I’m really bad at feelings. In fact most of the time I tell people “I don’t do feelings.” The irony, I know. After 5 years of dealing with a chronic illness you would think that I have felt so many different things, and I would be a master at them, but the fact is I’m anything but that. Part of that is my fault you’re right, but I do blame a handful of doctors and medical professionals for the other part.
You see the thing is that for six months I was told by a handful of medical professionals that the things I was feeling inside MY OWN BODY, the symptoms I was experiencing, they were all in my head. They weren’t actually real. And I know your response to that is “oh who cares what they said, they were wrong”. But at that time, that’s all I had to go on, and as much as it killed me, I started to believe them, and question if maybe they were actually right. Maybe it really was truly all in my head. Maybe I was causing all of this.
I’m not sure why, but the other day I had a flashback to one of the worst experiences of this entire journey. We were in the E.R. one night, and by we I mean my mom and I, it had become a second home to us really, but not a friendly inviting one. We were dealing with the same stuff over and over, and just hoping that for once maybe this time, we would find the answers. My body was so weak at this point, as we were close to 5 months out from my accident and still hadn’t gotten any solid answers. So as we waited for tests and lab results I needed to use the restroom, which was down the hall. My nurse assisted me, and due to the fact that I was a fall risk had to stand outside the bathroom and watch me to make sure I was okay. (I must preface the next thing by saying that over the course of five months I had become pretty good at understanding my own body, and knowing what the different feelings alluded to, the most common being dizziness. My mom and I had worked out a plan that whenever I felt even the slightest bit dizzy I was to sit down, and then lay on the floor, that way should I pass out I was less likely to hit my head, or at least fall as hard. Of course this wasn’t always convenient, and I often looked crazy, but with no answers we had to figure out a way to do things on our own. Going to the bathroom was always one of the hardest things for me back then because it was a lot of changing in positions in a short amount of time. It meant getting up from where I was, walking, sitting down, standing back up, and walking again. It was extremely common that somewhere along the process I would pass out. I became all too familiar with using the bathroom in the company of someone else, I know right real awkward as a teenage girl.) So nonetheless that night as the nurse took me to the bathroom, I felt the wave of dizziness wash over, and I sat down right there on the bathroom floor. I didn’t make it all the way to laying down before I passed out. I awoke to a nurse that was strongly sternal rubbing me, and then proceeded to tell me to stand up and stop joking around. It was beyond my comprehension how she possibly came to the conclusion that I was joking around and faking. I am not sure how she got me back to my room but I do remember that once she did she proceeded to tell my mom that she watched me fake pass out in the bathroom, and that she watched me sit down on the floor and then lay down there. At this point I couldn’t really control my emotions anymore. I was frustrated and fed up.My mom tried to explain to the nurse who had proceeded to inform the doctor that I was faking, that I was not faking and that this was something we had worked out for my own safety, since nobody else was helping us. I didn’t feel good and I was tired of being disregarded and skipped over. I wanted to go home as nobody there was clearly doing anything to help, nor were they listening. I don’t remember much more of that night other than the fact that my mom ended up signing me out and taking me home.
I don’t do feelings.
And it’s not because I don’t feel them, because I do, stronger than most people probably. But for so long I got used to being told that my feelings were wrong, and that they weren’t real. And even though I have the answers now, and I know that my feelings were valid, and real then, I still struggle.
I struggle with feeling things. My first response is to push things away, to avoid them. And then I have to remind myself that I am human, I am not a robot, and it is okay to feel things. In fact I can feel whatever the heck I want to, and nobody can tell me that I’m wrong, or that my feelings aren’t valid, because I am human. We are all human. It is in our nature to feel things. It is normal, IT IS HUMAN.
Nobody should ever have the authority to tell someone else what they can, or cannot feel with their own body.
I am working on my feelings.
I am learning to remind myself every day that it is okay to feel whatever I am feeling. And for now that usually means me going weeks without crying until I randomly in the middle of nowhere lose it. I keep it in until I can’t keep it in anymore and then I word vomit and all the words, and thoughts, and feelings come out in one giant mess that makes no sense to anybody but me. But I am working on it, I am learning to feel them as they come. But after shoving the feelings aside for so long, and telling myself I was stronger than them, I am proud.
Because I am human.
Because I deserve to feel everything I have ever felt.
I know that now.