Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Release, Redux

I'm reading over my post from last week and I'm wishing there were a way to bring you inside the experience of that release with me, because I'm afraid my description of it didn't do it enough justice.

I just had to get it out on the screen last week, I think, describe it to you so you knew the basics. Now I'm a little more able to talk about the implications of it all.

It was so surreal, you guys, so completely unlike anything I've ever felt before, that I had to repeat the story out loud to myself and others several times right after it happened or I knew I'd never believe it later. 

As I told you in that blog post. Crazy as a ghost story, that release was.

My body was clenching and atrophying and animalizing (is that a word?) of its own accord, without my permission-- teeth baring, muscles tensing, limbs pulling in and reverting to primitive protective states. It was like...

It was like watching myself go full-caveman. That's what it was like. 

My conscious, intellectual brain was fully online, observing myself, but it had been neatly disengaged from the process taking place at the moment, thank you very much, and my primitive caveman brain stepped in, rubbed her palms together (she has palms), cracked her knuckles (knuckles too... draggy ones, probably), and said, "It's go time. Let's do this."

She is very articulate, my inner caveman. As one might expect.

And that caveman... she just... took over. Didn't let Sherlock get involved for once. For that moment in time, isn't wasn't about hitting invisible brake pedals or turning invisible steering wheels or rehashing invisible injustices or about anger or shame or even about fear.

It was about pulling in the limbs; protecting the vital organs; shielding the face, the teeth, the eyes; it was about bracing the body, holding steady the shell of the self; it was about letting go of the rational and delving deep into the primal.

It was what happens when fight and flight have been thought through (each given their several-thousandths-of-a-second's due) and discarded as not going to work in this case, I'm afraid. 

It was all that was left to do.

And it was simple, really: survive. 

Survive this.

Cover up your softest parts, salvage what you can, and survive it.

The caveman finally got to finish sending her message. 


And then, because of all the work I've done, and because I was well and truly ready, and because it was time, or long past time, or long, long, long past time, depending on your point of view:

It's over, the caveman said. We're safe now.


And like the smoothly-ticking machine it still is, my sympathetic nervous system, built for survival and goddamn good at it, calmly went into shut-down mode for the first time in 23 years, 11 months, 10 days, 18 hours, and 53 minutes.

The deep, unparalleled, unprecedented release of tension that followed began as a trickle at my crown and cascaded in a waterfall over my body, and over the following ten seconds, I went from feeling the most painfully clenched and rigid I'd ever felt in my life (and that is saying something, people) to feeling like a pool of warm, melting, quivering jelly, unable even to lift myself from the couch.

If I'd had time to think about it, it might have been terrifying, it was so sudden and so complete in its reversal; sure and silent as a stroke. As tight as my facial muscles had been the moment before, that's how relaxed they suddenly became: the sensation of melting was almost literal.

My arms were still held aloft, but my hands drooped, I remember. My fingers, my palms, and then my wrists just lost their structure and dropped; my arms, I guess, remained held up by my shoulders, which were naturally taking a bit longer to get the message through every heavily-fortified layer of ballast and buttress that has propped them up for half my life.

They scarcely knew how to stand down.

My abdomen let go like a harshly-stressed dam bursting, and air rang through my open lungs in joyous peals and shouts.

My thighs softened and dropped; my toes touched the floor and slid forward; my legs sprawled out, shaking, unable even to find dignity in the pose.

And the shock of it! Absolute, blank confusion at feeling the titanium rods that have been my trapezius muscles dissolve into (relatively) soft, pliable tissue in an instant. Utter disbelief that my body could be so completely co-opted without my consent. Every sensation as unexpected and foreign as if it came from an external source. 

And then: 


And justlikethat, the moment, the fight... at long, long last... was over.


That captures it a bit better, I think. The... for lack of a better word... the majesty of it. And like I said before, it was so surreal that I might even have convinced myself that I'd made the whole thing up, if it weren't for a few pretty clear, pretty strong, (pretty amazing) signs that things have changed around these here parts.

Better ones, that I didn't tell you about last week!

1. I have skipped not one, but TWO migraines since that night. One was my regular, monthly, menstrual-cycle-related migraine. (This is a Very Big Deal. But as I have learned, I am Not Counting Chickens).

The other migraine I skipped-- and this will be notable for long-time readers of this blog-- was the one I conspicuously did not have after I got an AWESOME MASSAGE last weekend! 

As you may remember, I haven't been able to get massages for years-- like, 10 years or more; I don't remember, it's been so long-- because they trigger migraines. But my migraines, and so many other physical and mental issues, have been exacerbated by my extreme body tension over the years (clearly), so massages weren't a luxury for me, but a therapeutic necessity that I couldn't tolerate. 

Until now! 

Well. One down. One extremely painful, sore-for-days-afterward, infinitely satisfying massage in the bag. We'll see how the next one goes. But things are definitely looking up.

AND: the masseuse didn't make ONE reference to "rocks," "steel," or "wood!" She was the first masseuse I've had in over a decade who didn't react with incredulity at the rigid-and-resistant state of my body! She was actually able to dig in, find trouble spots, and work them out! 

So, there was that. Here's the other cool thing:

2. Remember the off-gassing?

I also called it cold fire, and showed you a demonstration of it in that video with the polar bear, which mirrored my release experience. According to Dr. Oz, and confirmed by my own experience and supported by what you can observe yourself in the video in the link above, it's the feeling you get when trauma energy (not "energy" in a woo-woo, hippie, Bay Area sort of way, but in a literal, muscles-charged, adrenaline-surging sort of way) begins to be released spontaneously by your muscles and "evaporates" through your skin.

That feeling of being cold during an adrenaline crash? That's a form of off-gassing. This feels a little different than that but is the same kind of thing. 

It happens because your body is constantly creating that energy to fuel your muscles to flee-- the fight-or-flight response is constantly "on," but the stored energy has nowhere to go because you don't actually need it, and you've finally moved to a state where your body is allowing that energy to escape rather than turning it against itself.

As you know, if you've been reading for a while, I've been experiencing off-gassing for almost 3 1/2 years, since my first breakthrough with Dr. Oz. It was the first sign that I'd begun to shift the trajectory of this trauma toward recovery.

It's getting late in the day here, so I'm going to have to leave you with this bombshell, but it's a great one, and I'll be back next week to tell you about some more major developments in my life in recent weeks... but anyway, guess what's happened with the off-gassing since the night of the release?

Guess what proves to me a) that it was, and b) that it was what I thought it was, and c) that what has happened really is what I think has happened?

Since the release, the off-gassing doesn't happen anymore. The switch appears to have been turned off. My body has stopped-- has it? has it finally stopped?-- it appears to have stopped (!!) churning out ghosts. 

The cold fire, you guys. 

It's gone.

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