12/2/2013 1:04 PM
By Kelly Deeny
I am scared of my heart, not only on an emotional level but also on a physical one.
As a congenital heart patient, I have to take care of my ticker. I should be eating healthy and exercising, both of which I do sporadically. I take my health for granted and sometimes it comes back to bite me in the...heart.
When under stress, my heart races and causes me anxiety—a cycle that is unhealthy whether you're a CHD patient or not. Regardless, I worry about my heart because I want to be here for many years to come. So, every little twinge or abnormal EKG sends me into panic mode. It just does! Reason and advice teach me to remain calm and think rationally; however, that's not always as easily done as said. I've had to find other means to help calm my palpitating heart when it gets over-stressed—creativity!
I may have stated early on in my ACHA blogging that entertainment saved my life. If I didn't, then there you go. For most of my life, music was my primary artistic outlet. I still break out in song, tap my feet to a melodious beat, and relish the invigorating energy that this spiritual gift provides. The freedom and utter joy I get when singing alleviates my worries and builds confidence. Alternately, I can just lie still and listen to a beautiful melody and motivating lyrics to help strengthen my focus.
During my time battling depression I realized the healing power of creative writing. Twenty years later, I have turned that love of the written word into not only a career path but also into a healthy emotional outlet. When I'm stressed, frustrated, or worried, I pick up my pencil and write. I let the emotions flow out of my body and onto the page. By the end of the cathartic exercise, my heart has ceased racing and my stress level diminished.
Since my worries about health issues cause me stress nowadays, I find my notebooks are filled with entries about my heart—both on a physical level and an emotional one. I stress (pun intended) to others the value in artistic outlets even if they don't believe they are creatively inclined. Being a creative individual got me through a tremendous amount of self-inflicted pain; I can only hope that there are those who have done the same.
A graduate of Temple University's English program, Kelly Deeny recently completed book one in her juvenile fiction series. Using various forms of the creative arts, Kelly seeks to heal the emotional and spiritual scars that remain from her 1979 open heart surgery. While her ventricular septal defect was repaired and no physical limitations remain, she's just recently realized how vital the arts are to her healing process. Visit Kelly’s website by clicking here.
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