Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Body of Evidence, Part Three

Had my third massage yesterday. Ho boy.

My massage therapist was stove up. Had hurt her back overdoing the grand kid thing. (Is always very startling to me when people younger than I have grand children.) Anyway, she was in obvious pain. I immediately went on guilt overload. "I'll go home I said. You are in no shape to be taking care of anyone. I am fine and do not really need a massage." This was blatant nonsense. My neck and shoulder were killing me and I had been looking forward to the massage for days. "I am fine standing up, she said, it will be alright." I remembered taking care of patients while in splints and casts and/or stoked to the gills on antihistamines or anti-diarrheal agents. Why could I not accept the same ministry? Notice a theme starting here? Meee too.

Okay I am naked on the table and in she comes, blowing her nose. Sinus problems. Damn, more guilt. I begin to sympathize and offer solutions. She then tells me in no uncertain terms, "Beula I can take care of myself. It is not your job. I am taking care of myself right now and do not need or want your help." Did not want my help? The hallelujah chorus plays here. THANK GOD. I relaxed completely. If she keeled over I would lie still and call for a nurse. This woman is a treasure.

Now come the big guns. She is rubbing my feet. They hurt. "I am worried about your heart she says. Be sure and pay attention to your heart." Gor Blimey. Okay I'll try I say. She then attempts to poke her finger clean through my right buttock. I yowl. "Have you been sexually abused she says." Uh, yes I say, why do you ask? "Left over pain from sexual abuse is usually stored in the sciatic/sacral area and sinuses she volunteers. You still have a lot of unexpressed pain here." She again jabs me. I'm a believer. I turn over. She is rubbing my neck, finally. "Do you have issues with your mother she asks." Well...darn... how to answer that? I slowly settle on, "yes." "You are stuck right here." She points to the top of my sternum. "Your neck hurts because your emotions about your mother are stalled in your head and neck. YOU ARE NOT FEELING MUCH OF ANYTHING FROM THE NECK DOWN." Crap, shit, damn, fuck. What does that mean I ask cheerfully. "It means most of your emotions can not be incorporated into your body. You probably cannot identify feelings in your body, only in your head." I am not even sure she is still speaking English. Feel emotions in my body? "Like a nervous stomach she says." I am still in the dark. "I have some homework for you she says. I want you to try and identify one body emotion before next session. Oh, and also work on your mother issues." Yes, I'll get right on that I say. Farts.

I am now back home. I want to do my assignment. I also do not have the vaguest notion of how to go about it. What the hell is a "body emotion?" I do not recognize when I am emoting I now recognize. Okay I do know what I don't know. That is a start.

Help Ethels. What is a body emotion and how do you recognize it? What are the physical manifestations? Do most people feel their emotions in their bodies? Like if you have pain in your big toe you know you are happy? I'm in a void here.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea


Anonymous said...

stress/anger/guilt (1 or all of them - depending on the circumstance) goes right to my neck & shoulders so I get a massive headache, then to my stomach which tenses up and then causes my lower back to hurt, my bowels to constrict... ongoing cycle. I may also wake up in the middle of the night with a panic attack.

I thankfully have a system to "cure" all of this.

Cindy in CO

Beula said...

Cindy, have and have had all of that. Can you attribute different pains to different emotions? If, for instance, your neck begins to hurt can you trace it backward to a specific emotion. If so, then if in future your neck begins to hurt for no apparent reason, do you look for the presence of the emotion? I am really backward in this. What is your "cure" system?

BigAssBelle said...

a pain in your big toe ~ first, that was hysterical.

I immediately went on guilt overload. good grief, this is my constant theme. a number of therapists have (happily) told me "you're the only one of my people who asks about me." um . . . that's dysfunctional? who knew?

emotion in the body. this is freaking me out. my husband gets what he calls a "churny stomach" when distressed about something. i have to tell you, i have always felt just a mite superior to his untherapized ass because i do not get this. not at all. i don't feel my feelings in my body in any way that gets my attention.

now, if i think to myself "i am feeling a feeling here" and then get quiet, centered, and start assessing each part of my body, toe to head, i can "feel" things. i can feel the tension in my neck, in my shoulders. i can feel the ache in my gut. i can feel these things in my body but i have to consciously pay attention to it. no one would ever know by looking.

in contrast, my husband's pain is evident on his face. i only have to look at him head on to know he's got a churny tummy emotional feeling thingy going on.

oh dear. oh dear. more work to do.

Vickie said...

go check her out - she has been through a lot - and I think you might find insite in the post she has up right now - I did.

I don't know my feelings - so maybe I have a mental check list - is it sad? is it mad? is it fear? is it ....?

Perhaps you can apply this same check list sort of thing to your body. You can start at the top of your head and take mental inventory and work it into a sort of meditation thing - tighten and then relax each "part in turn" and see if each part responds and how it feels.

Sciatic/sacral -
stand with your feet loosely together on a wooden floor or some other floor that has lines. Line the outside of your feet up with a line - little toe side - so you will end up standing with your big toes closer together than your heels and you will feel pigeon toed and your heels will feel OUT. Then pretend that you have a soft, light brick between your inner thighs that you are trying to shoot to the wall behind you - this makes your inner thighs go back and your outer/side thighs go forwards - try to relax your butt as you do this. This is yoga move and it releases your sacral area.

Beula said...

belle, "I don't feel my feelings in my body in any way that gets my attention." My dear I think there may be something wrong with us. Who knew?

Okay if I get a sharp stabbing pain in my right lower abdominal quadrant, that I would notice. I would think I had an appendicitis. I would not think, "You are terrified about the out come of the taxes and so are procrastinating about getting them done." I would then go and eat in an attempt to alleviate said sharp stabbing pain. I would never look to an emotional cause.

I have this big growth with feet right under my chin. I never have known what to do with, for or about it.

Beula said...

Vickie, thanks as always. I will try the yoga move, as soon as I understand it.

I will try the checklist. This may be like the blind leading the blind. I begin to suspect the blindness is a way of avoiding responsibility. There are a lot of things I do not want to feel.

Debra said...

I'm somewhere in the middle. I feel very strong pain in my stomach when I'm really stressed or anxious -- kind of like the excitement you felt as a kid the night before Christmas times 100. It's not pleasant. However, I have to have reached maximum capacity to get his hint. Lesser feelings do not register consciously and if they threaten either me, my body or my conscious mind, I eat them. Literally.

I agree that getting quiet and taking an inventory might be your best bet. Just ask yourself what that sore shoulder is about and then listen to your fantasies about it. They're always right.

Big Ass Belle said...

Okay if I get a sharp stabbing pain in my right lower abdominal quadrant, that I would notice. I would think I had an appendicitis. I would not think, "You are terrified about the out come of the taxes and so are procrastinating about getting them done." I would then go and eat in an attempt to alleviate said sharp stabbing pain. I would never look to an emotional cause.

beula, that is so completely me. if i get the feeling without intentionally looking, i just assume it's disease :-) and like debra said, it has to be extreme to get my attention.

you all are just giving me so much to think about.

vickie ~ i used to read fatgirlcamp ~ glad to hear she's got a post up. in my mode of work avoidance, off i go :-)

Anonymous said...

I used to obsess over my symptoms, visualizing how much worse they would get/could get and then they WOULD get worse. It was horrible. I NEVER felt good physically.

Headache – seems to be caused by too much thinking during the day (but not BAD thinking) – work related or kids

Treatment: neck rub/shoulder rub by b/f or using my massager, hot bath, QUIET, tea, focusing on something pleasant if possible (but not TV or reading) – just imagery. If I feel that I really haven’t been on mental overdrive I just take aspirin – if that doesn’t work after 30 mins I go with my system above.

Stomach Ache / intestinal problems / back pain – caused by issues with ex-husband and/or finances (b/f and I just started our own business on the side)

Treatment: hot bath, back massager, tea, advil PM if my stomach can handle it and an ORGASM (lucky little vibrator). Normally after all that I’m passed out in bed, I get a full nights sleep and I’m back to normal in the morning. If it’s during the day and I’m home I’ll go take a walk.

Panic Attacks – had these off and on for years, normally at night when I can’t sleep or I wake up with one.

Treatment: if at night, I get up, go to another room (so as not to disturb the b/f) and turn on ALL the lights in the house. I put normal clothes on (sweats/etc) and I pretend like it’s daytime. I go outside with the porch light on and breath in DEEPLY (or I open the windows so the house gets cold). I watch TV or put on music. I may do chores around the house. I have to completely change my environment. Why this works I don’t know… I don’t think I get them much during the day because my mind is too busy dealing with other crap.

Depression –

Treatment: hugs from b/f – for like, 30 mins if I need it! Orgasms. Laughter. Watching my favorite pick me up movies, a good cry about nothing but usually happens during the movie.

I have REALLY focused on all this the last few months. I couldn’t name my emotions/feelings/etc either. I always thought I just wasn’t in tune emotionally as other people. How wrong I was. I internalized it all, pushed it way down and then my physical body would scream the consequences. After I while when I had a symptom I thought about what happened that day. And it all just started to connect.

Shit, and as I speak, I’m getting a headache!

Cindy in CO

sorry this was long!!!

Anonymous said...

Another note: after 15 years of a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage I was divorced 3 years ago. So my life is now 100% better than it's ever been. A complete turn around. So even though I still get stressed/panicked/sad/etc I know that it will pass. That I'm not in a bad situation anymore. I'm just dealing with every day normal "life" stuff.


Beula said...

Ethels, thank you all for your wise caring comments.

Had my first body emotion I think.

Anxious all day yesterday. Stressing about bills, taxes and "addiction." Went just a little overboard with my food plan. Nothing much, but something non-abstinent at each meal. Caught up with me at 8pm. I ate entire bag of choc. covered raisins. I had purchased these in the wake of my euphoric "living healthy" revelation. Thought I could eat a few each Sunday as a treat. Like a normal eater you know. Guess what I am not a normal eater.

Anyway was scarfing raisins down and my nose began to run, and then my sinuses to drain. Like a spigot had opened. Was noticeable enough to interfere with my eating! In light of yesterday's post and all your comments I stopped eating and sat still and experienced my physical reactions. Took a while but I figured it out. I was sad! Sad about binge, sad about addiction condition, sad about all the lost goodies I have (and will) given up, sad about loss of motivation, sad about loss of my old life, sad about pain of this condition. My body was approximating grief for me. How kind of it. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Is five am and I feel like shit. But I am wiser. My body gave me the opportunity to experience my emotions and discharge them. Did I do it? nope Think I will now have a good cry and then start my day.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea

BigAssBelle said...


Debra said...

What Lynette said: ((((Bea))).

We have to have these experiences so that we learn, so that we become convinced, so that we have the armour of body sense to take with us into the battle.

Sounds like you go it. You go, girl.

Cindy174 said...

She really threw me with the feeling emotions from the neck down. I always get it in my chest when I have a lot of anxiety, but I don't know about the rest. Fear and excitement in my tummy. Anger? Hmm, I repress that one alot, but I think I feel that one all over. I think I really don't have a grasp on what she is talking about. Ask her for details, a chart or something, so we can all get going on it. Inquiring minds want to know. Does she have a book to suggest?

Beula said...

Will do Cindy. I am supposed to go get a hair cut tomorrow and will see her. She also said something else which threw me. "You can not feel anything you are not able to say." ?????

Any thoughts any body?

Cindy174 said...

That lady is deep, really really deep. I want her to give us even more details now. Can't feel anything I am able to say..I must ponder it. On changing the blog template if you go into your profile or after you sign in and you are at the "dashboard" you can click on templates and it give you a choice of templates, I just picked on so I could put my little ticker snake on there.

Debra said...

Hi again, Bea. I have an opinion about "You cannot feel anything you are not able to say." This flies in the face of what we know about child development. There are, as you know, two or three years (or more) before language is a capacity in most humans. Traumas that occur during this preverbal period are usually very difficult, if not impossible, to talk about, and so they tend to express themselves in the body (somatization). Over time, with tremendous patience, some of these feelings can be teased out, but they are more frequently expressed as a "void" or "hole" inside a person. I think this is part of what is meant by "ineffable."

Beula said...

Okay Guys, to many insights in too little time. What SHE actually said was, "If you can' feel it, you can't say it." I got it exactly backwards. Thanx to Debra for catching nonsense I had made out of a profound statement. Now any thoughts any body?

Thanx Cindy. Where and how did you get snake? How do I set up links? I am new to this.

I see HER today for haircut so will let you know about any new teaching she offers. Isn't it amazing this person would be in this tiny conservative town?

Cindy174 said...

I got the snake from the It was pretty easy, it leads you through some choices and then you cut and paste the HTML into a box in your profile or template. You can get to the ticker site by clicking on the web address next to my snake or someone else's ticker. There are many choices for what the actual ticker looks like. I was just playing around when I got there and did it.

Cindy174 said...

I just looked, sorry it is -

Cindy174 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vickie said...

Okay - now please go read:

And when it was:
"You can not feel anything you are not able to say."

I would have commented - we all seem to think too much and not feel enough - so we are not able to label the feelings and verbalize them unless we can think about them.

THEN, when it switched to:
"If you can' feel it, you can't say it."
I would have commented - we can only feel what we can verbalize/think about.

ISN'T this actually the same thing??????

Vickie said...

Does she make multi state house calls????????