I've been in my cave for the last two months or so, trying to find my way back to that mental place that lets me use my computer to check email, post to my blog, and basically do anything that might put me in touch with other people. Scary.
But here I am, managing another post, and it doesn't feel too bad. Maybe I can get myself back into some quasi-regular posting schedule. But that's thinking too far ahead. How about I finish this post, first? Yeah. That's the ticket.
These last two months have seen attacks from that particular monster we all know so well that gets you thinking 'everyone hates me, including me'. This monster successfully beat me into a state of semi-paralyzed disability. What is it inside a person (i.e. me) that gets so convinced they are nothing more than a waste of other people's air? I mean I really think that - not all the time, but often. Other people have a right to be here, and I don't. You need to ... I don't know ... contribute or something in order to have that right. And I don't contribute much more (especially when I'm sealed in the cave) than increasing the local entropy of the universe by radiation of body heat and conversion of tea into pee.
My new general strategy (as of this year) for attaining wellness is to conduct experiments and do whatever works. One of my recent experiments seems to be giving me results from the get go. This experiment might be part of what is responsible for my finding the ability to step a little out of the cave into the brutal light of day, and actually write a post.
This therapy is very hard to describe, especially if your mind tends to scientific critical thinking, like mine does. Well, on on the outside it is easy to describe and what is actually happening inside is a complete mystery to me. This therapy is a kind of somatic-energy work that deals with past trauma 'memory' in the body. What this looks like is that I lay on a massage table for about an hour while someone simply puts their hands on my body, occasionally moving them to different places, and mentally directs or encourages energy into/out of me. They follow what they perceive are my needs, and use this energy to help old emotions and injuries, mental and physical, get unstuck, cleared and on the way to healing. During this, we talk about what I'm feeling in my body, and sometimes about how this might relate to my emotional state. Then I put my shoes on and leave.
Sounds absolutely bananas, doesn't it? I don't happen to believe in psychic phenomena, magic, New Age philosophy, energy meridians or any of that stuff. And I know nothing about the theory of this somatic therapy at all. In a very uncharacteristic move, I didn't bother to do a ton a research about before I made an appointment. My primary care doctor, who I have some respect for, suggested it, and I was so impressed with the non-Western nature of the recommendation that I tried it basically sight unseen.
None of that matters, really, because - for me - it is working. Could be totally 'in my mind', a result of the touch-phobic nature of our society, or who knows what. Again, doesn't matter, since I'm seeing immediate results. These results are not fun, and include me in tears, angry, frustrated, and even in physical pain. I haven't left a session yet and not had substantial aching from this 'energy cyst' in my pelvis. Mind you, I'm not doing anything in these sessions. I am not moving, and there is no massage. Just a hand below/above my hip for say fifteen minutes. I can actually feel heat pouring up and down, through the area. It aches, and then feels good, and then feels like a spiky rock, and then aches again. Meanwhile I go from feeling angry, to terrified, to calm and all sorts of things. I've also experienced this now when having energy directed in the chest, throat, stomach, and forehead, as well.
Makes no sense. Sounds crazier than I am, actually. But there it is. The sessions are stirring up emotions I can't seem to get to through regular talk therapy, nor through any cognitive technique at all. Seems as though for OCD and panic, you can think your way through to a certain amount of relief through CBT. Trauma, at least for me, is very resistant to this. I can use cognitive tools to deal with a panic attack. My trauma flashbacks, however, steamroll right past my cognitive ability and slam through to emotional reaction. This somatic energy work seems to be accessing a body/emotional memory or response that other therapies are not reaching. I can't say I've seen a reduction in flashbacks or my general dread and self hatred. But I've only been doing this for five or six sessions so far. And what I am feeling is this sense that at the end of each session something important has happened. Someone heard something I felt or said. Maybe it is me hearing myself.
Doesn't matter. What matters for the time being is this sense of hope. Something is moving and changing. And change is definitely good.
Your Hostess With Neuroses
Image is 'Peek a booh' by Persifonie via Creative Commons
Saturday, July 11, 2009
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