I think to make the I have to preface the story by disclosing that I was raped repeatedly between the ages of 3-5, and I only began to relate to how that experience impacted my life a little over 6 years ago.
There were a lot of other lame, terrible things from my childhood that exacerbated the situation, but I’m pretty sure the humiliation seeds that were planted by the rape and molestation experience during that impressionable time created some fundamental flaws in my operating system that I’ve been diligently trying to reprogram in recent years.
The second factor in this experience is that for most of my life, I wanted to die…I felt embarrassed that I hadn’t yet been strong enough to kill myself…but the truth is, killing myself would not have been enough to satisfy the ick that I felt lived inside me. My real preference would have been to have never been…The real accomplishment would have been to erase the fact that I had ever been.
This feeling didn’t live in my mind. There were certainly thoughts that lived in my mind that would stir up whenever the feeling was particularly awake, but as I began the work of reintegrating into my body, I learned that the feeling actually lived in my body. My suicidal ideation was my mind trying to make heads or tails of an aching in my body as it mourned for itself (since I hadn’t been able to consciously mourn with it/for it). The ache was so dense and so persistent, it was like a black hole in the core of my being that fed itself on my life force.
That’s the setup.
Here’s the pivot.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been doing trauma work for about 6 years now, mostly with a coach who lives in Boulder (I live in Louisiana). He calls me twice a month and we process for about two hours, mostly about what is happening in my professional and personal life and about what I’d like to do about what’s happening in the present, how I relate to it, and what I’d like to be moving my life towards. It is not therapy by any means. In fact, therapy was something we attempted to get going for me as part of the larger work we were doing…but for many reasons, the therapy I’ve had thus far hasn’t really worked for me.
So after six years of trauma work and four and a half years of being free of suicidal ideation, I found myself stuck in a 6 month period where I felt like the black hole inside me was taking over again. It churned incessantly, and made other kinds of touch and interaction feel creepy too. My whole right side of my body was off limits for touch, even from my beautiful most gentle most precious wifey. I felt like a scared little child, unable to talk to almost anyone. I’m a performer by trade, and performances during this time were were nauseating and scary. I felt like I was in hell, but at leat in all of it, I was able to note that the hell my body imagined it was in didn’t actually match up with reality. That alone indicated progress.
I didn’t try to escape it, but I did get concerned about what that level of constant anxiety was doing to my body / health. I started looking into micro-dosing MDMA or mushrooms if I couldn’t get a medical grade line on the other stuff. I felt like I needed something that would get at the fundamental engine of that black hole, and no amount of CBT, NLP or EMDR was doing the trick. I had reached a “by any means necessary” fever pitch of fear. I felt I needed results.
Then one night in Mid-March, Liz (the wifey) and I were in a small hotel at the beach for a get away weekend. I was struggling. I had snapped at her earlier in the day and was in a shut down posture. I don’t know what was different about this particular, but I found myself wanting to confront this posture. I took the space I needed and wrote feverishly for a few hours trying to get down every observation and question about this feeling I could capture.
In-so-doing, I found myself writing down the words “soul wounding” as a descriptive for the black hole inside me… I had never used those words before. I leaned in. I wrote everything I could think of about what those words meant to me. I had questions about the source, questions about what could be done, questions about “what’s the big F’ing deal!!??” I didn’t judge though. I just got it all down.
Here’s the weird part.
I woke up around 2am that night feeling like I needed to talk to Liz about the stuff I had written, and as we talked, she tried to get me to explain it more. I told her the feeling was a physical aching in my body that felt like it was made of tar. She asked me where it was and I realized it was a spot towards the right side of my torso, and I put her hand on my body where the feeling lived. As soon as her hand touched me I started bawling uncontrollably.
I talked all through the tears, describing what it felt like, what was coming up, etc. and just wailed like that for a couple of minutes. Then she moved her hand away and I instantly stopped crying. She asked if it were in other parts of my body and started moving her hand around my torso in particular, but I had no response. Then I took her and again moved it back to the spot, and Bam! Waterworks! This time with coughing and spasm-ing and all kinds of other crazy nonsense. We kept her hand pressed into the spot for just a few minutes more, and when she moved it, tears disappeared. I laughed even, not because I was embarrassed, but because I felt so relieved.
It’s been almost three months now and that familiar tar feeling in my gut has not been back since, and I’d never expected to know what it was like to live without it. I’ve gotten back into, I’ve started writing for a local magazine, I’m investing in my work again… I feel like I got back about 80% of the energy, and in general I find myself a lot more available and a lot less defensive than I’ve known myself to be.
Basically, I feel like a different person, but I’m still trying to figure out what happened, maybe because I think I’m scared that the changes won’t be lasting.
Ah well, here’s to the journey!