Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.


We’re always learning, right?  Everyone–not just people who have histories of eating disorders or mental illness or addictions.  Everyone is always learning.  I mean, it’d be great if we were born knowing how to navigate through life and interpersonal relationships, but it just ain’t so.  A lot of it is trial and error.

I was talking to a friend the other day who is going through a significant new phase in her life, and she has not told everyone.  She is telling the people closest to her who “need” to know and she is telling the people who will most likely “get it” enough to allow her room to grow without criticism. She is very much aware that some people need more time.  And to be honest, I don’t think she should bother telling those people right now.  Because she needs time.  

Right now, I’m at a talking point in my life.  Sort of like turning point, but not.  Basically, I have a lot to say, but a lot of it is the same stuff repeated over and over again.  My journal entries all seem very similar to one another.  There is a lot of anger in them.  A lot of sadness.  A lot of confusion.  A lot of I don’t know what the hell to do with myself.  I’ve tried bringing this up in daily conversations, but it doesn’t go over so well.  I know I can be a bit sensitive right now, but I recently went to this knitting (or any type of crafting) group I go to every couple of weeks at a friend’s house.  And no one asked how I was feeling–either physically or emotionally.  It wasn’t until I got up to leave and made a point to mention it that anyone acknowledged it.  

This is what I am learning: I have a right to be angry about this.  I have a right to be bitter.  I have a right to be sad, and confused.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be alive. I  am happy they found the ARVD and that I have an ICD in case something goes wrong and that I can still go for walks and be a grad student.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I am giving up some very significant things in my life.  

I am also learning something else: not everyone is going to be receptive to this, no matter how much I want them to be.  And I should not make them listen to my venting.  This does not mean that I am going to deny my feelings and thoughts; it means that I am going to find other outlets.  I will find people who do “want” to listen and respond.  I have joined an online forum for people with ARVD, and so far it seems like a great, small community and I feel welcome there.  And, of course, I have my treatment team, which in this case extends to my cardiologist.  

A friend who also has some major health problems sent me a message saying that I need to listen to my body, take a nap if I need to or want to, cry when I need to or want to, and do something nice for myself.  She reminded me that I don’t always have to be strong.  That I can come home and shut my apartment door and fall apart and everything will be okay.


August 5, 2009 - Posted by | coping, Eating Disorders, feelings, health, heart | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I think sometimes when a friend is having a health issue, people want them to take the lead in talking about it. We, the healthy ones, can be afraid of asking about it. What if the person is tired of being asked over and over? What if she just wants to forget about it for the afternoon and talk about other stuff, not being reminded that she’s a little different.

    It can be a difficult balance knowing when to say something (and possibly remind the person of a painful topic) and keep quiet(and being thought of as insensitive). Everyone has such different needs in this areas, so any assumptions about how to approach the topic risk being the opposite of what the person wants.

    Comment by Millie | August 6, 2009 | Reply

  2. I can understand your comments. I guess my point was that even when I do bring it up, I’m met with silence or averted glances, so the message is pretty clear: “Please do not talk about this,” which has left me feeling rather alone in dealing with this.

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | August 6, 2009 | Reply

    • People aren’t very receptive of my health issues, either. There are only a few people I can actually express my concerns and pains over it with and have them actually listen and care. Everyone else brushes it off like it’s nothing and hardly lets me even finish a sentence. I’m not sure what it is that makes them block it out- but it prevents them from understanding my perpective on things… and you’re right, it really is a lonely feeling..

      Comment by Andi | August 7, 2009 | Reply

      • I had a friend come over the other day who actually sat down and faced me and asked how I was feeling about everything. not just the physical. But the actual emotions. She said she knew she would never understand completely what I am going through, but she needed to know how I felt about what I was going through. Hearing those words was amazing.

        Comment by surfacingaftersilence | August 11, 2009

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