The Walrus and the Carpenter finagling the Oysters, as illustrated by John Tenniel.*
"To talk of many things." Not shoes, ships or sealing wax, but things I've avoided long enough.
Do you ever get the feeling that the entire world handles life better than you, and it would just seem incredibly abnormal to admit that you're having issues? I know we all have stress, and I'm not the only one to be affected by it, but still. When it's happening, it kind of seems like the rest of the world can't possibly be that well medicated, and that I must be one of the few faulty models that desperately needs to be recalled.
When I was eleven I started having episodes where my heart would feel like it was going to beat out of my chest. Sometimes it would happen when I was running around playing, other times it would happen when I was lying down. It didn't really seem to matter what I was doing, my heart would just spaz the heck out. On several occasions I told my mother, and once I even went to a gym teacher. Both trusted adults felt my heart, and responded by having me go lie down. Sound advice, no? So that's how I dealt with it...for the next 16 years.
In my teens it seemed to happen less, but still regularly. It became more frequent after I started college, and having learned about panic attacks, I self-diagnosed. I assumed my racing/pounding heart was just a stress related thingamawhatsit, and I got used to it. I'd scramble to find a secluded place to lie down until it passed, and try stealthily to go unnoticed.
Deep down, I think I felt responsible for my stressful past. Why else would I feel embarrassed for being emotionally, verbally and sexually abused, or witnessing my mom withstand verbal and physical abuse? There are a lot of terrible things that I always tried to hide, and I can see no other logical explanation. I was ashamed. I'm not anymore.
I have no reason to cover up the things that plagued my childhood, the fact that I was sexually abused for a span of about five years, the mean things my mom's boyfriend would yell at her, or the lies he'd whisper under his breath to me about my dad, how it terrified me when we'd try to leave and he'd chase us in his truck, how scared I was when he'd hit my mom, yank her around and throw things at her, how I'd hide under my bed with my dog, crying and praying for him to drop dead. I can talk about how every Easter, I'm reminded of waking up to him in my closet, slicing up my Easter dress, (I still don't know why he did that.), or how old rotary phones remind me of him crawling under the house to cut the phone lines before coming in to start an argument.
Everyday there's something to remind me, and there isn't a single reason on God's great green Earth for me to feel ashamed. None of it was my fault. I didn't choose any of that for myself, and it's a huge factor in the equation that is ME. I'm balancing out quite nicely, thank you very much, and am incredibly thankful.
As an intelligent adult, I realize what a wonder it is that I'm functional at all, and I'm blessed that things weren't worse than they were, that I learned from others' mistakes and that I have a happy marriage and healthy relationships. Still, no matter how much I vent, no matter how tightly I wrench that positive twist into it, I have nightmares, an occasional racing heart, constant reminders of a less than pleasant past and huge people-pleasing issues. I don't know if I'll ever get those monsters stomped out, but I know telling people where they hide makes them less likely to rear their ugly heads.
Alllllllll that being said, I took my fluttery, spastic heart to the doctor's office with me a few weeks ago. I shared what it was doing, and how long it'd been doing it and the next thing I knew I was getting a very frigid, very gooey echocardiogram and wearing a heart monitor. Turns out, there's nothing structurally wrong with the old ticker, no blockages or anything like that. I have an arrhythmia that allows my heart to be, well, bipolar. It goes from beating 70 beats per minute to beating 130 times a minute when I'm sleeping. It jumps up even higher when I get stressed during waking hours.
Needless to say, that's not good for me, so I'm on a medication to keep that rate steady. It seems to be working, and I'm feeling pretty good! I do hate taking meds, though. This is the only one I'm on, but I still hope to battle this arrhythmia with super human good health, so I can stop taking it.
Aaaaand speaking of good healthy things to do, venting is a must. I suppose I don't really need to tell a bunch of bloggers that, but maybe I do. It's been a while since I've talked about my past here on the old blog, or anywhere. It takes a lot of energy, and I often times feel like a big downer, but it turns out that it's something I need to let out now and again. Maybe you should, too.
I don't know what "many things" you might be hiding away, but I can pretty much promise you that it's a good idea to let it out. Don't let it fester and rot. Tell someone. Talk to God, tell a friend, or call your mom. Me? I plaster my depressing slop all over the interwebs. Well, not all over, just here. Point being, it's nothing to be ashamed of and you don't have to hide it.