I’ve started getting chest pains every day.
WebMD screams, “CALL 911″ when I enter my symptoms and I scroll through the list of possible of conditions with my palm pressed to my sternum and just wait until I see “cancer” inevitably listed somewhere. I chew on Tums, set reminders to stop drinking coffee and start drinking water in my phone, even try counting to 10 with giants gulps of air to see if that will stop the pain that sears for an hour every day.
But it doesn’t.
Regardless of what I do or don’t do at some point in every day I’ll sit up too fast or take another sip of coffee that burns the roof of my mouth and I’m not only greeted with a head rush or a scorched tongue, but a heart that is on fire and apparently begging to leave my body.
My therapist claims it’s stress. That the unbelievable pressure I put on myself and attempt to carry around day after day is finally getting to me and my symptoms of anxiety are becoming physical. She recommends meditation, all sorts of breathing exercises, even offers to switch up my prescription. But regardless 2 AM will roll around and even after breathing in and out and saying, “I am enough” to myself for half a fucking hour, there those nagging chest pains will be.
My friends say it’s because I’m repressing things. So I’ll focus my energy on writing about people who have hurt me and forgiving them. I’ll get rid of photos and delete texts and numbers and focus on purging myself of these things that make me unconsolably sad. But then I’ll be sitting in a cafe, reading another poem about letting go, and even though I like the shade of red that I thoughtlessly swept over my lips in an attempt to love myself, without asking permission if they could sit at my table there those searing aches will be.
I’ve started getting chest pains every day – and I don’t think the doctors or the shrinks or my friends are right about why.
I think I have finally given my heart away one too many times and it’s begging me to stop. I think it knows how much I wish the dark parts of my mind hadn’t chased away another guy who made me laugh and so it’s telling me to stop following my head because clearly, this four chambered organ knows better. I think my heart is trying to escape the cage I have locked it in because it’s sick of watching me self-sabotage over and over and over again and wants a shot at running things.
I do not think that WebMd is right. This isn’t acid reflux or GERD or even a result of being a stressed out 20 something with too much on her plate.
This is a result of knowing that I have let my guard down again when I should have kept it up.
This is wanting what I can’t have and swallowing feelings when I want to say, “Please tell me you care about me,” but instead say nothing but lol.
This is overanalyzing Facebook likes and looking for hidden meanings in the spaces between 140 characters and trying to make a connection but failing to load completely.
This is not heartburn and an island flavored antacid will not make it go away.
This is being heartbroken and never really fixing it. Instead I just break it again and again, time after time.
This is walking around giving pieces of myself to boys who never deserved them in the first place and I think there is nothing left to give. This is wanting with no way to satiate, loving with no reciprocation, needing with nothing to take, and giving with no thanks. This is being 26 and realizing that you may never be 100% again and will always have to settle for somewhere in the 80s.
This is knowing what you want, being able to see it on the other side of an iPhone screen, and knowing that you need to just close out the app and move on.
I’ve started getting chest pains every day. And even though I think they’re just a part of me now like blue eyes, messy hair, and nails that are always bitten down, I keep searching and searching for a way to make them stop.
They say you can’t die from a broken heart.
But you sure can wake up in the middle of the night and feel it trying to kill you.