I met with him a few days later, and told him he couldn't ask questions like that... EVER... I told him to get the book, "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma." I got stuck in the book a few months ago... some of the assignments freaked me out, however, the philosophy behind the book seems the truest of anything I have heard. It talks about how trauma is not caused by a triggering event, but by the residual energy left over. With that definition, ANYTHING could be trauma, and therefore could cause the bizarre symptoms I experience. The book talks about releasing that energy: physically and emotionally, and becoming aware of myself enough to know what I need to heal.
I haven't read it for a while, because it is HARD, and triggering, and... I wasn't ready yet. Now, I'm ready. This is what has stuck out to me today:
"If you want to learn to use the felt sense, and especially if you want to learn to use the felt sense to resolve trauma, you must learn how to recognize the physiological manifestations that underlie your emotional reactions. Sensations come from symptoms, and symptoms come from compressed energy; that energy is what we have to work with in this process. Through sensations and the felt sense, this vast energy can gradually be decompressed and harnessed for the purpose of transforming trauma.The first paragraph described the process I am currently IN. I am trying to recognize the sensations and the emotions and learning how to decompress the energy... and... The second paragraph is the kind of reminder I need CONSTANTLY, because I seem to forget...
Again, remember to be gentle, to take it slow and easy, and don't attach any kind of interpretation or judgment to what you experience. Just let whatever you experience move you through to the next experience." (p. 76)
"If an image of a horrifying scene shows up in your mind's eye, ever so gently notice what sensations come with it. Sometimes, when sensations are intense, images come first. The sensation is ultimately what will help you move through the trauma -- whatever it is. You may end up knowing what it is and you may not. For now, just be reassured that as you move through your reactions, the need to know whether it was real or not will loosen its grip." (p. 78)Sometimes, with Paul's need to know what HAPPENED, I get really confused. I don't need to know WHAT happened, I just want to heal and understand how to heal.
"Be aware that the energies of trauma can be bound up in beliefs about being raped or abused. By challenging these beliefs, especially if they aren't true, some of that energy may be released. If this is the case for you, rest and give yourself plenty of time to process this new information. Stay with the sensations you experience as much as possible, and don't be alarmed if you feel tremulous or weak. Both are evidence that normal discharge is happening. Don't force yourself to do more than you can handle. If you feel tired, take a nap or go to bed early. Part of the grace of the nervous system is that it is constantly self-regulating. What you can't process today will be available to be processed some other time when you are stronger, more resourceful, and better able to do it." (p. 79)First, I DON'T NEED TO REST! I can handle it!!!
Second, what if my body won't let me go to bed early... I mean... it continues to freak out. Do you know how hard it is to sleep while all of that is going on? And Dann moves and I suddenly feel so afraid? And even while I am sleeping... the night terrors and nightmares? What do I do then??
Third, I KNOW things happen just when they are supposed to. I feel overwhelmed, but I have rarely been overwhelmed with too much to process at once. That's really cool.
"One mistake that is made all too often is that people interpret these visual communications as reality. A traumatized individual may end up believing that he or she was raped or tortured when the actual message the organism is trying to convey is that this sensation you are experiencing FEELS like rape or torture. The actual culprit could just as easily have been a terrifying medical procedure, an automobile accident, or even childhood neglect. It could literally be anything.There are a few things I know... But there are a lot of things I don't know. I like that I don't have to know. I don't have to know if the images that come are memories or just my brain's way of trying to explain how it felt. I like it. It feels reassuring and calming and... I am not as afraid of what might come.
Of course, some images really are memories. People who have suffered from rape or torture will draw on those experiences in producing images. It is common for children who have had these experiences not to remember them until years later. Even if the images are "true" memories, we have to understand their role in healing.
The explanation, beliefs, and interpretations connected with memories can get in the way of completely entering and deepening the felt sense. The sensations that accompany these images are immensely valuable." (p. 81)
"For now, it is more important to focus on what you experience rather than on what you think about it." (p. 81)It is such a relief reading all of this, and I feel strangely hopeful... like...
"I can do this!"