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. 

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