“I love you, O LORD, my strength.”
Remind me never again to utter the words, “Women in our culture don’t have the luxury to say, ‘Sorry, people, you’re on your own. I need three days to rest and bleed.'” I may not have actually spoken them out loud, but a thought might as well be close as a train horn or whisper in God’s ear. Nevertheless, somebody heard me.
For it wasn’t a week later, fresh out of the new year, that I drove myself to the emergency room. I was struggling to breathe, barely able to stand, suffering a panic attack of 21st century proportions. That morning I’d woken up feeling weak in a way that was too weak to be normal. It isn’t far off to say that it scared me.
I was certain my cardiac enzymes or electrolytes were off. I could think of no other explanation for my state. “It’s like I’m malnourished”, I told the nurse. The x-ray technician came in, and before she wheeled me off for the obligatory chest x-ray, she straightened the blanket to better cover me up. I cried at such kindness.
Cardiac enzymes were fine. Electrolytes were fine. Chest x-ray, all the bloodwork, everything came back normal, except that I’d tested positive for mono. I was completely shocked and yet also relieved. I wasn’t crazy. I hadn’t made it up. The nurse gave me a xanax, and with my hospital discharge papers they sent me home.
It’s been nearly six weeks since I “crashed” and my body refused to stand anymore. I’ve heard about the fabled “nervous breakdown”, something I used to think was just a momentary bout of feeling completely overwhelmed with life. I almost don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I won’t go on and on about it.
Part of me wanted to wait until I was stronger to start writing again, though the fact that I am writing now would be a sign that work and strength are returning. My husband and kids have been absolutely amazing. Xanax has been a lifesaver in these weeks of wicked nervous tension. I only needed a half pill today.
It’s been single degree temps, below zero at night, and I’ve barely noticed. I’ve been living under an electric blanket, the king-size warmth that now covers our bed. I can stand up straight and be up more doing things. I knew there were things in my life that needed to change, and I remember asking God to go easy on me.
Thanks be to God of the heavens.