Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

living with grace


The morning of my heart walk, with amazing friends.

The morning of my heart walk, with amazing friends.

Well, the first week of classes is finished.  I have to say that it pretty much wiped me out.  Friday afternoon I took a much needed nap and was still asleep by 9.  I gave my students the “if you are coughing/sneezing/wheezing you sit in the back row.  If you are contagious with any strain of the flu, do not come in my classroom.”  If you’ve been following my blog, I recently had surgery to place an ICD because of the ARVD. I cannot afford to get sick.  

Thursday I get an email that one of my students has the swine flu, which is making its presence known quite strongly here at Mizzou.  Those little flu bugs best have stayed on her.

In general, the week went well.  I was more tired than normal, but I think it will be a good semester.  

One of the things my therapist and I have been discussing is the fact that I function at a rather high level, but I don’t always do so gracefully.  I will keep it together while I’m on campus or with friends.  But the energy that requires sometimes leaves me so raw that I come home and I’m pretty useless for anything other than curling up in a numbed out little ball on my bed, either staring at the wall or sobbing for no one specific reason.  Rather, the buildup of emotions becomes overwhelming and I find myself shaking.

I’ve been thinking of mindfulness as a specific action that I sit down and practice.  Like the tea drinking mentioned in my second mindfulness entry.  But my therapist has a much broader view of mindfulness, one that I’m coming to appreciate and welcome into my life.  He defines mindfulness as the ability to bring the mind back to a specific task at hand or thought.  In the case of my tea drinking, I constantly refocus on the sensations of drinking tea–the taste, the smell, the feel of the mug, the warmth, the color and shape of the mug, the sound of the cello music playing in the background.  My therapist suggested practicing this throughout the day, and especially at night, when sleep often eludes me because I am obsessing about health concerns and what I need to get done for school and work.  

Tuesday, my second day back at school, I had a full, busy day of classes (both as a teacher and as a student) and meetings, and I had homework to do for Latin, which was driving me nearly insane, and it was late and I needed to go to bed.  But I was so overwhelmed I had that urge to curl up and cry.  But I couldn’t.  Yes, I need to allow myself time to feel these things, but at that moment, I needed to sleep.  I needed to make sure I was taking proper care of my physical body so that I don’t get sick.  So I took out a book of crosswords and made myself focus on that.  My  mind kept wanting to stray and think about doctors’ appointments and all the “what ifs” that we’re only just starting to address regarding the ARVD.  But I kept returning to a crossword clue, forcing myself to think only about that. Eventually, I felt calm and much more relaxed–in a better place to try to sleep than I had been.  

Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to gently remind myself of my task at hand when I find myself getting overwhelmed or upset.  It’s not coming naturally, but even the small progress I’ve made has made a difference in my daily life.


August 30, 2009 - Posted by | coping, Eating Disorders, health, heart, mindfulness, therapy | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I have been struggling with this, too.

    Comment by K | August 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. Whatever anyone says, I love reading your blog – I check it everyday. I’ve also linked a bunch of my friends to it, who don’t know you, because I thought they could relate to and/or benefit from your words. You are a beautiful writer and have many helpful experiences to share. I’ve learned a lot from you, as I’m sure many have, and I also am very glad to know how you’re doing/what you’re thinking about on a regular basis.

    Just thought I’d add my opinion to the mix.
    Thinking of you.

    Comment by Amanda G-M | August 31, 2009 | Reply

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