Dissociation in response to emotional trauma
"dis·so·ci·a·tion /diˌsōSHēˈāSH(ə)n,diˌsōsēˈāSH(ə)n/Submit noun the disconnection or separation of something from something else or the state of being disconnected."
It seems that life in current times may take us down difficult roads.
I am always interested in the evolution of human beings. In particular the fluctuations of political and social ideologies which removed us from living in hunter and gathering tribes. I am pretty certain that we haven't evolved sufficiently to live solitary lives behind fences and screens.
Sometimes I think what we need most as people are community building skills.
My adult daughter passed away in late October. She suffered during her 21 years with deep emotional traumas, depression, extreme anxiety, and addiction to cope with all her emotional and physical pain.
Losing her was extremely traumatic. I fought for her for so long and so hard. I transformed myself to be strong to do whatever it took to help her get better. It wasn't enough and I couldn't breathe knowing she was gone.
This is when I experienced dissociation with my physical self. I lost hours in deep grief. Drowning in emotional pain and trying to breathe through the pain. I didn't know the day or time and I had to find the strength and will to do the things that had to be done when your child dies.
I knew I was spiraling down into a bad state. I could not allow that because I have two daughters: one who passed away and one who is a lively, cheerful five year old.
So I went to the place where I take my deepest breaths: my Bikram yoga class.
I felt broken. I could not even feel the 104 degree heat. Class began and I began the sequence. It was on the second set of pranayama breathing that I felt myself connect with my physical body again. It was like snapping back into pain and time, and although it felt almost startling, I knew it was needed.
This is what trauma does to the human body: we disconnect from our physical body to run away from pain.
The problem with that is that the human body is a physical being first and much of the healing that occurs at the physical body level affects our emotional state, so when we disconnect we remove ourselves from the body-mind connection.
The first step towards community building is to reconnect to our physical self and find healing through breath and time.
Bodywork sessions are an excellent way to work through dissociation and reconnect to your physical self. During my sessions you are fully clothed, safe on my large and comfortable floor mat, and I work to help you unwind and take deeper, longer breaths. I ask you to breathe during certain phases of work. On each exhale you melt deeper into your body.
Look, I know trauma is not something you get over in one session. Believe me. I still have my difficult moments. I will for the rest of my life. But I do know there are practices which help me towards healing. They will help you, too.
There are helpful practices like bodywork and yoga that create a space within all the pain where we can breathe.
That breath means everything. It allows us to take a step forward.
I love you, Katrina. Thank you for giving me strength. ❤️