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Day 19 Second breakthrough

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by jokeysmurf, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Peer Supporter

    I revisited some old things, writings and exercises I learned and somewhat forgot. I had been dealing with back spasms and some stomach cramping and random muscle aches, also off and on spaciness and dizziness.

    I thought maybe I missed something. I felt I was doing things right. I said oh well just keep going. I went to visit a friend and it was very hot out. He lives in Phoenix.

    He suggested we sit by the pool and relax. The heat kicked up my anxiety...a lot. I felt swirling, but at times I was able to genuinely relax. I decided to take notice when this happened. I realized what was going on, I was naturally orienting or shifting my focus to something else besides my symptoms. And I felt a huge release and relief. Things just seemed to dissolve.
    My anxiety would rise again and this time I really started to treat it differently, without fear or judgement but just as a...thing. I then shifted my focus to a tree just past the pool and noticed it happened again, a release and a feeling of calmness and relaxation. This went on for a few hours but I wasn't resisting or trying to control anything I was merely allowing the anxiety to come up, noticing it without any judgment or fear and then shift my focus and it would naturally fall away.

    Sure this was too easy! So I tried it with everything, with back spasm. It worked also. With some nausea, it worked again. It worked again and again over and over. I was stunned at how easy it was and also delighted.

    Maybe this is what Dr. weekes meant by acceptance? Maybe I had been faking it til I made it so to speak, until now. So I reviewed some old notes from Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing books. Aha! I was doing two things, Pendulation - going back and forth between something "red" and something "blue" or from something uncomfortable to something positive or neutral. It was brilliant! Secondly I was orienting. Which is what people and animals do naturally when they come out of a freeze state. Orientation- is basically as it sounds shifting your focus and just noticing what is around you, but doing it without ascribing meaning or things associated with fear. So for example I might see a pool and an anxious thought might be "I can't swim, I'd rather not go in and make a fool of nyself and drown" instead to orient would be to see how blue it is, the squareness of the pool and how the wind make small waves and reflections. Nothing about this statement is related to "meaning"

    I also was tracking somatically and practicing acceptance and reacting without fear all by just shifting my focus.

    Where I went wrong in the past: there is something often referred to as a "threshold." This is the point where we become overwhelmed. Unfortunately everything I have read about anxiety never talks about this. We are simply taught to feel it and it feels like we are merely enduring. Alan Gordon talks about leaning into anxiety. I'd like to add that this is true and that for me it meant when I feel the anxiety becoming perhaps too strong is when I shift my focus with no judgment at all and taking simple notice of something outside of my self. Well, Since I love trees, I use them a lot but it can really be anything. It worked like magic for me. I realize I am teaching my brain to be calm. It has gotten so used to being hyper focused that it is resisting calmness like the plague.

    The first two days I had to shift feeling the edge of the threshold of anxiety for just about everything from the a.m. Until bed time. I was catching it very single time and every single time it would reduce. Picture the game of Tetris where things build and if the right piece gets inserted they collapse or release. Now it's not ideal to go through your whole day doing this but I realize that I probably have to do this for a bit until my brain gets the message. That I am safe, and not adding second fear to sensations. I am on day 4, feeling fewer and less intense symptoms for the first time in a month and even the anxiety seems to be way less significant.

    I also felt true joy in my body. Relaxination and being one; wholeness and not like a segmented person of multiple symptoms just managing things and working very hard at getting through the day.

    I hope my version of what I have been doing can help someone.

    Happy healing
     
  2. Andy B

    Andy B Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi jokeysmurf,

    I love your report. I think it will be very helpful for others!!! You present a beautiful story, how you discover this approach, and then have the inspiration and excitement of almost continual practice ---and enjoy the results. I have studied somatic experiencing, but never heard anyone on this forum describe their immediate application and success.

    Andy B
     
  3. jokeysmurf

    jokeysmurf Peer Supporter

    Thanks Andy. I had been using SE for the greater part of a year, with a very yo-yo kind of effect- until recently it seems. I believe i was moving some large material for a while before things became more stable. From the standpoint of SE, anxiety and almost all somatic symptoms really make sense in terms of polyvagal theory and dysregulation in the body. Almost all non life threatening ailments can be explained through Somatic Experiencing modalities and many of them reversed or improved greatly. The think I like most about SE is taking the thought out of it once you learn things like SIBAM, and allowing the body's innante wisdom to do it's own healing. I have a ways to go in terms of re-wiring the brain and breaking up old unhealthy neuro pathways.

    Cheers.
     

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