November 14, 2008
The Drug of Dissociation
For the first time ever--at least that I'm aware of--it doesn't look like I'm going to get a break between the "end-of-the-summer/back-to-school freak-out" and my annual "holiday freak-out." Good God! Can we really be coming up on Thanksgiving already? I can't begin to describe to you my exhaustion.
I've also been dealing with a lot of body pain lately. My therapist says they are body memories. I had no idea that my goal of being in my body would be so much fun. Not!
I want to go on record, right here and now, of saying that I officially apologize to anyone on this planet who deals with chronic pain. I'm sorry that I could not empathize with you before. Having been out of my body for most of my life, I must admit that I thought chronic pain sufferers were a bit on the weak side. Of course, I couldn't know their pain--couldn't empathize--because I didn't know pain. If one is not in one's body, one does not know physical, body pain very well.
I also want to admit that I can't take much credit for giving birth to my son without the help of pain killers. It was my goal to have a birth experience that was natural, and not have any drugs in my system or that of my newborn's. Even with back labor, I did not have anything to take the edge off. Now, I'm not saying that I didn't feel anything. And I did have a doula to help me. But, I did get through what must have been some pretty agonizing pain without any drugs, and it wasn't that hard.
I guess, all along, what I had was my drug of choice: it was the drug of dissociation.
Well, guess what, folks? My lifelong drug is wearing off! And, right now, the withdrawal really sucks!
As I think I said in a previous post, this "back-to-school freak-out" season, I've managed to stay out of the hospital. What I've done instead is a shit-load of therapy. Some days have required three hours of therapy. Some weeks have required as much as five hours.
We're getting down to the nitty-gritty of the most heinous torture aspects of my child abuse. I won't get into the gorey, triggering details, but the body pain has been freaky. I've especially had a lot of pain in my wrists, ankles, neck and back. A really weird one is sudden pain at the top of my head...in my scalp! If you can imagine the logistics of immobilizing and torturing a body, you get the idea of maybe why these particular body parts would be telling their story through pain.
And they are telling their abuse story. The good news is that my therapist and I really are getting a lot done in trauma processing as of late. I just don't have much energy for anything else right now.
And sometimes I revert back to the place where I think these memories will kill me. I think, what I did is learn to dissociate at a very early age. I guess I'm convinced that the pain, fear, and knowledge of the abuse will kill me because--through my dissociation--I don't realize that I've actually lived through it already.
Just this Wednesday, I was at the end of my regularly-scheduled therapy session, and I was so consumed by the horror and actual, physical pain of an emerging torture memory, that I got white as a sheet and broke out in a cold sweat. I excused myself and went into the bathroom. I could see in the bathroom mirror that all the color had drained from my face. I felt a bit better when I returned to my T's office, but she was so worried about me that she insisted on walking me to my car. Outside, the fresh air revived me a bit. After sitting in my car for a while, gulping fresh air, I was able to drive home.
Because my T had a cancellation that day, we were able to make another appointment for three hours later. That way, I was able to get some completion on some of this particular trauma processing, and not have it hanging over my head until next week's session.
This is what it's been like for me, being in my body lately.
The upside is that I've been much more consistent at taking care of, pampering, and comforting my body as well. I've been utilizing a lot of these comforting techniques and products these days: deep-penetrating cream for muscle pain, over-the-counter pain meds, calcium and magnesium supplements, my heating pad, massage from my wonderful husband's healing hands (when I can tolerate it), hot tea, soothing music CD's with nature sounds, the cascading water in my fountain, fresh flowers, various types of aromatherapy, cozy, soft pj's and loungewear, stuffed animals...and comfort food. Diet, be damned! As a matter of fact, I'm going for some mac 'n' cheese as soon as I'm done with this post.
When the pain starts to get to me, I've just got to remember some of these cozy, yummy, positive aspects of now being in my body.
Please continue to be patient with me as I continue to comfort, cocoon and convalesce. Thanks!