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
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.