Sinking Into Unedited Emotions

When I saw my doctor was calling me my first thought was it was a misdial, an administrative error. I was working so I declined the call. Within seconds my phone is vibrating again – now I’m nervous, and curious, but more nervous. Finding a quiet corner, I answer the call. It’s not a misdial. It’s my doctor wanting to discuss my recent blood results. There are some low levels. She wants me to get a MRI….there’s an indication I could have some kind of growth in my brain…’like a tumour’ I ask, taking advantage of the little window of shock that means I’m still sounding rational and level headed…’yes, it’s unlikely but we need to check’.

I already don’t recognise the girl who declined that first call.

I am, in an instant, a different person.

It was going to be days until I could have the MRI and then even more days until I’d have the test results.

Fear, anxiety, dread, sadness, uncertainty rushed over to me, faithfully warning me, gripping my heart, stalling my breath, instructing my body that we were in danger – this news is hurting us.

For the first time in my life I didn’t resist them.

I wasn’t scared of my heavy, unedited emotions anymore.

I welcomed them all in.

I listened to them. I was still and let them surround me.

I worked, watched TV, ate the exact amount of chocolate required to navigate a week like this.
I made the choice to reclassify my emotions.

Anxiety, fear, dread, sadness, that grey-empty feeling that no one can name…you are now my allies. I know we’ve been at war with each other, mortal enemies until the very end, my single-minded quest to irradiate you all had severed all connection between us.

In my life I have called you darkness, I have called you evil, I have called you the enemy.

And still, you have rushed to my side over and over again, like not-so-cute or cuddly forest animals warning me danger is coming. I’ve recoiled as you’ve approached me. I’ve spat back, melted-down, gone into irrational panic.

Suddenly – I need you.

I sink deep into every emotion and it soothes me.

I cried.
I cried and I felt my fear wrap its arms around me.
It’s ok to be afraid.

I walked into a lake filled with my emotions, up to my ankles, up to my knees, up to my waist, walked until the water enclosed around me…and then I sunk to the bottom.

I felt it all, felt everything – I didn’t deny myself a single emotion.
And it healed me.
It made me feel more human.

There is nothing more human than having some level of fear response to the news that you just need to ‘get a cheeky MRI to rule of the chance you have a little brain tumour’.

I felt all my emotions but, thanks to the kind of practice only years and years of living with anxiety can give you, I didn’t give myself to my emotions.

I refused to rehearse tragedy. I refused to plan my funeral or role play catastrophe. This was emotional window shopping. I let myself feel them all – like taking a bite from every chocolate in the box – but I wasn’t about to buy anything and take it home with me.

Everything washed over me – there was no denial, no resistance to reality, no protest on my part.

Open hands, open heart, a messy week, stumbling through – trying to be honest, truthful with my inner self.

Fully human.

Fully alive.

Fully human.

Fully alive.

My doctor phones me, just after 5pm on the following Friday…seven days since we last spoke.

I don’t have a brain tumour.

I do have Empty Sella Syndrome.
I was born with it; it can be managed with medication and I’m going to be ok.

I already don’t recognise the girl who answered that call.

I am, in an instant, a different person.

I fall through fear into peace, into gratitude, into wisdom – holding all the lessons my recently allied emotions have taught me.

[Art by Mira Nedyalkova]

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