It was an unexpected moment when someone said something that struck me so deeply I was instantly numb and nauseous–capable of talking in only short static sentences. Later, I cried for hours–the incident was reminiscent of one from decades prior. I had the post-cry wiffers for days, but my life was full and busy, so I soldiered on.
Then it happened again–a different someone, but the same numbness (I’d already been nauseous for weeks)–heart pounding so hard I was sure it could be seen through my clothes. Later, I cried to a confidant about how the incident reminded me of one four years earlier. I had the post-cry wiffers for days, but my life was packed, so I put it on the back burner.
I wondered why I was a verbal punching bag–why so many hurt people were taking out their frustrations on me. Three times this occurred, and I considered cloistering myself.
I’d been declining physically and emotionally–flaring and miserable, stress exacerbated the gastroparesis and each day I was feeling worse. After several weeks, I’d stopped recording symptoms, because the calendar was a big mess of Xs and numbers. I went nearly two months without a full night of sleep, and inspite of being continuously nauseous, aimed to intake at least 800 calories a day so I wouldn’t get ‘hangry’– but I was still teary-eyed, irrational, and had the wiffers.
Then days before Thanksgiving, I was lamenting to a colleague (we only exchange a few sentences a year) and without warning hot tears streamed, and I unexpectedly confided, “They ruined me.” ‘They’ had vilified me for hours with vitriolic words and accusations. I sat staring, heart pounding, stomach roiling–no one to defend me. The onslaught on this particular day was the pinnacle of years of similar treatment. My colleague understood–had been on the receiving end too. Later that day, I realized the moment of my ruining had been exactly four years earlier to the day. The punching bag incidents of the fall had been poking holes in the heinous memory I’d been stuffing for four years.
During this Thanksgiving weekend, instead of decorating for Christmas, I’m ‘unstuffing’…forgiving; holding it in is not worth the physical barrage of symptoms I’ve endured since September. I’ve learned: If you stuff the uncomfortable–the unnerving,..it festers and finds a way out; your body will expose what you’ve hidden.