Arrow Fat Left Icon Arrow Fat Right Icon Arrow Right Icon Cart Icon Close Circle Icon Expand Arrows Icon Facebook Icon Instagram Icon Pinterest Icon Twitter Icon Hamburger Icon Information Icon Down Arrow Icon Mail Icon Mini Cart Icon Person Icon Ruler Icon Search Icon Shirt Icon Triangle Icon Bag Icon Play Video

Outburst of Exasperation

Outburst of Exasperation

The Scream by Edvard Munch
Capturing the Rage

Allow me to travel back to Sunday, September 14, 2008. We schedule a meeting for 6 pm to refine all problematic points and rehearse our presentation to be delivered the following week. The room selected is perfect: well-lit with a long conference table providing ample space to spread out and organize our information. Understanding the importance of this final opportunity, we are punctual - but apprehensive. 

At the beginning of our program, we are a productive team collaborating well. Gradually we deteriorate into a dysfunctional group of four. I did not anticipate the severity of the underlying hostility permeating the space. We are inside a pressure cooker ready to explode. And erupt it did.   

POW! He verbally sucker-punched me. Startled, I look up and see his face contorting and growing a blotchy beet red. I am not comprehending why he is directing his venomous insults only at me. As the other two team members recoil into the background, he continues his brutal, repeated diatribes against me. I refuse to indulge in a war of words and stare blankly in disbelief as he morphs into an unrecognizable creature.  

The entire scenario is foreign to me, and I remain paralyzed in my chair as the others disperse. Escaping inwardly, I attempt to seek refuge by analyzing Edvard Munch's painting The Scream. We manage to overcome this traumatic upset and somehow pull ourselves together, regroup, and focus on our project well into the night.  

I arrive home close to 2 am and continue to fine-tune the PowerPoint presentation incorporating the suggestions offered by my teammates. Unfortunately, I continue to relive the evening's tumultuous episode. I can neither erase the vivid image of his contorted face nor tame his haunting screams.  

The following day begins with little sleep. Cognizant of my approaching deadline, I hesitate to take a break for a refreshing one hour swim to clear my mind - but indulge anyway.

Monday, September 15, 2008, at 1 pm, I take an abrupt, unplanned detourEven though I prefer to schedule my days - not this time - I have a massive hemorrhagic stroke. At this moment, the journey to redefining my life begins. Step by step, I massage the many layers of my foundation. The path to recovery is rarely smooth or direct but often filled with exciting adventures and interesting people.

  • Post author
    Debra Levine

Comments on this post (6)

  • Aug 15, 2020

    I think you’ve embodied such a horrible period od time in your life in Munch’s Scream. Or, one of his Screams. I think you’re entitled to Scream through many of his images. I’m really happy you could write publicly about this.

    — Muffy Lutzin

  • Aug 14, 2020

    Stress can kill you. Apprehension on any level is stroke and stress promoting. Swimming is good. Why did he yell at you in front of other people? That I do not understand. Sending hugs. From France.

    — Cynthia

  • Aug 14, 2020

    I have read this a few times already looking for clues or maybe the obvious: I wonder how much the chaos of the meeting and /or how your nternalizedthe event “caused your stroke. The body mind connection no small thing.. I marvel that most people are only beginnng to understand their symbiosis.

    — Jamie Thornton

  • Aug 13, 2020

    My first try at posting didn’t work. 😊 I will try again. We don’t know each other well. I’ve only known you after the stroke. What I do know of you is that you are of strong faith and strong determination. You have a great ability to see everything beautiful in everything you see, touch or experience. You are one special lady. Although brief, I’m glad you passed through my life.

    — Diana

  • Aug 12, 2020

    Thank you Debra for this bittersweet memory. I can only thank my lucky stars for the good health I have thus far enjoyed, but as each year passes I face more aches and pains, some explicable – others no one knows.

    But while my physical health has been remarkably reliable despite my years of cigarette smoking and other indulgences, my emotional well being has often been a roller coaster. I have kept journals of my travels and travails since I was 28 years old.

    A year or so ago I took a stack of my journals for a weekend getaway at nearby Lake Balaton intending to dig through my past to find the path to my present. Much to my chagrin all I discovered is that I am still asking the same question which is summed up by the following – what is my purpose. I am assuming that once you have faced your own mortality in the manner thy at you have – purpose becomes simply gratitude for another day of existence. Peace to you.

    — John Steffen

  • Aug 09, 2020

    I have no words for what you just itched into my recollection of what happened to you the day before your “stroke”. Listening to it now…the picture above is perfect. You have such a vivid imagination and I am glad you were able to take yourself to that space as the guy was “slimming” you with his untamed, unfiltered words. We never know when a curve ball is going to be thrown at as—-you sure got one as your life has never been the same since….but the inner strength you have along with a heaping amount of determination keeps you propelling forward despite all the challenges that come with extreme curve balls. I take my hat off to you (well I don’t wear hats unless I am in the pool), but I bow to your inward and inner spirit. …love you

    — Carolyn

Leave a comment