I landed in the ER again a couple of weeks ago: severe dehydration.
This was completely unrelated to panic or anxiety. (Dehydration is not the result of my life's season. It's not that I forget to eat or drink because I'm a widow.) In fact, I made it through the entire experience without any dips into the unconscious, without any meds to lower my blood pressure.
It was the flu. I couldn't keep anything inside me. Pardon the graphic details, but in case you discover that your lips are cracking from dryness, you haven't been able to pee in 14 hours, and you vomit from digesting ice chips, head on over to the ER. They'll be waiting for you.
What is my deal this year? I've been in the emergency room more times this year than I have in my entire previous three decades combined. The good news: I think I've met my deductible.
It turns out, the part of my brain that responds to trauma is also the part that manages my immune system. When my mind senses trauma (or a triggered memory of trauma), it throws all of its energy into helping me survive the moment. It is forced to decide which is more important: emotional survival or physical strength. Emotional survival wins this month.
Someday, I will realize the toll on my body as my soul kept pushing forward.
Also, it turns out, this same part of my brain is the control center for all the symptoms of aging. This is why I don't recognize myself in pictures - why those sad, crinkled eyes look unfamiliar to me.
Connect the dots however you like. Trauma is grief is illness is aging.