Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Scalding Point

I got an email from a friend this week, asking how I was doing and saying that my recent blog posts have her worried, what with all the weird symptoms I've been having. The panic attacks (that has to be what that was last week, right?), the brain/leg disconnect, all of that.

Add to that list the week-long migraine I'm currently trying to conquer. :/

She wondered if I'm more symptomatic these days, or if I'm just writing about it more now.

I think both. But as much as it sucks, I also think of it all as a pretty good sign that things are moving in the right direction.

One of the expected outcomes of this therapy has been that I would start to experience the feelings I've been repressing all these years. I knew that.

What I didn't account for was the extent of it, and the many ways those feelings would manifest. I thought I knew what was coming, and I didn't. It's been one surprise after another.

In its own way, that also makes me glad. Encountering the unexpected makes me believe that I'm truly open to this experience. If I only found what I expected to find, I'd probably be ignoring everything that didn't fit into my pre-conceived notion of what this whole thing would look like.

Anyway. About the symptoms.

I think I'm slowly waking up to the reality of my own body. It might not seem like it, because what I'm encountering is sort of the opposite of feeling-- all that disconnect. I'm discovering first what  I'm NOT feeling, not what I AM feeling.

But the thing is, I wasn't aware of any of that before. I wasn't engaged enough with my body even to know what I was ignoring, let alone what there was to experience. I didn't know what I didn't know, before.

Now I know what I don't know. Or at least, I know that I don't know some things. There might be more that I haven't found yet. There probably are. I wouldn't know. Ha ha. Yet.

So I'm experiencing a lot of that now: the disconnect, the physical distance, the body's capacity for self-preservation. It seems strange that we are capable of keeping secrets from ourselves. And yet I feel like I am stumbling across new hidden truths every day, these days.

The other thing I'm finding is that I wasn't just protecting myself from the negatives, but from the positives as well.

I told you about this before, I know: in the diagrams in this post, I showed you how those boundary lines begin to shrink, with PTSR, until even the normal charge and discharge of energy begins to fall outside of your tolerance levels, and you begin to feel overwhelmed by the simplest, everyday things.

So I knew that. I did. I knew that meant that high emotions of all types were too overwhelming, so I had avoided them for years.

What didn't really hit home was that when I did finally start to relax my boundaries a little and try to let some of this stuff through, it would all feel the same: disconnected, overwhelming, anxious, uncomfortable. 

And physical. Almost completely physical. 

My emotional receptors or translators or whatever the hell they are haven't quite turned on yet, or haven't started communicating with ME about it, anyway, so I find that I am experiencing not emotional feelings but physical ones that seem directly connected to this work.

So, progress feels like a headache, or like a broken connection, or like lungs without air. Of course it does. This is the only language my body knows, at the moment-- the most primitive of sensations understood by the lizard brain: physical pain. The body can react to this instinctively; no emotion necessary.

The difference is: I see it now. My conscious brain is taking notice, finally, and experiencing it not just as discomfort but as an awakening to what's behind it: the body's attempt to re-establish communication. The sound-check screech of an internal microphone:

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

I've been writing more about this stuff, I guess, because I've started to accept it as part of the process and see how it is bringing me closer to integrating everything. For the past two decades, these things-- lack of air, migraines, back troubles-- have been emblems of weakness and failure, things to be ignored or endured in spite of themselves. 

Now they feel like guideposts. Feeling more means feeling more. And though it might feel bad at first, the bad part will eventually be over, and I'll start to experience good feelings as good instead of overwhelming, and somewhere beyond that is equilibrium. That's where I'm trying to go.

It struck me today that this stage of things is a lot like getting into a tub of water that's much too hot. It hurts, at first. It scalds. But if you hold very still, the water around you equalizes, cooling a bit as you heat up to meet your skin halfway, and you can get to a place of comfort again.

For a while after that, every time you move you have to go through that scalding pain again until the proper adjustments are made. 

At some point, you become used to the heat, and the heat becomes used to you, and what was once scalding becomes soothing, and your skin and muscles stop resisting and begin to draw comfort from the warmth.

I'm at the scalding point now. Every motion seems to bring a new burn. But I really do think it's a sign of progress and that someday, maybe even sooner than I think, I'll be able to relax into it, and what's been clenched so tightly inside of me will unfurl and finally bloom.


  1. "Feeling more means feeling more. And though it might feel bad at first, the bad part will eventually be over, and I'll start to experience good feelings as good instead of overwhelming, and somewhere beyond that is equilibrium."

    Here's to that.  One of the things that's ground-breaking about your story, at least for me, is your determination to feel things that the rest of us take for granted.  Would I work that hard to feel more if I didn't already feel plenty?  I kind of think not, which is why your story is so interesting and inspiring.  

    The image of your inner self ultimately unfurling and blooming is lovely.  What do you think that will be like?  How will it manifest itself?

  2. KateTheGirlWhoLived06 October, 2012 14:34

    The whole determined-to-feel-more thing is weird. It took me years and years and years to even notice I wasn't doing it. Because it doesn't feel like something you *do,* it just feels like the way the world works, and you never have a reason to question that.

    This journey feels sometimes like I've gone through life believing that the sky is blue and slowly, over the past five years or so, it's begun to seep into my consciousness that everyone else thinks the sky is purple, and I'm the one who's wrong, and this changes everything--every little thing-- and if this is true then who knows how many other things there are that I've been wrong about, but no matter how hard I stare at it, wanting to see the purple, the sky just looks blue to me.

    No purple anywhere.

    So now I've begun the task of turning my sky purple, which is about as simple as it sounds. (insert what-the-everloving-fuck emoticon here).

    And as for the unfurling and blooming, I'm about to post some thoughts on that. I've been talking to a 19-year old today about metamorphoses, and no one feels that exquisite edge more sharply than a 19-year old, and it's got me thinking...

  3. Some of this really hits home, though I wasn't in a car accident. What's up with that?