Posted by: Marie | January 4, 2010

(218) A window into history

Post #218
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, August 22, 2009]

It’s just after midnight. A few minutes ago, I was jarred from a deep sleep by a sudden wave of heat rushing through my entire body. I felt the need to quickly turn over onto my stomach.

As soon as I rolled onto my front, I felt a pressure on the lumbar section of my backside. It felt like someone had placed his forearm crosswise across my back and was holding me down. My pelvis and waist were paralyzed.

I felt shocks of terror originating in my pelvis and shooting outward – similar to the “tickle in the stomach” one experiences in a car when dropping quickly over a little hill in the road – except it was a jolt of fear rather than a humorous tickle – and the shocks continued to roll outward, over and over rather than one single quick tickle.

I remained frozen and breathless for a few minutes. Then, I started to come out of the sleep state. Finally, in my mind, I was able to “scoot” the arm-like pressure upwards to my shoulder. This relieved the paralysis in my lower body. I didn’t move, but at least I knew I could move, if I ever figured out what direction I wanted to move. However, I felt too scared to move, so I lay very still.

Photo by Martin Chen

As I started waking up a bit, I recognized that I was experiencing a somatic memory. I recognized there was value in observing what was going on with me.

So, after gathering my breath and my wits, but while trying to maintain the dream-like level of consciousness, I allowed the arm-like pressure to roll back down my spine to my lower back. Immediately, the paralysis returned, as did the shocks of terror. This time, nausea joined the original sensations.

I mentally moved the arm-like pressure up and down my spine a few times to help identify and memorize the sensations. Then, finally, I allowed myself the relief of rolling up into a ball.

I wanted to get up and turn on the computer so I could record what I had just experienced – I knew that, by morning, the memory would be deeply buried again. I knew I had to get up immediately and write it down.

But, the terror and nausea were still so strong that I had to stay in the fetal position for a while. It was the only position that felt bearable – to unroll my body would mean feeling vulnerable to being held down again.

While I was still rolled up, I became aware that these sensations felt very familiar. I became aware that I had felt the paralysis and the shocks of terror recently in my waking hours. It took a minute for me to pull the moment from my memory bank – finally, I remembered. Ah . . . it is the sensation I feel when someone directs me on how to move my body – the sensation I felt when I had tried to imagine doing the visualization exercise with Dr. Barb. That explains a few things!

I continued having trouble getting to the place where I could unroll from the fetal position. So, I pretended like I had someone (like a therapist) in the room with me. I imagined that person asking me what was happening. I tried to respond with audible words, but all that came out was a shaky “no” in a little girl’s voice.

As soon as I engaged my vocal cords to produce that single syllable, the waves of terror and nausea violently exploded and consumed my entire body. I felt like I was going to throw up. I tried to stay with it for a few seconds, but the terror was too great and I felt my body go numb. I didn’t try to bring back my body because the emotion was unbearable.

I stayed in the numb place until I woke up enough to straighten my legs. Then, I was able to get up, turn on a light, turn on my computer – and record in writing, from a place of detachment, what I had just experienced.

Now, I’ve answered my duty to my healing. I’m wound down enough that I no longer feel like I’m going to throw up. I think I can go back to sleep.

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