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Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Body In The Shutdown Process, Part 2
For Part 1, Click Here - June 24, 2009
Oh please let me hide. I wonder if I can withdraw myself enough into the table so that no one will notice I’m here. Maybe this will all go away. Maybe everyone will go away. Do I really want to be here? I’m scared. I’m not sure there is a way out.
That’s how I felt walking in the door of Dr. Canali’s office. My body was overwhelmed with fear and while it wanted to be held, reassured and validated; any perceived touch felt like a nuclear bomb going on inside. It was such conflicting thoughts and desires that confused my mind into an endless stream of thoughts.
I could feel the heaviness in my chest preventing my body from really breathing. The breath was in lock step with wanting to hide for if I barely breathed, no one would see me. I felt the stiffness of my body not wanting to move and being in pain when I did. Outside of the pain and stiffness in my body, I felt very little. The trembling and shaking in my body were present and very annoying to me. They remind me of the early days of the paralysis when I would shake and have seizures while feeling all alone. Everyone would watch me from a distance feeling helpless while my body went through all these violent movements being afraid and alone. While I now know that the trembling and shaking is the nervous system letting go, I am still frightened by it as a trigger to a very scary moment in my past.
A lot of the session is a blur to me. There are little bits and pieces that I remember but not enough to draw a complete picture. I do remember some of those moments. Most things early in the session would startle me. And it is still imprinted in my mind that Dr. Canali told me “he and Quayny believed in me”. That’s something that I never got growing up and often I struggle to have the confidence in myself because no one was there for me. Those appropriate timed words were priceless and they brought tears to my eyes.
One such moment was when I could feel my hands and arms in an almost rigid form where they would not move. Quayny kept working with me to just focus on moving my fingers which was difficult beyond rationale. But as we went and she kept me focusing on what I felt, I stated that it was as if I wanted to take a baseball bat and hit someone. Of course, I’m still not sure who that “someone” was but it had so much power to those words. Quayny suggested that I take an imaginary baseball bat in my hand and make the motion as if I was doing that. To just feel the energy of it and the motion of it. As I did this, the tension in my hand and my body began to change. It began to let go and allow someone to begin the physical touch with me.
Another moment in the session, I told Dr. Canali that I really wanted to get up off the table and run as fast as I could and as far as I could. That’s the response that I get when confronted by fear. It is also known as “fight or flight”. So Dr. Canali told me that we were going to use that energy to bring about a change in my body without going into the fear part of the brain. He put the flat part of my feet together and had me lift the pelvic area of my body to help stretch the psoas muscle. When I did this, the pains that shot down through my legs were so intense that I screamed several curse words out. It was not so much a physical pain, although it was showing up that way. It was the connection to the fears locked within me.
At that moment, I felt the pain that connected me to a time many years earlier where I had felt the same thing. Actually I had buried this one pretty deep because until this current connection was made, I was not consciously aware of it. That pain was the same thing I felt in my legs early on in the paralysis when it was just hitting me. It was the pain that took my body by surprise and was so intense, that after that I could not feel a thing in my legs. They were numb and nearly dead. So when we hit this moment in the session, all of that came flooding back to me.
We pushed this reaction further in the session which then caused a shaking and trembling in my legs but as I allowed myself to connect with this and allowed it to take place, the pain and tension released. The tears started to form much as they are doing while I’m writing this because it allowed me to truly feel my legs for the first time in my ENTIRE life. Let me repeat that because this is a very big thing for me. I began to really feel my legs for the first in my ENTIRE life in a way I had NEVER felt them before. It was electrifying, pulsing, and warm and my legs felt alive. I could feel the touch around them. They felt like they were part of me instead of just being a body part that held me up as I moved around in a day. It was truly a moment in joy for me.
The specifics of the rest of the session are ones that I just don’t recall. So much was happening and taking place. I was going into the fears and not letting the fear part of my brain (amygdala) take over. I was finding my power as I released these things and went deep into the pain. The desire to freeze was there but the more I went and allowed my body to heal in the way it needed to, the more freedom I had.
For our bodies do know what is needed to heal and yet we stay in a state of “survival” locked into our fears. This prevents us from healing and growing in ways that are essential to our becoming more and more human every day. Often the fears are unconscious like they were in me before I went to the session but they are there. It is through the touch of a skilled person who can be there through all of this with someone that we are truly able to go from survival fear into being connected intimately between our mind and body. I had to be reminded of this even though I know it to be true and I work with it. The fear part of our brain is strong but when we empower ourselves from the inside out, we are the ones who are strong.
--- come back tomorrow for Part 3 ---