In her previous post, Thriving on the Other Side talked about the Tone she kept hearing as an dread-filled soundtrack to her history of child abuse. With the help of her therapist and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, she continues her journey to healing.
After the Tone released, I was on top of the world. I had energy and felt so alive.
Then in the past couple of months my neck and head have been worse than usual. My cervical vertebrae won’t stay in place and I’m hurting.
In my 30s, I had body position I called the Turtle. I would wake up in the morning with my shoulders pulled up around my ears and my head and neck sucked back into my spine. Just like a turtle going into its shell.
I went to see my fabulous osteopath and he spent an hour working with my head and neck. In the end, he put six cervical vertebrae back into place. WOW. He asked me if I was stressed, and I said “No”. Because I’m not.
Then, I began to realize that I was “Turtling” again. As I fell asleep at night, I’d feel my neck pulling into the Turtle position, as if I were trying to escape, to hide. As I focused on relaxing those muscles, I’d relax — and then immediately feel the flinch begin again.
I thought I had healed the Turtle, but I realized I was wrong. After three weeks in a row of osteopathic visits and cervical vertebrae out of alignment, I decided it had to be an energetic memory. So I went to Sue and we did an EMDR session all around the pain in my neck and head.
I slid into the lights and almost immediately was back in my little girl time, wailing in a way that was so raw, so primal — I felt overwhelmed, in pain, horrified. Then my neck flinched up and I drew into a tight Turtle position, hiding even as the pain increases.
And then I knew. The Turtle is the physical and energetic memory of the first time my father physically assaulted me.
I felt the pain in my little girl place, the horror and overwhelmed feeling. The Turtle flinch was a way of distracting from the reality of what was happening to me.
I can’t even imagine the pain, the confusion, the overwhelming powerlessness. I take that back — I can begin to imagine it now, as I hold my little girl and try to comfort her.
As I write this, I’ve done a second EMDR session to try and release that memory. But my little girl is still too afraid to enter the room where that memory lives.
In my light session this week I went to sleep every time I tried to go through that door. That’s a sign of a dissociative state. Exhaustion, overwhelming urges to sleep — that’s a sure sign something needs to come up. But I’m not ready yet; my little girl isn’t ready.
I’m aware that the Tone is back too. Deeper, more ominous than ever before. The fear, the dread is overwhelming. So much so that as I write this I find myself Turtling, my neck hurting, my head killing me, my entire body wanting to go to sleep — to leave this reality entirely.
We still have more doors to open and I know these are the deepest, oldest, most sludge filled closets yet to be cleaned.
Healing is a journey, one that I’ll follow, because I can’t go back to ignoring it anymore. The light is too bright on the Other Side. Opening these doors will only make that light brighter — after the darkness is released.
“Turtle” Ned Raggett @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.
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