Since I Can’t Control It, I Thought I’d Talk About It

I don’t like to feel insecure.

OK, that’s probably an overarching statement that applies to the entire human race. I guess I should get more specific.

On the whole, I would much rather get things on the table and make things known up front instead of tiptoeing around. The drama stresses me out and, frankly, isn’t worth my energy and brain power.

Not that anyone has been asking, but I thought I’d throw this out there in solidarity for anyone (everyone) else who is self-conscious about something uncontrollable (no matter how small!).

Most mornings, I get up early and try to spend at least 30 minutes reading my Bible, praying, and generally pondering before starting my day. Most days, though, I laze around too long and end up having an audience of small children staring at me while I do these things. And when say “stare,” I actually mean they ask for breakfast on repeat.

I cherish my alone times with my Bible, my mind, and my heavenly Father. It’s a special, sacred time, and it keeps my brain under control (most of the time). When reading through my Bible, I like to underline verses or phrases that ring especially true, poignant, or even funny. It’s been a habit for years, and I don’t feel guilty about writing in my Bible.

More than a year ago, I noticed something odd during my devotion time. Every time I underlined something, my line waved as if I were attempting to draw a squiggle instead of a simple, straight line. I couldn’t draw an even, straight line, no matter how hard I tried.

Psalm 28:7 ESV

I chalked it up to low blood sugar and assumed a bowl of Raisin Bran would solve the problem.

Well, fast-forward to about June, when I had to find a doctor for a physical. The adoption process requires all sorts of things, and my physical was another box to check.

(Pro Tip: Always have your doctor fill out forms in blue ink, otherwise you may get to return for a second visit to have your doctor re-fill out the form he previously filled out in black. Awesome.)

Before I went to the physical, I thought through any questions I had. As my shakily underlined Bible verses were growing in number, I made a mental note to ask my new doc about the shaky hand.

I semi-didn’t want to ask. It’s like when you suddenly lose a larger-than-normal chunk of hair, and your brain immediately goes, “Maybe I have cancer?” (even though hair loss is not a symptom of cancer). Or if your heart gives a weird stutter, and you’re certain a heart attack is looming. Brains can be hypochondriacal.

My brain wondered if I had Parkinson’s disease. My brain didn’t know any other possibilities, so I took pity on it and asked the doctor for his professional opinion.

He had me do little exercises, like sticking my arm out then folding at the elbow to touch my finger to my nose, first one hand, then the other. When I’m under scrutiny, my right hand shakes like a leaf, which is what happened in the exam room.

Well, I was diagnosed with an essential tremor. I even heard him confirm his findings with a fellow doc in the hallway.

Honestly? I kind of hated that it had a name.

I don’t want to be diagnosed with anything. That sounds so serious and potentially scary. On the other hand, it was nice to have an answer. This was a real thing, something that other people had too. We could start a club!

Mayo Clinic has this to say:
Essential tremor is a nervous system (neurological) disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. It can affect almost any part of your body, but the trembling occurs most often in your hands — especially when you do simple tasks, such as drinking from a glass or tying shoelaces.

And, unfortunately, it never goes away and there isn’t really a treatment. Though, I can do things to calm it down a bit.

This part always makes me laugh, because my straight-faced doctor told me…

…drink some alcohol.


When has alcohol ever been the go-to treatment prescribed by a doctor?

Well, I did give his suggestion a try, just to see what would happen. I discovered that alcohol calms down the quaking (temporarily, of course), but caffeine makes it more lively (I bet you could’ve predicted that!). It’s a bummer, because I just discovered a love for chai tea lattes. Most mornings, I decide the caffeine is worth the extra shakiness.

My doc did say he could prescribe beta blockers if things get too wild, but they’re not really a long-term solution. Thankfully, the tremor isn’t really affecting my daily life just yet.

Frankly, it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t notice it very often, but I especially notice it when other people notice it. It’s not a sign I’m stressed or nervous, though when I am under pressure, the shaking gets a lot worse.

So, if we have lunch (and I hope we do!), my hand will probably shake a bit when I’m carrying my drink. That seems to be the most noticeable time. It always reminds me to be thankful I’m not living in the olden days where young ladies had to serve tea. That porcelain would be a rattling!

I thought I’d go ahead and get this out in the world. However, pride can be a pain, y’all.

Currently Reading
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill 
by Abbi Waxman – Every bookstore–local or otherwise–I’ve visited recently has this book on a pedestal. I mean, bookish people are going to like a book about a bookish gal, right? So far, so cute!

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