Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remembering Yet Another Old Trauma

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I went to a class today at Pathways Health Crisis Resource Center.  The class focuses on the amazing power of conscious breathing.  I have previously done breathwork workshops, a week long intensive training and even a 'vacation' on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i in which I enjoyed the beauties of the ocean while doing daily breathing sessions with breathwork practitioner Christian de la Huerta.  It is indeed amazing what we can unleash through the power of conscious intention.

When I arrived this morning I did not have any particular intention in my thoughts to use as a focus for the class.  Because I am currently doing intensive therapy to build a new life and new identity for myself (one that is free of the influence of deep trauma) it is perhaps true that other painful material from my past rises to the surface of my awareness much more easily.  That would be my educated guess as to how to describe part of what is happening to me.

This morning I found myself recalling an upsetting incident from my childhood.  I once fell backwards down the flight of stairs in my home.  It is scary enough to fall down a flight of stairs and actually see what you are rolling into.  It was even more frightening to fall backwards; I couldn't even see what was happening to me.  I could see where I was falling from rather than where I was falling to.  I do not recall that my father took me to a doctor or chiropractor to get medical care after the incident.  I do not even remember now if I told my dad about the incident.  But what I did remember more fully today, many years later, was the pain and fear I felt in those seconds of the actual descent I unexpectedly made down the stairs.  From what I have read of trauma it is not unusual for people to perceive the passage of time in a very different way when a traumatic incident is unfolding.  A perception that time is suddenly moving very, very slowly seems to be a not uncommon experience.  I still don't recall how I sensed time passing when I was falling down the stairs.  But it was amazing to remember how much fear and even terror I felt.  I can recall worrying that my fall would be broken by something that might also break my own head open.

The condition of my head and neck has been on my mind recently after my most recent massage sessions.  My massage therapist mentioned that cranial-sacral work might prove of benefit to me as I continue to engage in my healing process.  I have had more than one physical accident in my life that could have adversely affected my brain function and/or the alignment of my cervical spine. X-rays taken in 2008 revealed that I have a reversed cervical spine curvature.  I don't have films from my early childhood to compare them against but I would not be surprised if the curvature in my neck is a result of the accumulation of traumas in which my head was affected.

As I moved through the breath session today I plunged down into the fear and pain I felt that day I fell down the stairs.  It's obvious to me that the pain of that experience had not fully healed because there it was today bubbling up into my conscious awareness.  So I am going to address this incident in two ways.  I am going to ask my therapist to use EMDR to help rid my brain of the traumatic memory and associated emotions.  I am also going to seek out physical therapy at a local alternative medicine clinic in which the care will be covered through my insurance.  Such care will help to address any ongoing structural issues.

There are moments in my ongoing process of recovery in which I have what I would call 'self-pathologizing' thoughts.  One of the shadow aspects of being a Virgo is Virgos can become borderline obsessive in their dedication to their health.  One little symptom can spark a virtual tidal wave of anxiety as an 'overly Virgo mind' seeks to find the cause such that a cure can be found.  I find myself worrying less and less as I continue to feel better and renovate the basic structure of my life.  And I believe it is also important to recognize that some degree of anxiety is perfectly normal as a person engages in a deep and lengthy healing process. Indeed, even though I am no longer clinically depressed (I haven't been for probably at least two months now!) I do still feel a fairly significant level of anxiety. But thankfully the quality of the anxiety is changing.  More and more the anxiety I feel is a positive form of anxiety that a person would typically feel when excited by the prospect of exciting and healthy developments in life.

There are essentially no leaves left on the trees now.  Winter will be announcing itself with impressive vigor quite soon; snow is in the forecast with temperatures Saturday night possibly dropping below 10F.  It's a bit confusing that as the darkest days of the year approach I feel lighter and lighter.

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