Thursday, July 10, 2014

#Kinderblog 14: Week 1 Guard Your Heart

The #Kinderblog 14 Week 1 challenge is to write the post that's been sitting in your drafts folder, the one that's been circling in your head during drive time.
I bring you a drafted post from August 2011…

"How did I spend my summer vacation?

For one day, in the ER...

During a leisurely shopping spree at B&N, I experienced a rush of symptoms:  difficulty swallowing, intense chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, jaw pain.  Before my jaw became stiff, I thought I was coming down with a virus.  The jaw pain tripped a memory of reading the signs of a heart attack.

Twenty minutes later, my husband was driving us to the ER.  The triage nurse admitted me and I was given baby aspirin, oxygen, a nitroglycerin patch, IV fluids.  After several tests, it was determined that I had not had a heart attack; the exit diagnosis was "esophageal spasm", which can be intense and mimic symptoms of a heart issue.  Because I have MS, the Dr. recommended I share this with my neurologist, then I was free to go."

Fast forward to the present...
Some of you may be reading this post and thinking,
"Um, that sounds like a panic attack."
And you would be correct.

It happened again, in the early months of 2013.  That time, I didn't have jaw stiffening, but the other symptoms were present and an impending feeling of doom encompassed me.  When I calmed down, I got online to research panic attacks.  It was like looking in a mirror.  Why did this happen to me? In hindsight, I see an overwhelming situation that was occurring at the school where I taught.  I've come to believe that our bodies will eventually scream for our attention if we are not taking care of our spirits/souls.  Last summer, when I accepted a new job in a school district that promised to be challenging, I knew I'd need to take care of my inner life if I wanted my body to work well.

(Disclaimer: I'm not claiming that panic attacks can be completely controlled. I am aware that they can happen to me at any time or place. I'm just sharing my truth.)

There are good things that I try to include in my daily life- reading, singing, worshipping, creating, planting scripture in my heart (Proverbs 4:23), hanging out with my husband and children, playing with our dog, sleeping late on Saturdays!  There are also things that I try not to indulge in too frequently- laziness, ruminating, reality TV (still working on this one!), wine.  Every now and then, those things are fine, but they can all become escapes or bad habits of mind that will bring me down.

Sharing this wasn't easy.  It's out there on the internet, after all.  In the blogosphere, where I've shared my experiences with the teacher tribe and the mommy crowd, I think we (mostly) try to present our best selves, posting our most flattering pics and sharing our successes. There needs to be room to show the bruises, scars, and bad dreams.  To be real.

So, I've shown you a crack in my armor.
Drafted, completed, published.
When you change the way you look at things - Children Quote

Children Quotes | Forward this Picture


  1. Thank you for sharing your story. There's no shame in that. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. Ack! Just lost a previous comment! :D
    What a brave post Chrissy! Thank you for opening up and being honest and sharing those cracks. It's what makes us human and what binds us together. I wish there was a way to make all of the circumstances you are facing less stressful and there were such things as magic wands! I admire the way you have persevered in light of everything- hard years at school definitely take their toll.
    Thanks again for sharing your truths and for this brave post. I hope this summer brings you lots of F-U-N! You certainly deserve it!!
    Much Love,

  3. Brave post, Chrissy. You’ve had a challenging year and I’ve seen you struggle and doubt and get angry at the situtation, but you never stopped loving your students, you've never given up, you've never trashed your students...and that’s what is important. Hoping your summer brings you some peace.

  4. It's important for us to talk openly about these types of experiences. Panic attacks are certainly nothing to feel shame about. The next step is to provide our children with this lesson, being positive role models, so we lessen them experiencing it. Keep finding ways to support yourself. When our wells are full we are able to there for others - family, friends and students.


Thanks for being part of my story!