A few weeks ago I decided that my life needed to change. I knew I would have to break away from this life I had built in order to find what makes me happy. What I didn’t know was how fractured emotionally this would make me. What I hadn’t considered was how on edge I already was. What I didn’t think about was the timing of all this.
When you have that moment of
you don’t stop to think about the details. You just put on your big girl panties and start to change things. So, I closed up the business I had started. I’m selling what I don’t need and packing the rest away.
This process is emotional. Not because it’s hard or incredibly sad. Because saying goodbye to a life, even a life I know I don’t want, is a difficult thing. I have started to question everything about my life. I question the people in my life. I question the things I have. I question the things I do. I’m trying to figure out where everything fits into this new life that I have yet to build. I wonder if I can even answer these questions when I don’t even know what my life is going to look like. I wonder how I will find the answers when I have no idea where this path will lead me.
Of course life still happens around me. I don’t get to do this amazing, life changing thing in a bubble. Appointments have to be kept and things have to get done. One of those things is a thyroid biopsy.
I’ve had a number of medical procedures in my life so I didn’t put much thought into this one. Not because I was arrogant or knowledgeable about what would happen. I was blissfully ignorant of what was involved and happy to keep it that way.
This will be simple. It’s a needle biopsy, how bad can it be? You have four tattoos and have never had an issue with needles. Hell, you love getting fillings at the dentist for crying out loud: you got this!
Clearly my inner voice is direct.
This whole time in the back of my mind a million images flash before my eyes.
Thanks Google. I try to push the thoughts out of my head.
The nurse walked into the room for the biopsy and tells me I can’t move during the procedure. I’m not allowed to swallow and most of all “Keep your arms at your sides because we use your body as a table.”
Remember to breathe. Don’t move. Don’t swallow. I make a mental note.
The doctor enters and advises me that the first few needles will pinch until the local anesthetic tasks effect.
Okay Deep Breath. You got this!
Pinch was not the right word. What the doctor should have said was…….
This is going to feel like I am shoving a knife in your throat, over and over and over. You will have no ability to swallow because you’ll be unable to breathe. Oh and by the way, you will be able to feel the pressure of the anesthetic being injected while I do this in about 10 different places.
I figure this is why they book you in at 8am. There is nobody around to hear you scream.
For me the first few hours I’m awake I tend to be extremely emotional/irritable. I refer to myself as ‘Not a morning person’ when asked. I know I wear my emotions fairly close to the surface. That’s just who I am. I love with my whole heart, unconditionally. My soul aches when I see people hurt. I know that my emotional cup is always just a few drops from overflowing. What I had not realized was after the first needle; I would instantly be so overcome by the physical pain and that my emotional cup would shatter into a million pieces.
I clenched my teeth.
I squeezed my eyes shut and just kept repeating to myself Don’t move. Don’t swallow. Breathe!
It wasn’t helping. As I grit my teeth and clench my jaw, tears squeeze out of the corners of my eyes and dripped down the side of my face.
He’s almost done. I tell myself over and over again. I’m wrong of course. We haven’t even started the biopsy. All he has done is put in the anesthetic.
He stops poking my neck and I breathe a sigh of relief.
Good now he only needs to stick a needle in and take a sample. I can do this! At this point I shouldn’t be listening to my inner voice because as it turns out I was wrong. It’s not a simple one needle in; take a sample and your done kind of procedure. There would be multiple needles and multiple samples. In fact, three slides and a half full medical cup of liquid was what he took.
As he was driving the needles in over and over again I could feel my chin quivering. All I could think was Don’t cry. Hold it in. It has to be almost over. One more needle and he will be done.
I was so focused on trying to hold in my emotions that 30 minutes later when he was finished I didn’t notice. It wasn’t until he squeezed my arm and said, “You did a great job…” that my brain registered it was over.
In that moment the I was overcome by emotion and I started to sob.
I have no idea what else he said to me. I was vaguely aware he had moved away from the table I was lying on. This had been the most physically painful thing I had ever been through. I have a very high pain tolerance so this should have been easy for me. It was anything but…………This broke me.
I took a few deep breaths; it was over. The doctor came back over, touched my arm and repeated “You did a great job.” then left the room with the nurse. As the door clicked shut behind them the the floodgates burst. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
I didn’t think I had done a great job at all. Quite the opposite actually, I felt like I had failed at being an adult. Adults don’t cry in doctors’ offices. Adults deal with pain and move on. Only children cry at the doctor.
What the F#&* was wrong with me?
It was over.
No more needles.
Why couldn’t I control this? I’m normally great at keeping the lid on my emotions in public.
Why was this so difficult?
That’s when it hit me. I am living so close to my ’emotional edge’ right now that my soul just can’t take anything more.
“…Emotion becomes so intense your body just can’t contain it. Your feelings become too powerful… your soul weeps.”
My soul was weeping.
I’m uprooting my life and have no idea where I’ll go. I’m giving up a life I have made (because I no longer want it) and walking into the unknown. I do this willingly with an open heart because I know it’s the right thing for me. I understand that I made this choice. I understand that this is something I need to do. That doesn’t make it any easier. It doesn’t make it hurt less. It doesn’t stop this from being an intense emotional experience. Walking away from a life, even when you make the conscious choice to do so, is still a very raw, emotional thing.
I realized at that moment, I simply couldn’t handle physical pain. My body was already overwhelmed with emotion and the physical pain was too much. My soul couldn’t deal with anything extra. I left the doctor’s office and made it to the car before I had a complete emotional breakdown. For the first time in my life I couldn’t keep the lid on my emotions.
This biopsy could be a metaphor for my life right now. I’ve poked dozens of needles into something that on the outside looks fine. Inside however, there was a lump of unhappiness growing below the surface. My life is now a battered and bruised version of what it was a few weeks ago. How I feel on the inside, is now reflected on my body outside. I am a black and blue pincushion. My life is a black and blue pincushion. This life, much like my body, is broken and bruised. It needs to be in order for me to move on. I realize that now.
As is the case when I am emotionally drained; all I wanted was a peppermint tea. I needed it to sooth my soul and catch my breath. Tea for me is like an electrical outlet; I plug myself into a good cup of tea and my body resets. So as I sat breathing in the soothing and familiar scent of peppermint my brain began to slow.
I don’t know what the lesson is for all this physical pain. I still have to figure out that part. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe this was just the universes way of forcing me to empty my emotional cup. Maybe it was time for me feel some physical pain so I knew I had a limit. I honestly don’t know.
All I know is the emotional lesson was clear. I need to learn to allow myself to be raw. I need to learn to bleed emotionally. I need to allow my body & my soul to feel what’s going on in my life. I need to cry. I need to get angry. Ultimately I need to learn that my feelings have validity.
Yesterday the universe was right. What I needed most was a good cry and a peppermint tea.