Rewind six years.
I’ve never told this story publicly. Best friends and family slowly learned of it, but I avoided telling most people. I still quiver as I revise this story, left as a “draft” in my blog for over a year. I still don’t know if I have the courage to press “publish.” I sit here and pray over it tonight.
But I sense that it will help someone. That it is finally time.
The school year came to a screeching end on a rocky road. It was as if my vehicle was teeter-tottering on the edge of a cliff and I had to climb gingerly to the back window of the car. On my hands and knees…slowly…slowly…creaking…Ohhh!..I think I’m falling into the abyss!
Crash! The car tumbled down into the endless valley, but I was left laying on the dusty ground, gasping for breath. Staring at the sky, I wondered what would be next.
I had been frantically trying to survive days and weeks. Just reflecting back to that time still makes my stomach churn nervously. Teaching elementary school while the Tinnitus sound was rushing like Niagara Falls in my ear with it’s high-pitched scream. One ear was supposedly good, but I sure couldn’t hear much. We’re made to hear in a stereophonic fashion, not monophonic.
I felt unbalanced in many ways.
Trying to hear individual children was nearly impossible. Everything was noise–loud noise! It was so physically exhausting just trying to hear people. I missed what was said at meetings or over the intercom. I wasn’t sure which direction things came from. I struggled just to hear one child in a quiet room, sitting right in front of me while performing a reading test.
Everything was confusing, and actually, frightening.
I didn’t have any idea why I got this condition of Tinnitus and no one else did either. I kept going to doctors, and searching the Internet, desperately trying to find something that would help.
The noise of tinnitus doesn’t come from the outside, it comes from your brain. It’s a phantom noise like when people have a leg that itches after it is amputated. No one else can hear it, not even the doctors. Yet millions of people suffer from it. People naively still ask me, “why don’t you just plug your ears?” Plugging your ears doesn’t help this problem. Sometimes the cause is known, and most times it is never conclusive.
Hearing devices all ended in disappointment. Coming home totally exhausted at 8 or 10 p.m. many nights. It seemed I could never get ahead of the paperwork and planning. Lack of ability to concentrate made it take much longer to accomplish anything. Things I can’t go into to now…I was very hurt… Pressure from all sides…Finally throwing in the towel, I retired much earlier than planned.
I didn’t know who I was. I had always been a teacher and a mother in my adult life. Now my boys were finished with high school and in college. I felt unneeded.
After a busy summer of selling, throwing and giving away almost all things teaching, fall settled in. I was groping around for what was missing in my life. My body rebelled from the sudden change and I was plagued with a myriad of strange, non life-threatening illnesses for the next year. I was a mess. I went to doctors of many kinds.
I set out on a search for healing. That journey taught me unexpected things.