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Soft focus

25 Dec

This week’s session with T was as I expected…venting about the physical pain I was in. And talking about how it was affecting me, and how I was handling it. And I talked about a realization I had while writing my Chutes and Ladders post.

I wrote in that post that my knees felt like a slide from square 87 to square 24…and that initially I was going to include my general health in with that, too. But upon reflection, I realized my general health wasn’t quite as bad a slide. I don’t think I would have realized that if I hadn’t had such a visual to work with (i.e. the pictures of the Chutes and Ladders board). I told T that specifically, and she nodded thoughtfully, like she was filing the information away for another time. Oddly, the “another time” came just a few minutes later as we were discussing the pain that I was dealing with.

I asked her that considering how long she’s known me and how much she knows about me, what was her opinion on me breaking down the myriad of pain I was dealing with onto paper. Kind of to show myself what the pain really was, how bad each of it was, and how it was affecting my daily life. I thought maybe if I broke it down in writing–visually–that it would lessen it’s effects. She said she wasn’t sure how it would work for, me, but she said she wanted to talk about another option for releasing focus on the pain.

She asked me to get comfortable in the chair, then told me to find a point to focus on in the room…anything, it didn’t matter. So I found a pillow on the chair across from me and focused on the button in the center. She told me to keep staring at it, focus intently on it. After a minute or so, she told me to now widen my gaze to include my peripheral vision. To take in and notice all the things to the sides and around my focus point. And she asked me how my body felt after I did that.

I noticed a relaxation in my shoulders and upper chest, which is where I hold a lot of my tension. She said this technique is not quite as good as learning to relax your pelvic floor–which she has taught me in the past–but can be almost as helpful. So it’s another tool for me to keep in mind when I need to relax. Focus is an issue when you are anxious, because you tend to keep tensed up and focused–or obsessed–with whatever is upsetting you. People who remain relaxed are less likely to hold pain and anxiety.

Two drivers are on the road, one is drunk and one is sober. The drunk driver veers into the lane of the sober driver. The sober driver tenses up for the collision but the drunk driver has no clue…his/her body remains loose and relaxed. Who usually walks away without injury? The drunk driver, whose body was holding no tension. (It’s horrible, but true.) Babies, toddlers, when they fall, they don’t generally get hurt because they don’t know yet to tense up in anticipation of the fall. Their bodies are loose and limp like noodles. It’s interesting to me to have this conversation with T because when I’m at PT and E starts working on certain mobilization treatments on my knees, I specifically stop to relax myself. I always take a deep breath and relax all my muscles, knowing that if I’m relaxed when she hits a painful area, it hurts less. Well, at least I feel like it hurts less, anyway.

The other thing T and I talked about was doing some trauma work around my physical pain…because the physical pain I have can be related to a traumatic event. Traumatic events will come back up as body memory, so sometimes the pain will feel worse than it really is because the body remembers the original event and treats it as such. I’m not sure if this technique is going to work because she says trauma work really needs a beginning and an end, and I have to really see if I can break down an origination and end point for some of my pain. I guess we’ll see.

My next appointment is the Friday after Christmas. I’ll try to report back.

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