Monday, June 9, 2008

A Nasty Secret Out in the Open

The doctor has always bugged for me the reason I hate doctors so much, so this last time I told him. Anyway the major part of the reason and where it all started from... I lost all trust in the medical professional when I came home from the hospital following my tonsilectomy and I was goo-ey and bruised down "there." Not sore muscles in my legs or a bruise on my thigh, but internal. I mean (or I imagine anyway) sore like rough "can't walk tomorrow" sex. This would have happened during or just after the surgery while I was still unconscious. And I remember already being slightly awake when I was wheeled into the recovery room.

I didn't pursue any legal action at the time. Who wants the stigma of being the victim of a sex crime? And I really didn't have anyone to talk to about it or even know quite how to verbalize the happening or what I was feeling. So it got all bottled up and came out as anger, distrust, and a need to always be in control of the situation. For a long time that was directed at the whole word in general and at the medical professional very directly. Anyone I met who had any link to the medical field was automatically my enemy. I was angry with everyone and everything... doctors did bad things to you, my family and friends who didn't understand, myself because it happened to me, other people because it didn't happen to them, God, the universe, fate. You name it, my ire went there!

People had to be very persistent and thick skinned to get to know me. Most didn't stick around that long. So I was very alone and lonely. And that made me even more angry and withdrawn.

It's taken a long time to work through all that. Opening back up and trusting other people, in any situation, has been a long hard journey. Getting to the point that someone else can casually touch even my arm without me freaking out has been a great internal war. At a past job, an interviewee reached over and stroked my forearm during a job interview. Inappropriate, yes, but also innocently done. I had to leave the room to control my impulse to slug her. You know, a good upper cut to the jaw and lay her out flat on the conference room table kind of slug? My reaction was truly that extreme. I think that violent streak would surprise a lot of people because I'm pretty generally one of those non-violent, granola-munching, tree-hugger types. I know it scared me.

Little by little, I have gained trust in most people and in my Heavenly Father. Putting myself out there and being vulnerable is still difficult even though doing so has been a mostly positive experience. It is getting easier to enjoy and trust people. But I still get a wave of gripping nauseaous panic just walking into a medical office. I don't know if I can ever learn to control that but it does feel good to get that secret out in the open and not bear the burden all by myself.

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