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!