Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Therapy #6

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.


  1. A journey can only be taken one step at a time. I am happy that some of your steps have led to beautiful memories.

    {{{more hugs}}}

  2. You are on this huge mountain and looking up at it when you first started, it was unclimbable. But look at you now. You are no longer at the beginning of this tremendous journey. You can actually see, not only the difficult road you've travelled, but that there is an end to the level of pain it took you to get here. Just keep climbing and we'll be here with each step. I'm so inspired by you.

  3. I truly hope you can keep building on this success. It has been bittersweet to share Daphne stories. I am oh so proud to share memories, cry and laugh with you.

  4. "savor the sweetness"

    Yay for you! Big, big hugs.

  5. What a great analogy. If only we all knew that and so sought out the mental health that comes with really having someone push kindly.

    I think of you now when I know you are in therapy. Just wanted you to know.

  6. I can only imagine how hard this must be and I applaud your bravery for sharing it with us. You are working very hard to heal yourself - just hang in there it will pay off!