After getting cancer, I totally understand Walter White, the teacher turned drug kingpin in the amazing show, Breaking Bad. If you have no idea what the show is about (possibly spoiler), a brilliant but bland high school chemistry teacher snapped learning he had terminal lung cancer and decided to create amazing meth in order to leave his family a fortune. In the process, he becomes this badass drug lord who leaves hundreds murdered and his family shattered in his wake.
I get Walter now. I do. Not the committing crimes part, but the letting go of people pleasing and worrying so much about what others think part. I get the part where you become more direct, blunt and fearless.
Where I part ways with Walter is the cold-blooded lack of empathy or compassion he seems to get for nearly everyone, even many in his own family. He kills people. Lots of people, without batting eye and with no remorse. Kids, women, fast food managers, whatever. The show almost implies that dropping toxic personal habits like people pleasing also means not caring about anyone anymore with either.
As for me, and so many cancer patients and survivors I know, it's like my empathy for others has gone through the roof. I'm much more sensitive to what other people are experiencing. My practice as a therapist has gotten so much better, so much more authentic. Just looking at someone crying can make me cry.
This is a good change. A weird change for me, but a good one.
While the idea of running a cut-throat drug operation certainly seems cool, I can't even bring myself to kill a spider, much less a fast food manager.