Archive for February, 2017

When Things Go Wrong

eyeSometimes, things go wrong, as they did today. My question is, where is the message hidden? What can we learn?

I woke up after a night of terrible allergies and irritated eyes. I grabbed the Visine and placed one drop in the left eye and several drops in the right eye, because it was more inflamed. About five minutes or so later, I noticed something odd about my vision. The right eye seemed to be letting in much more light than it should. My vision was blurry and odd. I looked in the mirror and my right pupil had dilated while my left was small.

First thought: stroke. Second thought: tumor. Third thought: concussion. Fourth thought: neurological disease. I cried and lamented while my husband rushed me to the Emergency Room.

Once there, several opinions where tossed about. “You need a brain scan ASAP”; “you have tremendous ocular pressure; something is wrong”; and so forth. As it turns out, the doctor was quite calm and stated that the nurse practitioner’s recommendation for a brain scan was unnecessary, since–as I now know–Visine can dilate pupils. I did not know that. Now I do. They patched up my right eye and sent me to my ophthalmologist. I noticed that my left eye was losing vision, unable to see on its own. That sent me back down the rabbit hole of anxiety. At the end of this visit, the doctor said that I have two chronic eye conditions, but no tumor, no stroke, no neurological disease and no issues with high pressure around the eye. Turns out, I have blepharitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis, both easily treated.

I wondered if my huge overreaction to this issue was about something else. After all, in the car I was crying and declaring that I didn’t want to die yet, I wasn’t ready, I didn’t want to be severely disabled, I need to see in order to teach, and so on. The level of anxiety was so high that I wondered if I was going to pass out at any moment. I have learned that one’s symptoms are often expressions of both something physical and something emotional. I understand the physical cause, even though I have used Visine for decades with no ill effect, but what could the emotional cause be?

I became too sensitive to see the world around me. I was out of balance. One eye was taking in too much information. Lately, I have inundated myself with scary news stories about our new Commander in Chief. I have become frightened to the point of incapacity. I HAVE SEEN TOO MUCH and my eyes hurt. I literally can’t see any more of this. I am out of balance: one eye sees things for what they are, and the other sees everything that is coming and opens too wide. If your eyes are wide open, you are expressing shock, fear, horror at what is coming: the wide open eye and dilated pupil see the future.

This incident allowed me to cancel plans with people I know who see the world very differently from me. How they “see” and how I “see” creates conflict and pain. With my dilated eye, I don’t have to “see” them and deal with the ramifications of our differences. Our visions for ourselves, our families and our worlds do not intersect. And yet, somehow, they have to; if not, we will be as two eyes viewing separate realities.

And then, we will be blind.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

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