For a variety of reasons I’ve been working a lot the past two weeks. I should quantify this: a lot for me.
I love working. I love projects, being around people, feeling productive, not laying in bed. Despite the fact that I know better, I still volunteer for much more than I can handle physically.
This week I lost my balance. Literally.
The 1st time was Monday night. I went to let my cat out and ended up in a heap on the landing of my front door. I went to urgent care, not because I was concerned about why I had fallen, but because I knew I needed stitches (12) and I was concerned that I might have fractured my foot or back, both of which hurt and quickly bruised and swelled. It wasn’t until the Dr. started quizzing me regarding my fall that I realized I had passed out. He asked me to describe the fall and I said “I was letting the cat out and I fell”. If you are a medical person you are already hearing the issue – where were the details? As he questioned me I realized that I remembered picking up my foot to put it on the 1st stair, then laying on the floor feeling back & foot pain, and eyeing a gash in my arm. (I’ll attach pics if you like gross pictures).
He gave me a choice – call someone to take me to the ER or go in an ambulance. In retrospect, I wish I’d chosen the ambulance. I am always wracked with guilt when my loved ones are sitting, for hours, waiting for me to be taken care of, as were my son and his GF that night.
Eventually my bloodwork, an EKG and neurological exam ruled out heart and brain related issues, the Dr decided I was dehydrated and gave me iv hydration. I had been sick during the weekend, so it made sense to me. It was now 11PM and, knowing they had to work the next day, I sent my loved ones home. After being stitched I took an Uber back to the urgent care and drove home, arriving at 2AM. Ugh.
I accepted the Dr’s explanation and went into work the next day to attend our weekly meeting. I was happy I attended, because one of the fund raising initiatives I’d been working on was given to the owner. Our staff had all contributed and raised $340. With that I was to purchase local restaurant gift cards to make sure she and her family were eating and getting out. I love projects like this, especially when I’m able to turn $340 into over $1200 worth of Gift Cards! Every single restaurant matched our purchase, and many gave us gift cards for free. These are the projects that restore my faith in humanity.
By the time I got home I was feeling it. There was no way I could put dinner on the table for my son and I and, even as I write this, I’m not sure what, if anything, I ate that night. I was in bed early and tried to sleep, which was hampered by the pain of various body parts every time I moved.
The real wakeup call came Wednesday. I slept in and, around 8AM got out of bed to go get my morning coffee. I don’t know why I refuse to accept my limitations and take such chances with my body, but I do. I made it out of my bedroom and to the top of the stairs and down I went. Fortunately I stopped myself on the 3rd stair, where I layed and cried.
My body is now like a game of twister. My left foot & ankle are swollen, the right side of my mid back is bruised and swollen, my right arm has 12 stitches and my left butt is one huge, painful bruise. (Again – pics if you like gross stuff) Last night I slept at most 3 hours, each move waking me with a healthy dose of pain.
I’m not sure why I’m writing about this, because I know me. I know that this is no more a wake-up call for me than any of the other hundreds of times my body has shouted “STOP”. I guess I’m writing it for any of you who’ve been emotionally abused and might hear my wake-up call.
Emotional abuse is invisible, but the damage is real. The damage to each body is partialy determined by genetics, but damage is inescapable. There is an undeniable connection between our brain and our body, our soul and our body, our spirit and our body.
If you are at all like me you are currently thinking “bullshit”.
I think I’ve figured out why we think this is bullshit. The way most people approach the connection between body, soul, spirit and mind boarders on cartoonish. Healthy people love to look at people like me and say “this is emotional, you need to take care of yourself, it’s in your head”. All of this is true, to a certain extent, but not in the way laypeople think.
There is a very complex interaction between the synapses of our brain, which influences our immune and hormonal systems, which then makes us prone to good or bad health. It is not a reflection of character, which is what I always heard when I was lectured about “reducing stress” to restore my health.
To be clear – if you are being emotionally abused and are physically suffering, you are not lacking in moral character. You are not “less than” others. You are not weak, lame, crazy or a hypochondriac. The reason you think these things is because your abuser has implanted these ideas in your head. The constant barrage of messages about your failures, your “weaknesses”, your failures of character, change the process in your brain, which then influences your physical body.
This is Real. This will not Stop. If you remain in an abusive situation you will end up with permanent physical limitations, as I do. And those will be real. And you will hate them. You will listen to all of those messages and feel lazy, weak, crazy, lame and simply less than.
None of which it true. All of which might kill you.
Get Out. Now.
(scroll down if you like gross pics. #1 cut when it 1st happened, #2 3 hours later, #3 stitched cut, #4 bruised butt – sorry, just too big not to show)
Do Not scroll down if you don’t enjoy gross pictures!!