Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

anger and thankfulness


anger & thankfulness

I’ve been confusing some people as of late.  They don’t know what to do with my anger, and they think that my anger negates all forms of thankfulness and gratefulness.  Anger only complicates feelings; it doesn’t negate other feelings.  We are complex human beings and often hold seemingly contradictory feelings at the same time.

First a brush up on Greek mythology.  Remember Persephone?  She was captured and taken to Hell by the God of the underworld, Hades.  Her mother, Demeter, got pissed off and mourned and sent the earth into mourning (winter).  Zeus (the head honcho) could not allow earth to die, so he ordered Hades to return Persephone to her mother.  One little problem:  while in hell, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds and there was this rule in Hell (Thanks to the Fates and all their fury) that if someone consumed anything while in hell, he or she had to stay there for eternity.  So.  Persephone has to stay in Hell for six months each year (during Winter while her mother grieves) and then gets to spend six months on earth (yeah spring and summer and flowers).  A continuous cycle of earth and hell.

So here I am (in my picture), holding out a pomegranate in a display of giving.  Holding the harvest.  Cradling fruit.  About to enjoy the seeds which sent me to hell.

Except my seeds weren’t pomegranate seeds, they were faulty DNA strands.  Little genes that aren’t what they’re supposed to be.  The result:  a heart that is continually dying.  (Hell)

For the first several months after my diagnosis and surgery for the ICD, I was thankful beyond believe.  I’d spent 8 1/2 years searching for a diagnosis and finally happened to land in a specialist’s office who knew what I had within five minutes of meeting me.  Finally, an answer.  Then, around January, it hit me.  Holy shit, my heart is dying. And then I got angry and depressed.  I can’t stop my heart from dying.  No one can.  It’s a wait-and-see game.  I have this little ICD inside me that will hopefully prevent another cardiac arrest, but they aren’t failproof.  I have two structural abnormalities in my heart that are getting worse because of the illness (ARVD) and yes, I may need a heart transplant or a valve replacement.  But no one knows.  No one can know.  There are no answers.

And I am pissed.  My whole life has changed.  I willingly chose to change when I recovered from the eating disorder.  I sure as hell did not choose this. I want my old life back.  I don’t want a metal box in my chest.  I want to drink as much caffeine as I want without worrying if my heart will freak out.  I want to walk to class as fast as I can without wondering how high I’m getting my heart rate, it it’s too high, if I’ll get to class and then get shocked by the ICD.  I want to run again.  I want to ride a rollercoaster again.  I always wanted a tattoo underneath my collarbone (I already had it picked out) but I can’t do that now because every 5-7 years for the rest of my life they will cut me back open and put a new ICD in place and they will eventually have to change locations and tattoos cut open by surgical knives don’t look too nice.  I hate this.  I hate everything about it.  Sometimes, I even wish I didn’t have an ICD, so that if I do have a cardiac arrest, I’d just “go.”  And that sentiment–the idea that maybe the life I’m leading is just prolonging the inevitable–is a sentiment no one wants to hear, let alone discuss.

“You should be happy you know what’s wrong.”  “Be thankful for the heart you have.”  “You should be thankful.”  “You should be grateful.”–these are the common cliches people quip to me.  They are not easy to hear.  Maybe nothing would be easy to hear, other than, “Lay it on me sister and bitch about the fucked up hell this is.”

But here’s the thing: I am angry and pissed off as hell.  AND I’m thankful that I know what is wrong.  I question my life BUT I’m thankful for the ICD inside my chest that allows me to live.  I am afraid of everything that is to come AND I still want to find out what is to come.

My head–my heart–are complicated places right now.  And I may question everything around me, but deep down, I’m still thankful for this heart within me.

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November 13, 2010 - Posted by | coping, feelings, health, heart | , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. That’s something I never doubt, no matter how vivid the rage.

    Comment by marisa | November 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. it’s beyond me why people think they have some sort of proprietary claim to your emotions, or that you haven’t got the right to be angry. how do people gather up the nerve to insist that you be thankful or grateful? yes, there are things in life to be thankful and grateful for. you have those things, and you are. for eff’s sake, though, ARVD has taken a lot from you, things most of us take for granted. you have EVERY right to be angry about that loss. your anger keeps you healthy, because it keeps you real. you lay it out here and bitch all you want, girl. i’ll be here to read every word.

    Comment by michelle | November 13, 2010 | Reply

    • this a great response to a very powerful post. so lexie, “what she said.” (thanks, ‘michelle’ 🙂

      Comment by slzu | November 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. AMEN! You can bitch ALL you want. I, too, HATE it when people tell me to “count my blessings” and point out all the material things I have. So vent all you want. And let’s keep it real.

    Comment by Lily | November 13, 2010 | Reply


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