Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Relieving an experience as a baby

Here is the story.
Last night - very nasty tachycardia episode again. Had horrible dreams - being force-fed mince -  5 meals worth. Digestion very 'upset' and nearly had an accident in the park today (thankfully there is a public toilet). I was upset walking around the park. Very tearful. I had a coffee then went home. I was feeling incredibly distressed and 'colic' symptoms. I had been told constantly by my mother how I was a nightmare for the first 3 months (and more??) of my life, how I cried constantly and wouldn't settle. My suspicion following my substantial crying today is that I was most probably left to cry as the school of parenting probably said that the child  must be left and not constantly pacified. Anyway, I cried a good long time, wailing. I was then exhausted. The cat lay on my chest briefly. I was then extremely depressed and very distressed. I spoke to the Samaritans, and texted a friend who appeared out of nowhere 20 minutes after my text. She was brilliant.
After your email, I reflected on the needs of that baby. 'She' was hungry (I hadn't eaten for 7 hours) and very cold. She needed a warm bath and then tucked up in a bed with 2 duvets and an electric heat-pad. The adult read a book. After a while, the adult got out of bed to scoop up the cat who was then content to lie on my chest with her paws around my neck, and stayed for about 15 minutes. Her physical presence is absolutely crucial at the moment (as she is the nearest thing I have). I am now in a lot of physical pain, very achy, and emotionally exhausted. The little one will be put back to bed again soon - but not after seeing if she would like something else to eat before she goes back to sleep in the same very warm and cosy bed with the cat.
It appears to me that these episodes may come up often. I must try to understand at some level this is not to do with Izzy today, but 'Isobel', who is reaching out. If I can start to understand these experiences, I may feel less afraid of them, and so very depressed, because it is Isobel who is still depressed.  With the skill of the adult, I may manage to facilitate much of further childhood somatic experiences on my own, but not without the nearby presence of close friends to support the adult, who is alone in a unique process. I have done this before in 'Mind Body Bowen' work (alone) which normally requires a therapist presence, but just like I don't always have my therapist with me, I can hear their words, and trust the process. I will be documenting these incidents as they come up. 'Every body tells a story,'

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Medicinal Hugs!

When I last saw T (Therapist) for Somatic Experiencing®  SE® at the end of October, T wanted to work more 'hands-on' with me as part of our next journey of work. At the start of the session I briefed T about what had been happening - another 16 night stay in hospital to no avail, other than some essential repair surgery - so another General Anaesthetic. T asked how I was feeling right now - I said that I felt that there was a tight band along my diaphragm. We explored that sensation for a few minutes. T asked to move closer to me, and I agreed. T explained that T wanted to hold my hands, and would this be OK. I agreed. T's hands were warmer than my own, and I got used to the sensation of having my hands held, and moved my fingers about to change the feeling of connection. I started to feel more relaxed and the sensation in my diaphragm reduced a little. T then asked if T could put hands on my shoulders, standing from behind my chair. Again I agreed. Initially the pressure was light, so I asked for a more definite and firmer sense of touch, T obliged. T was there for about ten minutes. I felt more and more relaxed, and could feel T's hands there when T had finished.

T asked me how much I received hugs - I said that I did from some people, and we talked about how some people were better huggers than others. T explained how Oxytocin a hormone that makes you feel good is released during hugging, after about 20 seconds. This felt a long time to be in a hug - but T said to gradually increase the hugging time I had with people I felt comfortable, as this would be a really good thing for me. This, being my homework!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Somatic Experiencing® for Pain

I arrived at today's session in severe pain (pain score 9) with globalised trigger points of pain throughout my pain, like needles, and feeling an echo pain - like you get when you bang your funny bone (and it isn't!). I explained to T (Therapist) how when I had been in hospital with severe abdominal pain that pain had then spread to my entire body in this spectacular fashion ever since, and that there was now no abdominal pain. I told T how the hospital had failed to get on top of my pain and that although originally on admission the general surgeons had thought it was extremely likely to be endometriosis, but my usual surgeon had said it was going to be my Functional Bowel Disorder, even though, quite ironically, my digestive system was in fact functioning well.

I became tearful. I said to T how unbearable all of this was for me and that I was hardly able to walk 20 minutes before the pain became too much and I was in tears, this all being extraordinary for me. I also said how angry I felt about it all and how unfair it all was.

T sat closer to me and said he wanted to give me SE® today. T asked me if there was anywhere in my body that felt OK. I said that my chest did and part of my face. T asked me just to go into that area and to try and breathe more deeply. After a short while I was able to do this, giving some nice deep exhalations. I then started to cry quite a lot. T kept reassuring me that it was OK and that T was there for me. Not long after this, anger started to follow. T asked me to do something strange, T asked me to squeeze T's wrists as hard as possible. I did this, but felt guilty for doing so - because I could be hurting T. T said not to worry about it. We did this several times throughout the session. I then said to T that I wanted to scream, since we were in a place with other therapists, this was never going to be possible so T asked me to make a face of anger and to open my mouth as if I was going to scream without actually doing so. This I did, all as a release of anger.

T and I then discussed some imagery that I could use. I came up with some good ideas. One was that I was in a huge bath that completely maintained a hot temperature, that it was deep and that there were candles and very quiet music playing, but otherwise it was quite dark and quiet. Another imagery I then came up with was that I was standing against a wall and that a fireman's hose was aimed at the worst points in my back which were going to be 'zapped' away, or at least cooled down. The third piece of imagery included imagining that I had a drip that put in some local anaesthetic throughout my body.

T asked me how I felt. I know that I left the session a good deal calmer than when I went in and that the pain volume was turned down for a few days afterwards until I hit another shocking day. I am now back to obvious pain medication as well as use of my new tools.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trauma - muscle spasms/twitches

The last few sessions I have been having Craniosacral Therapy rather than Somatic Experiencing® or SE® work. T (Therapist) wanted to do some more 'hands-on' work with me before then getting back into SE® work, or perhaps doing CST and then SE in the one session. T has said this is important to help facilitate the work. So far hands-on work has been difficult for me as it has been clear that at times my body has been too "freaked-out" to cope with it. In fact, earlier on, T tried to approach me closely and touch my foot - but it was much-too much for me. The fact he is now doing hands-on work is a huge step forward. Over the past two sessions T just wanted to be able to tune into my body in terms of the tidal waves that the body produces and to get a sense of them. T said that the tides were very slow. On the second session  T managed to do some abdominal work which had a profound affect on my tummy - having had another admission to hospital for severe symptoms relating to my 'Functional Bowel Disorder.' I left feeling as though the contents of my abdomen had gone, and although I experienced extreme fatigue for two days following the session, my digestion did improve.

So two weeks later, here I was for another session that started of with CST work, but fairly swiftly mutated into SE®. The difference? T was working on the left side of my body, (much more traumatised) than my right side. Early into the work I started twitching - with movement particularly coming from L4/5 in my spine like someone had poked me from the back https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyJvWCIwDM. All these twitching movements were familiar as they had begun in 2009 during physiotherapy work. For an example read: http://danceinjuryrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/constant-muscle-spasm-vascular-changes.html

After this had been going on for some time, T moved hands to one behind my shoulder, one behind my neck. The 'twitches' increased in intensity and in other parts of my upper left quadrant. T then removed both hands to see whether the intensity of the twitches would reduce. Although they did somewhat reduce, we continued to talk about them, how I had managed to 'be-friend' them over time. I said that I had no idea about how or why they had appeared, but that I had seen a neurologist, had an MRI and the neurologist had said it was a functional movement disorder, common in those with EDS. http://danceinjuryrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/functional-movement-disorder.html

T decided to move to my right-hand side because he felt it might be safer. Not long after I said that I really needed to use the bathroom, which I did. I thought it must be nearly the end of the session, but T continued to work with me.  I climbed back on to the couch, but after a few minutes T suggested that I go and sit down. I went to stand for a while and then said I felt 'completely like jelly' and as if 'I had no bones.' I had no point of reference to stabilise myself and felt a little overwhelmed. T then suggested I started to do some jogging like movements - just rising and transferring weight. I started to do this and to use my arms, and then it hit me. I had never been able to run properly - as an adult or a child. This meant I would have never been able to escape movement. T said that this was absolutely critical and so important. It meant that rather than be able to take flight from a dangerous situation, I only had the option of freezing, thus limiting my choices. I started to get upset, briefly, but the upset disappeared and I made my way to sit down.

T asked me what I could feel. I said I could feel my thighs. We focused some more on what else I could feel and what felt OK in my body. Although we didn't get to all points of the body, we covered enough parts that I was put back together again. The muscular twitches were still going on, but in minor capacity. I said to T, "I am going to have to use all of my skills for the rest of the day," which T agreed with. I left the session feeling a little wobbly to say the least, but that I would be able to cope with intermittent twitches, which I did.

There were no further repercussions of the session until 2 days later where I felt like I had been hit by a bus and as if I had lifted about 15 children. I felt very sore and achey and massively fatigued and then felt very nauseous, although I wasn't physically sick. The rest of the day involved having more sleep and taking some painkillers. By the day after I was in a better space again. I wait to see what we do next session, but it is abundantly clear that these 'twitches' are trauma-related, that we aren't yet sure what the trauma is about, and that the left side is the "problem" or most traumatised side.

For more examples of my 'twitches' see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZblJySdXLE

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Retracing Motor Development (1)

In my last Somatic Experiencing® session, T (Therapist) started to work on exploring my early motor development between the ages of 1-2, which is where we think problems begun. I was easily able to sit up and reach things, but when put on my tummy and asked to reach for a blue ball, I used my upper body to pull myself along to reach it, with no use of legs. T was quite surprised that this was how I moved, and then we started to work on using my legs and arms in a coordinated fashion, but now actual crawling, as such. I found this very difficult and tiring to do, which greatly surprised me, although the second attempt was easier. T then asked me to kneel with my bottom on my legs. I wouldn't do this (after a brief attempt), because my calves felt 'sore and wired.' I then explained to T about all my previous micro-tears to my calves and how sensitised they were. T looked at my upper body and neck and then gave me some exercises including depressing my shoulder blades and looking up, and having my neck in extension, which again caused problems as it was too difficult for me to go straight backwards, my neck deviated to the left, like someone with tortocolis. T asked if I could straighten it, but my neck "didn't want to." T gave me other exercises for gluteals and illio-tbial band and psoas. We were about to look at some emotional aspects, but unfortunately ran out of time....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Revisiting childhood development

Following a session where it was possible that my Somatic Experiencing work would be suspending, this was revoked during the session when I begun to share with T that I had started to feel like a child in the way in which I wanted to express my anger or upset. I said that I had images of a child sitting alone on a play mat with some toys and that I had wanted to shout (in anger), don't take my toy, its mine. On other occasions I had imagined that I was crying to the point that tears were flowing down my face and saliva (toddlers don't worry very much about tissues!).

I told T that in terms of my motor development that I was almost 2 years old before I walked and that I had never crawled but had bottom-shuffled in order to get about. I explained that although delayed walking was normal in our family, that it would have been related to my hypermobility and lack of stability. I explained how I had done lots of crawling in other somatic work - but acknowledged what an important part of development I had missed. Having had a look at T's own notes, T thought it was possible that I was stuck between 1-2 years of age in my development and that it was absolutely essential to revisit these stages. It was also discussed that this was possibly how/when my masking behaviour (masking emotions) had started. T said that it would be essential to go through all these stages in childhood/adolescence as they had obviously been missed. I asked T how I would manage this as it would obviously be inappropriate to be throwing bricks and shouting at people. T explained that the adult me would need to facilitate this work in a safe space - and that it was important to let out the anger/tears - perhaps using pillows to throw. I asked T if this was something we could go through in session and T said that it was. I will have to see what happens over the week, but have permission to explore these childhood states, and indeed as T says, this is absolutely essential.

I am fine, thank you!

This session of SE® was a little bit of a challenge. I had arrived feeling rather angry (caused by public transport), and had been doing my 'anger exercises.' T (Therapist) asked how I was. I said that despite feeling a little angry and stressed out about my journey to the session that I otherwise felt "fine" and that I could feel "nothing!" T asked for more information about "feeling nothing", but I insisted that there was nothing more to discuss about it because it was just as it was and that I felt well and fine. It was obvious (to me at least!) that I didn't want to explore the concept of feeling nothing or feeling fine. T, however, continued to probe this point.  I then started to get visibly weepy. T asked what was behind this. I said that I just couldn't go or explore the concept of not feeling fine or feeling nothing because it was too painful to consider that 3/4 of my life to date had been about not feeling well or fine and I didn't want to go there on this beautiful sunny day. T would not leave this alone and eventually I became angry and told T that this was the case.  T said, "that's OK." but I couldn't say goodbye and walked out and left the building in a fury.

It took me some considerable time to calm down - despite having to walk long periods of time both for another bus and another appointment. I was also upset because I liked T - so why had T made me feel this way. I felt confused.

I tackled T at the next session and T said again that what T had said about my anger was, "that's OK." I said I didn't know or understand how to interpret that as his face had showed no expression. We explored this further and then whether just at the moment that there was too much double up with other therapeutic work that I was engaged in. T said that it may be a good idea to take a break and that T wouldn't be abandoning me, not allowing me to come back. I took this as a straight rejection and became very upset. T asked where I felt this in the body and I said that it felt like a deep line along my diaphragm and shortly afterwards in my right shoulder and down my left arm into my little fingers. I said that I didn't want to stop the sessions. The next entry explores why suspending the sessions was no longer necessary.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Managing My Anger

My mother told me that as a child that it was very difficult to connect with me or to understand what I was feeling, as if I didn't show any emotion at all. If I did feel anger, I didn't know how to express it until very recently. I started to tell my psychotherapist that I was 'angry with her' and she was absolutely thrilled because it was an emotion that I had so far been so out of touch with. I was able to communicate anger a few times in a row, then it started happening regularly at work that I was possibly feeling anger, and I started to contemplate what I was experiencing physically. I started to feel a whoosh of heat, a tight chest and as if my arms were wired. Then it appeared that I would cut out and dissociate without discharging any of the anger. Although this wasn't so good, just acknowledging what anger felt in my body was a good starting point, whilst communicating the feeling. I told all this to my SE® Therapist (T) and we decided to work on it during the session.

T said that was really, really important for me to feel the ground and to be 'grounded.' T got me up on my feet and told me to relax my knees and to feel my quads really working. After a short while I found my angry pose. T asked me to think of something that had made me angry (I recalled something from the day before) and took a pose of anger with the whole thing effecting my eyes and my breathing became deeper and I became hotter. T then said to stretch out my arms whilst holding on to my fists, making a holding pressure of at least 7 and then very slowly release the pose and the pressure on my fists. We did this several times. I could feel how the anger was so held in the pose, but how the feeling gradually ebbed away as I released my fists and relaxed the pose. It felt good, and something I felt I could definitely practice over the week.

T explained to me that because of my autonomic nervous system -  sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system out of kilter, with an overriding sympathetic nervous system - that at the moment my anger container may only be (T's figure) capacity of 23 before I trip switch and dissociate. By doing the exercise T suggested, over time my nervous system would learn how to manage and feel it and that my anger container would increase and increase with less dissociation. As usual with T, this all made sense. I left the session looking forward to feeling angry.

I was rewarded two hours later when I had waited over half an hour for a friend to meet me and I was feeling very hungry and increasingly angry. I shouted at people in the tube, before trying the pose somewhat. I wasn't entirely successful, but of course that was my first attempt. I am sure I will get plenty of practice in the very near future, and I look forward to seeing how I can discharge my anger, whilst acknowledging it. T also suggested that I could of course dance it - by doing lots of heavy and grounding type moves. This was something I discussed I had already done. I will be interested to see how I mange my anger, but it has got to be a lot healthier to discharge it rather than bottle it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

To my father

I would say that this SE® session has been one of the most significant to date. I explained how I had been quite highly strung and stressed out at work, "in the red" I further went on to say how apparently I am talking and my face is quite "frozen" - as if I have had botox, and that I am finding it hard to make eye contact (shame). I told T (Therapist) how I had felt like "wanting to be a baby" and lying on the floor like one. I also said that I had started having lots of flashbacks and vivid dreams. Overriding all these emotions, I then said I was "terrified" about turning 40 this year, because my dad had died of a massive heart attack when I was only ten years old and that I had found his body. T asked me where I felt this in the body. I said it hurt in my heart, with occasional tingling down my left arm into the last 2 fingers, and that my neck felt perpetually pulled to the left. I started to cry. We talked some more about the events of that evening, of having to run to a neighbour who was away, and having the police turn up because it was a sudden death. The conversation then went on to talking about death in general, and how taboo it is in our society. I then talked about my grandfather (father of my dad) and how that had only been six months before my dad dying and what that was like. Shortly after, and thinking about my own dad, I started to cry uncontrollably. This went on for some minutes. I was masking my face in total shame, to be crying so loudly in front of T, but it was all totally necessary. I said that there were buckets of tears to cry. T said, that much pain can be held in the heart, and showed me the fist of the size of the heart. I agreed. I felt exhausted by the end of the session, but it was a relief to start to talk about this with T, as I had been doing in psychotherapy, and that serious processing was beginning. Later I felt more anxious and took some Diazepam to calm me down as the day had been incredibly stressful.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Giving myself a hug!

I haven't reported on my SE sessions for a while - but the work is subtle and sometimes I don't always think something has happened until later on. This week and last week's sessions are good examples. When I caught up with T (Therapist) on my session dated 11-4-14, we spent much of the time talking about my recent surgery and how  I had coped with the anaesthetic, which was far better than I can have imagined, and then post-surgery. We developed this discussion on my session dated 18-4-14. T had noticed on both sessions that I was weepy. T said, "let's embrace those tears." On the session dated 11-4-14 this abated very quickly, but on the 18-4-14 this went on in waves during the session. In fact, this had been going on for several days before the session. T said that it was important for these tears to come out, in whatever way they chose to come, and not to stop them. Something that was different about the latter session was that I opted to sit on the floor rather than the chair, as I had been doing for many weeks in the past. I am not sure of the reason for the change. I think there was a need to be feeling "grounded" and my back was very painful, so perhaps a need to feel the wall to support it rather than a chair.

During the session, I felt the need to push what I perceived as negative and stressful feelings away, using my arms and pushing out to the side, up above and down below. I put my finger tips together. T was impressed how quickly I was able to use my resources. I then added a new one to my repertoire, all of my own accord. I just started to give myself a hug. I stayed in this pose or position for a good few minutes. It made me feel safe and reassured.

As per usual, I left the session(s) feeling much more grounded, connected, calmer and safer in myself. I left the latter session to go and do a meditation, and was more present and in the moment than I have ever managed before.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Preparing for Anaesthesia

One of my terrors has been having general anaesthesia. As I was about to undergo a major operation, it was something we worked on in one SE session. T (Therapist) gave me some good tips. In addition to some skills I thought I could use myself, and/or ask medical staff to help me with, T suggested the following:

Before Anesthesia:
  • To try and avoid dissociation by being in the here and now - looking at something in the room, feeling a blanket, working out what I could hear. 
  • Try and have someone with me before (and after surgery)
  • Ideally be relaxed, aware and calm as possible
  • Prepare self - for the altered sense of consciousness
  • Have a local anesthesia/pre-med (relaxation) - e.g. Diazepam which was my suggestion after discussion with other doctors
  • Counting backwards from ten to zero before having the anesthetic. My idea also - but so I could hear myself saying the numbers etc. 
  • Let them know of all of my various needs
  • Use my imagery (e.g. 'feeling at peace with myself, deep and strong inside), feeling like a king.
  • Bring in my Guardian Angels (as I felt they were - to the right of my body)

Post Anesthesia:
  •  It will be a gradual return - ideally have someone there (but if not, fine too)
  • When you are able to open your eyes - look around, say "I'm in hospital" I can hear... I can see... I can feel... etc
  • Try and make early eye contact with someone as coming round from the anesthesia
  • If you feel shivery, let the shivers play themselves out, whilst asking for extra blankets
  • Notice needs - e.g. can you hold my hand, give me my glasses back
  • Try and regain a sense of yourself and your body (e.g. could use palpation).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Little girl lost

I had a very challenging SE® session, the most challenging to date. I said in session I felt rather stressed and T (Therapist) threw me the blue ball I like so much. I was crying. T asked about the tears and what I felt. A lot of the session appeared to be about the sadness I saw in some pictures of myself in childhood, how the eyes changed over the years. We talked about whether I could embrace that little girl, but it felt too difficult. I cried on the way home from the session, and was later thrown into further turmoil - something had bitten me from the past......

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Yellow Soul

It seems that T(Therapist) is keen to focus on re-balancing my parasympathetic (rest and digest) and my sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous systems as the sympathetic is just way too dominant still and there is far too little parasympathetic to counter balance in a more healthy way. It is during the parasympathetic dominance I am likely to rest and for my body to repair and heal, whilst it is perpetually in an accelerated sympathetic state. I talked about how, even when I eat at home, I am usually doing something else (on the computer) or get up several times during eating to go and get up and about. T has suggested that I treat a meal as a religious ceremony and dedicate the time to mindfully eating with no other distractions!

Today we talked about souls in the body which do not feel pain and are separate entities to the physical or cognitive or cerebral body. The soul and my ethereal being separate and not experiencing pain, but acting as a third eye to my body, watching over it. They say the soul never dies... perhaps this is why. Anyway, it got me thinking. I decided very quickly and definitely that my soul was a bright yellow circle, flat, not 3D and that it was in my neck, separating my mind from body. It was a bright yellow light and about the size of a sink plug hole.

After a while, as I relaxed in the session, I started thinking of yellow sand and lying on beaches and this made me ever more relaxed and sleepy. I then told T was later going 'speed dating' to which T sighed, amused - "it would have to be speed-dating with you, wouldn't it?!!!"

I left the session feeling relaxed but recharged enough to go speed dating, although I am paying for this today as it was utterly exhausting. I met a few people I liked, but only one where there might have been a meeting of minds more in a work-sense than anything romantic. I am not sure speed-dating is really for me, but felt if I didn't try, I wouldn't know.

Today, my parasympathetic nervous system is going to have its own way.

My soul is quietly there, radiating yellow light in a peaceful way. I feel relaxed.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

King Henry VIII

Following the trauma of yet another hospital admission - nine nights at the helm of a diverticulitis attack, T (Therapist) conducted a SE® session based on re-establishing calm and safety.

I had already cried at work, earlier in the day, and was rather tearful on and off during the session, although it was unclear what the tears were about. T did ask, but I was unable to explain. I suspected relief, and letting off a safety valve, as felt that I was overwhelmed and in the 'red' again. I said how I felt 'chest pain' but that got relieved a little after crying.

During the session T asked me to imagine being someone strong. For some reason I immediately thought of a) a king. Then King Henry VIII. Strong, large, with his sword by his side. The ability to cut off someones head. Suddenly I felt very powerful, calm, masterful and in control.


The next day, I had reason to use my King Henry VIII imagery as I had just been to see a GP at the emergency walk-in centre who told me I might have hospital-induced pneumonia, that my BP was 150/101, so very high and that I had a high temperature. My chest sounded terrible. I also told her I thought my diverticulitis was just starting up again as I had had tummy pain from the morning. Initially she was typing some prescriptions, but upon hearing about the diverticulitis decided I should go straight to A&E. I was already feeling rather anxious about all this information, had packed a hospital bag (in case of need) and took a cab to A&E, where I used my imagery of King Henry VIII. It was the only real tool I had to try and calm me down, as well as looking to the right (looking left is where part of my traumas lie). Upon arrival to A&E, after being triaged and admitted to the 'Majors' dept, I had an  ECG, BP, temperature taken, was left for a few minutes and then I started howling in distress. I was told to be quiet and 'what is all this about?' by a very dismissive and unsympathetic nurse. I tried to use my imagery again, but actually the tears were very needed, both then and much later when I returned home. I am sure even King Henry VIII must have cried at some point or another. I put my armour down and succumbed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Race Horse

In my SE® session today, T (Therapist) described me as a 'race-horse'. T had done that before. It wasn't meant in a derogatory fashion. T said I did need to go fast - it is how I am, but that race horses need a great deal of care, that behind the scenes they are given massages, horse-osteopathy, special diets - they have a lot of self care in order to maintain them. It is an interesting idea - but perhaps one I should try and embrace for the race-horse human that I am.

T decided to try Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy on me. Last time (quite a few sessions ago) we had tried to do something involving physical contact (T just reaching and walking towards me in the room), I had totally "frozen." T said, at the end of the session, that I had made enormous progress and that this session far exceeded T's expectations.

I had to lie supine on a couch. T communicated where T was at all times. We spent a few minutes talking before T even begun work. I had my glasses off, so only had limited vision.  T sat to my right side. T asked permission before T placed one hand on the top of my right shin and under my right shoulder. T just stayed in that position for sometime, trying to 'tune in' to my body. T and I communicated closely together about how things felt. I said that initially my chest felt tight and then my throat. After a short time this past and then I was stuck with my usual left-sided problems with pain and hyper-sensitivity in my left calf and a feeling of sharp edges to my upper-left quadrant.

Gradually I started to settle and my breathing became deeper and more relaxed. T spent some 15-20 minutes in the same position, not moving, tuning into my 'tide' and what could be felt. Towards the end of that time I had a few sharp 'spasms' or 'twitches' in my thoracic spine. They weren't painful. We kept me in a place of safety at all times, me talking about my favourite place in Piccadilly, and putting blue butterflies into my left side.

Towards to the end of the session T moved to my feet and placed hands on the top of my feet. I felt quite OK with all of this. At times during the session, my eyes closed. I 'almost' felt relaxed.

After the session, I felt very relaxed, but also strangely quite "high" and energized. When I got back home I wanted to dance - which I did briefly.

I slept "normally" - nothing special though or different to normal.

The next day, I woken up with my back and back-line, hamstrings in spasm. I had a warm bath and ate breakfast, before briefly returning to bed and then decided I should really try and go for a walk. Whilst on the walk, my pain was quite awful and I felt queasy, and kept yawning. I got home and had to resort to taking a lot of painkillers, had to have another bath and some more time in bed. I am at a loss of how to make the connection with the pain and the session. This evening, I am still in pain, but it is more manageable. I feel quite low and rather flat. I will see how things change over the coming days.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rest and Digest - just being mindful - Somatic Experiencing® Session

I had an interesting SE session, albeit strangely devoid of any activity, which I felt was quite a challenge, but didn't particularly feed back to my Therapist (T) at the end of the session.

At the beginning of the session I gave feedback about what had been going on since my previous session of 3 weeks ago. One thing that I had been all the way down my 'deep back line' (Myers), where my whole front was devoid of pain and that my deep core muscles weren't firing causing the superficial ones to overwork, something very typical for people like myself with Ehlers-Danlos Hypermobility Syndrome. This, compounded with stress about a book on Bowen Technique I was finishing were also contributing to fatigue and poor sleep. I reported to starting to feel my bucket was red and towards overflowing and that I felt overwhelmed and had difficulty at work earlier in the day. I also talked about how it was difficult to do my work in the bath on my back (harder to reach all places, even with my hypermobility). T suggested using a large towel and holding it in different ways to give proprioceptive feedback which could be just as effective. I reported to T that I had been using my hand-on-heart and fingers together (in a triangle) over the last few weeks to great effect, as well as the "arms pushing away in different directions, saying 'no.'

I said I had also been imagining the state of my blue bucket and the calm that instilled and where I wanted to be going (see earlier sessions for information about buckets!!). T asked me to look at large blue towel in the room. I spotted the blue ball I had played with in previous sessions and that T was wearing blue and that there was a blue candle holder. I sat with those objects in view and started to breathe more deeply, thus activating my parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). T said we had 42 minutes left of the session for me just to sit and rest, knowing I was very stressed with many pressing things. I said how I felt guilty about doing nothing and that I didn't do enough. I spoke about how when I was a child I recalled being told 'why can't you be more like x' and that I felt 'lazy.' T said this was incredible (considering what T knew I was doing). I said how I had already discussed being lazy and guilty earlier in the week in therapy.

After some minutes my tummy started gurgling - another sign my parasympathetic system was now predominate. It was towards 2.10pm and getting late for lunch - I felt hungry, something I had not been feeling for some days, coupled with the fact my tummy had been very poorly - with chronic constipation as per my Hypermobility Syndrome. We had a discussion about digestion in general and how if the parasympathetic nervous system was allowed to work more often that this might improve and sleep, and that I might awake feeling more 'rested and refreshed' so the parasympathetic system could become more dominate and that it is because my sympathetic nervous system is so dominate that it is impeding quality REM sleep and negating any rest and repair - hence constantly waking feeling exhausted.

Even though I was just sitting doing very little I finally rested my head on the back of the chair and finally let my eyes close. I looked (and felt) a lot more peaceful - so why is this so hard for me in practice!! I left the session much more grounded and calmer and rested.

T told me how pleased my boss was with me and we talked about my achievements and how many people were very happy with what I was doing.

I left the session in a better place and today as I am writing this feel more rested following completing my book.

Next week T might be doing Craniosacral Therapy with me so we can introduce an element of "touch" and physical contact into my ongoing treatment. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In 'Shell-Shock' like state!

I am going through some interesting, but challenging processes at the moment. Firstly, I have been in huge pain (all down the back-line (Myers) of my body, and been suffering and experiencing extreme fatigue and exhaustion. This morning, I started doing some work on a book I am completing, and started off by really struggling because I was just so fatigued, but then decided to include a huge amount in the dance chapter I am writing about my specialist subject of 'hypermobility' and 'hypermobility sydromes' because it is so relevant to dance. My chapter then expanded enormously. I then went down to lunch at this wonderful writer's retreat I am staying at in North Devon in a state of what I can only describe as 'shell-shock.' I felt muted, stunned and like a rabbit caught in the headlights. I felt cold, had peed an enormous amount, and found myself regularly dissociating during lunch. I think because  I felt so stressed and anxious, it was easy to see why I went out of my body, and I am feeling overloaded and overwhelmed, so possibly in the 'red' state of my bucket, with a book deadline that is really looming.

It is hard for me to stop working at this brutal pace now for about the next ten days, but I am then going to have to factor in some serious rest and relaxation. In the meantime, I have until Saturday at my writer's retreat, and can have Sunday as a "sleeping" day at home, and try and sleep when I can here, at the retreat. I have been doing my bath exercises, but now am going to have to try and turn the stress-pedal down as I am now working in a hyper-adrenal state which will only go to one end - burn-out. Self-soothing and a long walk might help today!