Background on “The Unpredictability Aspect”
The last post in the series, “Living With and Healing from Trauma on a Daily Basis”, was The Digestion Aspect. If you want to listen to a podcast related to today’s subject matter, check out “Episode 13: Grace Aspect of Living With and Healing from Trauma”.
When things are predictable, we feel safe, secure, and at ease. We are not God, and thus, the truth of the matter is that not everything in life will be predictable. However, when unpredictability becomes your norm, then it can be the perfect recipe for disaster. If you already have a history of PTSD or trauma, then after a round of unpredictability at its finest, you will be in line for more.
I was young, in my 20s, married, a full-time employee and a full-time student. And although I was very busy, and I did feel stress because of it, it wasn’t anything major. Out of the blue, everything changed. I went from doing all of the above to running to the emergency room and/or doctor’s office once or twice a week. Unpredictability rocked my world to put it mildly.
The symptoms started off with a racing heart. My ex-husband dropped me off in front of our apartment building one night so that I could get settled, and he could continue driving around to find a park. My heart started racing like crazy. I remember thinking to myself, “What is going on?” It finally stopped by the time that I got upstairs.
A couple of weeks after that, on my 24th birthday to be exact, I was standing in front of the copy machine at work when I started feeling excruciating chest pains. One of my coworkers rushed me to the ER in her car. They didn’t find anything.
However, after that, every few days there was a new symptom occurring: extremely high blood pressure, racing pulse, hammer-pounding headaches that made you long for heaven, diarrhea, an unsafe drop in weight, fibromyalgia,etc. It got to the point where my belts were no longer able to keep my pants up.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months as the physician ran every kind of blood test that he could think of. On one particular occasion, I was blow drying my hair, when all of a sudden, my heart and pulse starting racing as if it was going to beat out of my chest, and then my entire body started twitching. I finished blow drying my hair and headed to the ER. My mother, my ex-husband, and some other family members met me there.
As soon as my ex-husband saw me with my hair just blow dried and no curls, he stated, ” You couldn’t have done anything to your hair?” It was one of those moments when you stared in shock, cognitive dissonance sets in, and then you pretend like you didn’t hear what you just heard.
This vibrant twenty year-old, straight “A” student who was able to do it all suffered a time-out. I ended up having to drop two of my classes. The exhaustion and insomnia wouldn’t allow me to keep up.
Finally, during one particular visit to my physician, I gave in and told him that I was feeling depressed. He said that it was just the stress. My reply was, “Something is wrong with me.” He listed everything that he had done already, and then he said, ” How about we check your thyroid?”
In no time, I got the results. Bingo! I had hyperactive thyroid. Better known as Graves disease. I finally had an answer for this madness. I was happy and feeling blessed. However, that didn’t last long when I found out that it would take about four months before I would start feeling better.
I decided upon the “Radioactive Cocktail” as my method of treatment. A lady who worked in the nuclear medicine department gave me the best advice ever. She told me not to be surprised if my condition reverses because of medicine not being an “exact science”. It was the same thing that had happened to her.
At first, I was mad, and wondering why she would say something like this. However, I soon realized that it was the best advice ever because I was prepared. Just like she forewarned, my thyroid condition went normal, and then reversed to the other side, better known as hypothyroidism.
Four months later, I was back to my normal self so it seemed. However, the unpredictability of trips to the doctor and ER led me to develop compounded trauma. I already had childhood trauma under my belt. Then were was the trauma of being in a toxic relationship, a verbally abusive job, and my physical health was now added to that list.
If I had to look back at that twenty-four year old woman, I would tell her what I now know: “Breathe! Allow yourself to feel the feelings! When you don’t allow yourself to feel the feelings of overwhelm, your body will take it on. The stress has to go somewhere. Let it out! Nothing is worth your health. Community is everything. God is enough!”