“Hold it all. Hold it all.” – Kina Grannis

The blood work bandage today brought me back circa 2003, when underground punk rock bands were my jam, and sweatbands were semi-cool. (To be honest I don’t know if they were ever cool). Today, after getting my blood drawn, I thought back to a “simpler” time…childhood and growing up. A cascade of thoughts all because of a green bandage.

I had Kina Grannis’ song History on repeat for most of the day. The song itself has resonated deep within my being the past couple of months. Last month, I had a moment when I cried in bed when she decided to explain the song’s inspiration and her personal meaning and tapped into the childhood memories she had and the loss she experienced when her grandfather died. It hurt me hard, in the most grateful feeling that another being in the universe could feel the depth of emotions that churn inside of myself.

My life was never really “simple” when I was younger. In fact it was pretty rough growing up. I was a wide-eyed observer of the world around me, and it was more often cruel and mean than it was kind and easy. I grew up fast because of a rocky childhood, and thankfully, I learned how to grow from the “what-not-to-do’s” and “how-not-to-be’s.” I’ve looked back at the past, and realized I was never not worried about something or someone. It started to become engrained into my system to continue worrying for others. It’s probably how I became a nurse – to carry someone’s else’s burden for the time being, and help make them feel human again, because I continuously long for that from the world. For others to allow me to feel ok being human, to feel ok being me, to feel ok feeling what I feel, thinking what I think. In all of the worrying, I never felt sick, except for my occasional colds and fevers manifested from stress and a low immune system.

It took a while for my present to be finally peaceful. I finally stopped worrying too much about things and people I couldn’t control. But I realized, I didn’t worry enough about myself. When it came to caring for myself physically – I brushed it off, and just pushed myself harder and harder. “Hold it all, hold it all.” I actually would repeat this to myself to continue carrying all the burdens inside of myself. I thought I could just carry on each time I was falling apart.

I had to re-evaluate a lot when had to accept defeat and understand that my body’s been showing me some warning signs that I need to stop and take care. I never want to admit when I feel weak. I hate that I feel ashamed for it. I think parts of it come from being a nurse, and wanting to be the image of health and we turn a blind eye to sickness in ourselves. Nurses can be the worst patients. We know a little much. We’ve seen the worst, so we don’t respond to minor ailments in ourselves.

I couldn’t take it anymore, though. It was an awfully teary-eyed day when I had to admit to Anthony that I wasn’t feeling ok and haven’t been. The vertigo, the lightheadedness, the nausea, chronic fatigue, near-fainting, and random vomiting intermittently in the last year has been so tiresome to deal with. It was also getting hard to ignore when my colleagues would mention, “You’re looking a little pale today” or how I could see the color drained from my usually darker-pigmented lips. Initially, I couldn’t determine whether it was coming from pushing myself against the grain being a night shift nurse, or the stress overload from wedding planning. After a complete lifestyle change and dramatic reduction in stress, I thought I would feel magically better. All of these general symptoms would disappear and I would feel healthier, energetic, and exponentially better the way my friends were feeling when we switched over to the day shift hours.

So I went in to see a doctor after going to war with myself, waging that I’m alright. It’ll resolve with time. Other’s are sicker. Other’s are sicker…

I’m hopeful blood work and the CT scan bring me closer to answers, or at least peace of mind to let go of the worse. Maybe it’s postural! Maybe it’s still transition and a confused circadian rhythm. Maybe it is anxiety. Maybe it’s teeth grinding and firing cranial nerves. Maybe it’s an inner ear thing? Maybe it’s a, b, c, or x, y, z. It could be nothing, but it could also be the latter.

I’m trying not worry.

…I’m trying not to worry.

but if you peer between my rib cage,

and I finally stop holding it all,

I am worried.

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