Friday, May 4, 2012

Revealing the Beast

As I mentioned yesterday, I completed most of my pre-Lithium testing, save the EKG.  I promised to get to the hospital today, and I did.  The cardiographic technician, who looked an awful lot like me, was wonderful.  She did not keep me waiting, which was good because - as we know from my first post ( - I have an issue with waiting in a crowded, noisy room.

As I entered the testing room it occurred to me that I would have to remove my clothes.  Panic filled my chest.  The skin all over my body immediately started to crawl with heat and pain.

I have to remove my clothes.  This lovely lady will see my self-injury.  I am ugly.  I am hideous.  These injuries are visual representations of the intense pain in my mind and they are not meant to be seen by others.  We hide these feelings.  I have to run.  I have to leave.  I have to get out of this room. 

I must leave this room!

Instead I took a moment, removed my jacket, sat on the exam table, took a deep breath and spoke - softly at first ... searching for the right words and pleading with my larynx to grant me the sound to create them.

"I am sorry.  You may or may not already know this, but I am here for pre-Lithium testing.  I was recently diagnosed with various disorders and one of them involves self-harm.  I have injuries on my stomach ... and other areas, and apologize for what you are about to see.  It is a great embarrassment to me and it would be easier to leave this room now, but I need to do this to move forward in my care.  I will need your help."

The technician made me feel at ease.  She asked me to trust her and not to be afraid.  At her request, I removed my shirt and .... this is very hard for me ... I removed my shirt and allowed her to place the leads on my body.  She was quick and did not remain in any one area for long.  The test was over in just a few moments and revealed a normal sinus rhythm.  I am cleared to begin Lithium on Tuesday.

Every small step I take on this road to a stable life is a victory over decades of anguish and pain.  I have met compassionate people along the way and appreciate their kindness and understanding as I struggle to heal my physical and emotional wounds.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful technician. Did you get her name? It would be wonderful if everybody who needed special help during their appointments could work with her and get the same kind of care as you did.

    I am most proud of you for asking for help. In all of this recognizing that you can't and don't need to go it alone is going to continue to help you move forward. :)


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Regards, TMR