The Pagan Blog Prompt suggested a discussion of New Year's Resolutions. I don't, as a rule, make resolutions, but since I am currently engaged in making amendments to my life for other reasons unrelated to the changing calendar year, I thought it would be good to have a look at this.
I had finished the last class of the fall semester. Coming home after six hours of lecturing in high heels, I ran up my parents' stairs to find my father waiting for me with his iphone which has this neat little pulse-taking device. Mine was over 150 beats a minute. Naturally, my father was concerned. I've been having chest pains and anxiety attacks more frequently these days. I wake in the middle of the night in a panic and must take care to calm myself. My heart typically beats between 100 and 111 beats a minute even when I am most calm. My family has always called this my "squirrel heart", but joking aside, it has always been a bit of a worry to all of us.
Because my father was concerned, I made an appointment with a physician. I told her about my symptoms and brought her information from my last doctor's visits related to this problem. Last year I had an EKG and wore a Holter monitor. They found no problems, but thought I had costochondritis. Many years before I had sharp chest pains that felt a good deal as though someone was kicking me in the sternum. When my own doctor refused to see me saying I was just too young to have a heart attack, I ended up in the emergency room. Twice. The first time they gave me a sedative and the second time, in a better hospital, they did a bunch of fancy-schmancy tests and found that I have mitral valve prolapse, a mostly benign condition. MVP can be asymptomatic, but it can also manifest itself in what some call mitral valve prolapse syndrome which includes such symptoms as tachycardia, fatigue, chest pain, anxiety, and depression.
I'd almost forgotten about my mvp. I'd taken care to avoid stimulants such as caffeine, and was not much troubled by it until last year when I found myself revisiting my doctor for chest pains, tachycardia, and an elevated blood pressure. She did not find anything overly worrying and I let it go again until recently when my elevated heart rate and chest pains made it increasingly difficult to ignore. My new family doctor thinks it is my anxiety, but she wants to get more information before making further suggestions. I now have an appointment scheduled with a cardiologist who can review my history, do his own testing, and tell us what he thinks.
Meanwhile, I have realized that I must address what ails me. I'm not sure what the MDs will tell me, but I've often thought of it as my broken heart. My acupuncturist has been telling me that my heart is troubled. I can't remember her exact words, but the spiritual message I heard from her was that we needed to find a way to make my spirit feel safe enough to return to my heart. My heart is having difficulty feeding my life with energy. I wonder why.
When I engage in tarot, or prayer, or meditation, or this kind of free writing, I am trying to find answers. More accurately, I am trying to find the right questions? Is the question What is missing? or What is wrong? or What am I supposed to do? or Whom do I serve? or What is my purpose? or How can I heal? I just don't know and it really bothers me. I wonder how long my heart has been telling me that there was a problem. A long time I think given my history of anxiety and depression, but I was so focused on getting my doctorate that I always thought the problem would resolve itself when that goal was achieved. Now the goal has been achieved for several years now and I cannot escape the fact that my hearts still feels wounded.
I do not know what is at the root of my heartache, but I cannot wait to find that answer before I address the pain. I'll have to at least patch it up the best I can. To that end, I'm drinking more water and (decaf) teas to increase my blood volume. I'm using yoga and qi gong to relax and employing my old hypnobirthing methods and breathing practices to settle myself when my heartrate runs away. I'm taking herbs and supplements said to help with heart health, tachycardia, and high blood pressure.
My family doctor, cardiologist, chiropractor, and acupuncturist will continue to diagnose and treat me for my anxiety, stress, chest pain, and speedy heart. They can find out why my heart hurts, but it is up to me to find out why it is broken.