The Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah has been on my mind since I watched it in its entirety on Friday night. A great character study for an actor. Armstrong’s mannerisms and physicalities said more than the stuttered and staggered words that fell from his lips. The one word that kept replaying in my mind is denial.
Denial is tough place to live. One lives in a constant lie and the manufacturing of those “truths” becomes difficult and exhausting to maintain. You become defensive, sensitive to criticism, secretive. You change your habits and routines. You become cranky, irritable, agitated. The psychological manifests to the physical. You are in the funnel. You can’t escape the tornado.
When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis six years ago, I was in complete denial. I refused to accept my diagnosis and chose unhealthy avenues to deal with it. I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t talk about it. It was as if it wasn’t happening to me at all. As a result of my choice to neglect my condition, I started to feel emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. My body felt like it was falling apart. I was in complete despair. Watching Lance’s depositions where he was lying triggered some of the same feelings I went through at that time. Granted I was not in the Tour de France but I was on my own personal journey. Once I conceded to the truth and finally let go, I clearly addressed and accepted my condition.
Acceptance means a few things to me: to stop fighting the truth; to not get in my way to manipulate; and to really just let it be.
I hope that Lance can find that acceptance and not let his ego get the best of him. He helped many cancer survivors and is a role model. It’s sad that his whole career is tarnished due to an act in which he denied. But who am I to judge. I proudly donned my crown as queen of Denial.