I used to have severe back problems, the result of a car accident when I was in High School. But I was young and they didn’t really bother me until years later when I went on my first extended backpacking trip carrying far too much weight. And then I had some serious back pain.
I began to see a chiropractor who eventually had me walking upright again and relatively pain free. I always dreaded going to see him. The way he would push and pull was painful and my whole body would go tense in anticipation, which only made it worse. I would be sore for a couple of days afterward. But then, like magic, I felt great. Full range of motion, no pain. And that is what kept me going back, even though it was painful.
It is much the way I am feeling about therapy these days. I love my therapist and we have been friends for many years. But I now dread going to see her, and that makes me sad. I am tense and anxious before every session. All her pushing and pulling hurts like hell. Then I am sore for days, weepy and very fragile. But then, like magic, I feel better.
One of my goals was to be able to talk/think about Daphne without being body slammed into memories of pain and terror. We have been working on this for a couple of months and I am happy to say that I am truly getting better at it. She asks me questions that stun me, reduce me to sobbing, and that generally feel like razors going through me. Yet I can now visualize good memories for longer periods of time and smile. I have asked my friends who knew her to share some of their memories with me and this has been a great gift. Details I didn’t know, memories from someone else’s perspective, etc. have given depth and vibrance to my memories. I haven’t perfected this yet, and I still wind up triggering through the terror, but I am definitively making progress and savoring the sweetness of those memories for as long as I can hold onto them.
I know I have a lot more work to do. A lot more painful stuff to push and pull that will be more gut wrenching than this exercise. And it will hurt like hell and I will be sore afterward. But I am already feeling lighter and stronger. And that will keep me going back.