I lie in the hospital bed, electrodes taped all over my chest. Wires protrude under my gown, connected to a heart monitor that lets out an occasional alarm. My right arm stings from a fresh IV while my left arm is squeezed by a blood pressure cuff til my fingers go numb. My chest hurts, like an elephant is sitting on me. I’m exhausted.
This is nothing new.
The doctors throw words around like bifisintricular heart block, mid-systolic click, mitral valve prolapse. My heart beats to a syncopated rhythm, like Coltrane’s sax.
The palpitations come and go, along with the chest pain, dizziness, and fainting. It’s been a while since I’ve had symptoms. But now I’m on psyche meds to treat other issues, and my heart doesn’t want to play.
Because healing a broken heart takes more than time. You can’t put a band-aid on it and hope for the best. Sometimes the wounds run so deep you bleed out into every aspect of your life. A trip to the grocery store becomes a confusing maze of bodies and carts and blinding fluorescent lights. There are days when leaving the house feels impossible. When the tasks of just being mom are as monumental as scaling Everest. Not to mention, the entirety of the 2018 new cycle has been one triggering story after the next.
Depression. Anxiety. PTSD. Repressed memories itching to be let out. Can emotional trauma physically break a heart?
There is an utter and complete helplessness that takes hold when you’re on a hospital bed in the ER, hooked to a dozen machines. Your body is failing, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are at the mercy of your faulty heart, and the doctors that are trying to save it.
So much of my life has been lived at the mercy of other’s hands. Some gentle, some harsh, as they leave their marks. Some leave scars that never heal right. And I feel small, helpless, and afraid.
So I’ve sought out control in the little things. What I wear. How my things are organized, or not. Which route to take to school or work. How much I eat, or don’t.
But what happens when I’m sidelined with heart issues? Or my PTSD rears it’s ugly head until all control slips through my fingers and I lose myself in the bottom of a bottle? I like to pretend I have control, but I’m nothing more than a seed blown by the wind.
So I search for healing. Mentally, physically, spiritually. I let myself be planted. Dirt piles up on me, but I dig deeper, searching out my core trauma, those memories that freeze my body but remain just out of grasp. As my roots spread out in the dark damp soil, I breathe in new life. New hope. My life is my own, and I don’t have to be at the mercy of others. I am not a play-thing to be tossed aside. I am not my traumas. I am here. I am Woman. I am worthy.
My heart may never be perfect, but my soul will become whole.