During my 2006 Trial by Jaundice, my brother-in-law told me that ailments of the liver reflect/symbolise withheld anger.
At the time, I was too sick, and chained, to take this in. But, ten years on, I can see that there was a great deal of truth in his observation.
I was angry. Furious, raging. But it was all slurping around in the deepest hold of my emotional vessel, held beneath steel-lined, quadruple-locked doors complete with gun-toting homicidal guards.
I believed that my inner fire should be quenched at all times, that there was something intrinsically wrong with such violent and potentially destructive feelings. I believed that anger was irrational, a sign of incipient lunacy (or menopause, or both) – and that I had to prove, every which way I could, that I was gentle, kind, loving, caring, even-tempered. Flames required immediate dowsing with water – and any outbreak had to be apologised for instantly.
Looking back, I can see that I was not, in the strict sense, depressed – ever. The sadness was natural, but unexpressed, and it only aped depression when throttled back and kicked into a neat line by a power I could not withstand.
I used Seroxat to tame the wild beasts of fury – though I did not see this back then. Because, make no mistake, under the heavy man-hole cover of anxiety were the flood-water-boiling sewers of temper and repressed screeching, and understandable, healthy rebellion.
But you can tamp down a fire for only so long. Sparks will alight in odd places and wreak their destruction.
Ironically, the pills I took to crush it all rebounded, or my liver took the decision to shout and scream and cry and hurt for me. Who knows? Theories abound – and, in all honesty, we human beings don’t know as much about the mind-body-emotion link as we might like to pretend.
At any rate, in early February of that momentous year, my liver, the seat of anger, rebelled and sent the forge of shocking pain to rework the metal, and the mettle, of my personality.
Unfortunately, I failed to take the hint, did not follow this train of rage to its depot, allowed it to steam off until it was, once again, out-of-sight-out-of-mind…
But, once the forge fire is lit, and the Smith ready, the process cannot be stopped – and, whether I liked it or not (I didn’t, for the most part) my bodily organs and I had signed an unseen pact which would, years later, be fully acknowledged and consciously worked upon.
That sword, forged in such agony and emotional grief, is now emerging from the white-gold of the fire – and, soon, I shall draw it and hold it up in pride and humility. The former because I have shown courage and perseverance, at least some of the time! The latter because, had I listened to the shrieking and cawing of my liver in the first place, I could have brandished my sword far earlier and avoided the burning of a fire pushed to its limit of endurance.