Feeling Much Better

These last few weeks I’ve been feeling much better.  It started with the work with the inner baby and 5-yr-old described in the last post.  I feel like I’ve come over a threshold, I feel solid and real and confident.  I feel like I’ve been climbing a cliff my whole life, with occasional rests on ledges when I thought I was “all better now”, and then on the cliff again when triggered.  Now I feel like I’ve gotten to the top, I can walk easily on flat ground and survey the territory.  The feeling of strength is quite new, I don’t think I’ve ever felt strong in quite this way.  I don’t feel rigid or armored, I feel flexible.  I’ve been fascinated by the flocks of birds that come to the seed on my patio.  Something will startle them and a whole group will take flight, moving together fluidly, not rigidly like soldiers on parade.  The flock is flexible, it can expand or contract, divide to go around something, perform a tilting turn to the right, land in a tree one by one.  I feel like the pieces of me are able to move that coherently now.  I’m not always working to hold myself together with tension in my muscles, but can relax, knowing I will stay together.  I know that this is the gift of Somatic Experiencing, the ability to be with ALL the pieces, even the ones in terrible pain, to welcome them all into the “committee” of me, and not to ask that they change.

Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t have until you get it.  One of the first gifts to me of Somatic Experiencing was the sense of a “floor” under me, such that if I fell apart, the pieces are caught as in a safety net, the ones on the edge don’t drop into outer darkness.  I didn’t know that I was afraid of losing parts of myself, until I became aware that they would be caught.  Most of my life I’ve been struggling along, trying to survive and desperately wanting to be out of the pain.  I had no idea of what “health” would feel like.  Maybe it would be like a time when I felt confident, or when I felt happy.  When I finally got on anti-depressant medication, after several months of building up the dose gradually, I arrived at normal brain chemistry and was completely surprised.  I couldn’t remember EVER having felt that way.  I also discovered that life was so much EASIER.  Being depressed is like carrying an invisible 500 pounds.  Nobody knows it’s there and they wonder why you can’t keep up.  Maybe you are lazy or don’t really want to.  You start to believe these invalidating messages because you can’t see what’s really slowing you down.

Yet another gift of the trauma work was beginning to reach out to people, make friends, ask for help. When I first got on medication I was surprised to see how easily I could be friendly with the girl at the check-out or the guy at the car wash.  I became aware that when I was depressed, I felt like a dark cloud and didn’t want to inflict myself on anyone.  When I’m depressed or terrified it’s painful to be with people in any kind of ordinary activity.  It just hurts worse to see people having a good time when you can’t.  I would feel better when I was by myself and didn’t have to keep up a front.  Recently that has changed radically.  In the last year or so I’ve been fine being with ordinary people doing ordinary things, and gotten depressed again when they go away.  NOW I’m comfortable either way.  I hope it stays like this but if it changes I have lots of ways to deal with it.

One of the things that’s helped this transition has been creating a small group of support. During the last few years, when I realized I needed more help just to keep going, I asked some people I knew if they would be willing to come have cups of tea, and/or walk the dog, and when they were willing to do that I asked if they would be willing to listen to me read about grief and depression.  When they were willing to witness me that way I began to feel much more safe with them.  Too often people I think of as friends have said very hurtful things if I speak of being depressed or terrified, and I’ve learned to be very cautious.

This entry was posted in Healing. Bookmark the permalink.