSayThankYou #ThankYou

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3 thoughts on “TMAS (Too Much Attention Syndrome)… The flip side of going public

  1. Kwiz says:

    Peace, love, understanding, and continued blessings to you Yosra!

  2. Nicole says:

    I was diagnosed on 3.27.13 & I really understand where you’re coming from. I too, am a positive person & full of faith. I never intended to be such an inspiration as I battled this disease. It’s horrible to live each day sick & in pain. I have my good & bad days. I don’t think anyone understands unless they gone through it. My support system is strong, but I have a few friends that really help me because they are going through this reality with me. We can talk about our fears & side effects…how we hate the hot flashes from chemo & cry to each other about missing our hair & how unfair it is….I pray you have a support system of ladies that have faced the same battle. You so need it!! If you don’t I would so be there for you!! I went through a left masectomy (and 14 lymph nodes removed), 6 months of Chemo, & now I’m in Radiation. I was stage 3A…and from day one I knew I was going to kick cancers ass! I’m a true fighter, but this fight take more then me alone. God is my strength, it’s far too hard for alone. Friend, family, my medical team, church member & even strangers have all played a part in my faith & strength. I pray for your health to be renewed 100%!! I pray for peace & joy to fill your heart during this difficult time. I pray you never give up! My motto is: Fight! Pray! Win! Phil 4:13 I’ve got your back girl! I believe in you:) Nicole

  3. Ray Black says:

    The moment @yesladypheonix referred me to your story, I have been glued to your instagrarm and blog! I even saw the video, “We’re with you Yosra.” It is something about reading your story that I can identify with, and I am referring to life, pre-cancer. Your process through this journey is, likewise, inspiring, invigorating, and enlightening. I believe that after hearing your energy through the video that gave me the energy to immediately inspire my fellow IG Sistas or Sista-Warriors. Truth is that I have been worried about some of them b/c one reason or another, and after a while, I have struggled in finding the energy to uplift through words b/c what is consuming me is worry or frustration for them. But your blog/post have helped me immediately pass the energy or positive vibration to them. Thank you for that. I will continue reading. I hope that you would consider publishing a book. Your voice is truly an authentic piece to what is missing when discussing women and cancer, but is often missed in the haze of the crazy that surrounds us. Truly elated that you have decided to share your healing process with us. Keep up the fight, love, and healing. And continue to let your light and beauty shine in words and through your photos!

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