Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Healing The Physical Trauma of Child Abuse

Written by Don Shetterly

This Unified Therapy session wasn't easy.  It was tough beyond any words that I can write.  In fact, just getting myself to see Dr. Canali was more than difficult.  I procrastinated.  I tried to wish it away.  I tried to numb it away.

No matter what, as hard as I tried to wish it away, my avoidance was not helping the issue at all.  I was begging for mercy.  I wanted relief.  I could not find it on my own no matter what I was doing.  As I wrote a few days earlier in a blog post, it was the Rash That Won't Stop that got me to the point where I finally went to see Dr. Canali.

My life had become one of so much difficulty with little sleep.  The burning and itching I described in that blog post were no lies.  It was all too real.  My anger was hard to contain with everyone and everything.  I did not know at that moment before the session if I could make it through this.  I was not sure if I could make it through this.  The session with Dr. Canali had become my last hope.

What I had written, I shared...

I shared with him what I had written in that blog post. I couldn't even manage to get the words out.  My voice would not articulate them.  As he sat down beside the massage table and read them out loud to me, my eyes welled up with tears.  To most people, they are words on a page.  To me, they were heartaches and pain from the abuse I suffered.

As we began to go into what was coming up in my body, it was evident to Dr. Canali and myself just how locked up my pelvis and abdomen were.  In fact, most of my pants were not fitting at that time.  They felt like 5 sizes too small.  The itching in this area was intense.  Any touch anywhere close and the pain would shoot through my body like there was no end.

Moving through things, everything from the itching to the heat in my body and the pain would kick up.  We would take it as far as we could, and then Dr. Canali would allow me to drop back down.  It felt like a physical workout.  It felt like there were moments that were almost too much.  However, I knew that this was part of the healing process.

An empowerment boost of healing...

The more I started to see that we could go into all of these things and then drop back into a more peaceful state, the more empowered my body became. It was as if pushing into these difficult moments and then dropping back was an empowerment boost.  A boost that kept me taking on more of the trauma my body had been holding for many years.

Some of these trauma memories of abuse that I was dealing with, I have seen in other forms and ways at various times.  However, this one was the more physical side of being raped and held down with no way to stop it.  It started by the time I was around six years old and continued until I was much older.

As we moved through the session, we discussed those things, and I was allowed to share them.  It wasn't easy to say the words.  It wasn't easy to recognize just how much the evil and darkness of these abusers and tried to squash any hope for light and existence I had.

The Body Shows The Trauma...

The physical trauma resides in the body.  The body remembers even if we attempt to keep it from reliving memories from years past.  The brain will try to block it, but when the body shows the evidence, it is then that the brain is in survival and numbing.

As we went through the session, I could feel the physical tension leaving my body.  It was more than if I had gotten a relaxing massage.  It was where my body goes into that deep peace and rest that it desperately needs.  The itching came down.  The pain came down.  The elevated body temperature I was feeling dropped down.

I noticed as we left the office and went out into the summer heat of a South Florida afternoon, that I was tolerating the heat much better.  Before this moment, I could barely stand in the summer heat for a few minutes.

I noticed that the world around me seemed more at peace.  I sensed the quiet stillness accessible to me even though the hustle and bustle of the city continued.  I felt lighter and more joyful.  I felt more hopeful and alive than I had a little while earlier that day.

As we left to go back to the hotel, I started to notice that the pants which were tight on me before the session, were now needing a belt.  There was so much physical tension in my abdomen and waist that had released that I could barely keep my pants up.  It shocked me because it showed me just how much trauma I was holding in my physical body.

I went from not wanting anyone close to me touching me to allowing myself to be touched.  I went from wanting no intimacy to welcoming it happily.

In that session with Dr. Canali, so much physically changed in my body.  It was like I was coming back into my body and learning to live life again as was meant for me to experience.

Healing Is More Than A Mental Exercise...

Once again, the work and concepts that Dr. Canali has discovered are helping me understand what trauma does to the body and how we store all of this for years and years.  It is not just a mental exercise.  It is an exercise where you connect the mind with what comes up in the body and then you are gently guided in different ways how to let go of it all.  It is a process that helps you find deep healing and peace, that is more than a quick point of change.  This healing is lasting.

As I write this, several days after the session, I can still feel my body letting go and processing all that went on in that session.  I can feel how little moments in life kick up the body temperature or the itching while being able to talk myself back down and put reality in perspective with what I am feeling.

Yes, I've had moments of anger and frustration, but I can deal with them more appropriately than I was.  I'm able to go in and stop and rest and allow my body to just be in the moment.  I've been able to be in a hot tub and sauna, be outside in the heat of an afternoon and not feel like I was going to lose my mind or pass out and drop on the ground.

I'm working to take care of myself, changing how I see things in my life and observing how I react.  I want the reactions to be from a more mind and body centered approach than feeling like an unwilling participant.  I'm focusing on the bigger picture of my life much more than I have been and seeing how all of this plays into where my life goes.

I'm monitoring how much I let in from the world that is full of screaming, anger, rage, and disrespect because the actions I see every day do nothing to help me in my own life.  I'm allowing myself to disconnect from them and replace them with things that are genuinely helpful.  I know that if I get caught up in the darkness of the day, it will do nothing positive for me.

Most of all, I feel better.  I feel more empowered.  I feel more centered.  It is like there is now hope where I thought I had lost all hope.

I'm thankful for Unified Therapy and Dr. Paul Canali and what he knows and how he helps me.  He is one of a kind.  If there are others beyond him (and a few other practitioners) that can do what he does for me, I have not found them.  He is a pioneer in the field of healing trauma.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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