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When your body is trying to tell you something, LISTEN.

February 21, 2011

On Thursday I had a sinking feeling of dread and darkness.
On Friday night, while out with friends, I had a panic attack and had to take medicine to prevent fainting/throwing up/all of that good stuff.
Yesterday, I had a headache by the evening.
Yesterday night I couldn’t fall asleep because too many thoughts and emotions were swarming around.
And this morning, I woke up so dizzy I’ve barely gotten off the couch all day.

Now, given that I work with kids nearly every day of the week, and that there are crazy amounts of germs circulating around, I very well could be fighting something off. But I’m willing to bet that at least part of my waking up today feeling sick is due to me being a Super Expert at Avoiding Things. So, it is time to listen to what my body is trying to tell me: “Amelia, there are things going on. You need to face what you’re thinking about. Talk about your worries. Acknowledge your emotions and fears. Yes, they ARE important. They’re not insignificant.”

Alright, then.

I’m having intense fears of being abandoned, about being left behind.

I’ve been washing/purell-ing my hands so much lately that they’re dry and red and raw

So many of the kids that I’m working with have such awful things going on in their lives, or at home…and I can’t separate that pain from my own, can’t stop it from consuming me. I don’t know how. Or maybe I just don’t remember.

In a meeting the other day, all of the specialists and teachers sat around discussing each child who is struggling, talking about what we can each do to help, voicing emotions about how hard it is for us to see them suffer. Everyone cried, and that was okay. And I felt overwhelmed at how dedicated all of these professionals were to helping their students. But I also felt angry. And envious. How come, when I was 12 and 13, the teachers didn’t sit around and discuss me? How come they didn’t see that I was suffering, and put in systems to help me? I know things were different back then. And I do know that in 8th grade, my teachers DID sit around and talk to me. That happens when you have a student who leaves class to go cry in the bathroom and scratch her arm with an earring, who writes sad poetry and doesn’t bother to hide it, who makes it clear that she thinks she’s fat. And that espcially happens when that same student is confided in, by student #2, that student #2’s brother has been raping her every night since she was little. And then when this student is the only one that student #2 will talk to, for whatever reason, it’s up to this student, at age 13, to figure out what to do. So this student tells her teachers, who she trusts. And goes with her teachers, and student #2, to the guidance counselor. To the social workers. To all of the meetings.  And this student follows student #2 out of class when she’s crying, and holds her hand and gives her hugs, and whispers words of comfort, but really, she’s only 12. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. This student doesn’t tell her parents what’s going on. Or her friends. Just the teachers and all the professionals know. And then student #2 realizes that this student told, and stops talking to her. And one day student #2 comes in with a deep cut on her arm and says, “This is because you told.” So yeah, between all of that, the teachers talk about this student. They do. And they help her, they give her a break when she cries, they let her eat lunch with them when she’s too overwhelmed to join her friends in the cafeteria, and they email her after school during the afternoons and evenings when this student is scared and upset.

Wow. Apparently I needed to talk about that? I haven’t talked about that whole thing in years, probably not since when it happened. But I think about it often. It was an awful, terrible ordeal to go through, and really had long-term traumatizing effects. I was 12. TWELVE YEARS OLD. I don’t even want to think about my 12-year-old students knowing what rape is, let alone being the one to help a friend through it. God.

I feel a little lighter from writing that out.

What else? Well, the other big thing is about the guy I’m dating. Look, I have a screwed up past with guys, and with intimacy. I can count on one hand the number of guys who have treated me well. I’m not used to it. I’m used to being destructive and acting out, because, apparently (said my therapist, after years of discussion about it) that’s how I coped. I had set a self-fulfilling prophecy for myself, and I didn’t know how to act differently. I felt damaged, so I just kept damaging myself. But I’m getting used to being treated well, being cared about. But the other day it hit me: This could go somewhere. And then I panicked. And I’m still panicking. What do I do? What are the rules? What do I do when he wants to be intimate? How do I know what I can handle and what I can’t? I never used to be able to handle ANYTHING without freaking out, but things have changed…I know that…yet, I still don’t know my limits. What do I tell him? Do I divulge information about my past? Or do I just tell him I’m not ready? What do I do if this goes somewhere and I get to the point where I tell him things? Will he run in the opposite direction? HOW DOES THIS WORK???

I so need to talk about this. Blogging is great, writing is great, but I need to talk. I need someone to sit on the couch with me and say, “Go ahead. I’m listening. Say whatever it is you need to say.”

I feel the slightest bit lighter now.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2011 11:25 am

    What a great post! It does help sometimes, somewhat, to let things out on ‘computer paper’ but you are right that it isn’t enough. I hope you find someone this week that you trust to TALK to :). I am so sorry about what you wrote about when you were 12, what a horrible burden and weight for such a young girl to carry around. My heart goes out to you and I am sure that you did the right thing despite any doubts you may have had at the time. I love what you say about being a Super Expert at avoiding things – I too am the same exact way – and the more I try and avoid the more spinning happens. It is an awful cycle! It sounds like the guy you are dating is kind and good, what a blessing for you, just take things one day at a time and trust in him and his goodness towards you every day. It is scary, I know, but maybe in this case your fears are a good thing and they are letting you know that this could have a great future for you and will help you leave the pain in the past. I am wishing great things for you! Hope you are doing okay today :), Erin

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