Thursday, August 5, 2010

She laughed until she cried

She laughed until she cried

Do you ever laugh at something that seems strikingly funny – and then suddenly you realize you’re no longer laughing, but rather crying, and what seemed so insanely funny a minute ago doesn’t seem funny at all now, and you feel incredibly sad and hopeless?

That happened to me today. The therapist has been throwing different techniques, ideas, suggestions at me to see what might stick. Which, knowing me, she will probably throw 100 different things and maybe 5 will Velcro to my skin and infiltrate into my crazybrain in a way I can incorporate it into my life in a helpful way. I know that…and she knows that.

Today we spent a lot of time talking about the somatic sensations that happen at night when the follies begin and she told me about a trauma therapist, J. Eric Gentry, PhD, and his suggestion that relaxing the muscles of the pelvic region will lead to self-regulation, which, as you can see from the excerpts below, this can pretty much lead to winning the lottery.

As I read through this alone, and then with a couple of trusty friends, humorous Grace began to show her face laughing and joking that the *pelvic* muscles can be the key to happiness. (Makes sense…they were always the key to someone’s happiness, just never mine) For real, I wish someone would have told me years ago that relaxing the vag muscles (the anti-kegal exercise) is like the holy grail! The paper goes on to say that many trauma survivors cannot feel these muscles and should this happen to you, you might perhaps seek the assistance of a professional massage therapist who can assist you in “locating and releasing your pelvic muscles.” Um what? Can I also get a Brazilian wax while I’m there? You mean if I relax my “pelvic floor” muscles I can handle criticism with grace? Like bossman could call with a complaint and I’d be all, “Hold on, I gotta relax the vag muscles so I don’t get defensive.” I always knew that men think with their dick a lot of times, but I had no idea that I could find peace just in my vagina! Who knew! And who knew that just relaxing your ass and vag you will feel safe and connected. AND! Bonus! I just need to get in touch with my “core” and “realax” the muscles “Down There” and I’ll Experience INTIMACY! OMG! I’ve always wondered what that was like!!! For real! And she went on and on and on…and we were all laughing like Humorous Grace was performing a stand up routine!

Then she called the therapist and inquired if this perhaps was meant for another, more “new agey” client, and the therapist insisted it was not, and that we could “work on this” in session. And Humorous Grace was all, “Um, if you think you and I are going to sit around and practice vaginal relaxation exercises, I’ll pass.” And the therapist was beginning to get annoyed so she was all like, “Grace, it was just a suggestion – you can take parts of it, or not, or store it somewhere and pick it back up later.” And Humorous Grace, clearly with un-relaxed vag and ass muscles was like, “Cool – T…shall I store it in the box of tampons?” and suddenly Humorous Grace disappeared and was replaced by hopeless Grace, and hopeless Grace said, “I don’t get it.” As her voice started to crack. Hopeless Grace cried tears of frustration because she really does not get it.

Hopeless Grace remains in charge tonight, and she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t get any of it. She is hurting and feeling like there is nothing left to be done. With each passing moment the distant flickering light that did represent hope grows dimmer and dimmer….

I don’t get it. I don’t FEEL anything. I don’t UNDERSTAND this. I am left without hope. That isn’t funny…

(excerpt from article)

If you keep your pelvic muscles released and relaxed for 30 seconds you will begin to notice the clear differences in yourself as you transition from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance. You will first notice comfort in your body. As you release the tension and stress that you yourself have been generating you will become aware that your body is comfortable-no matter what is going on around you. If we are able to keep our pelvic muscles relaxed then we will be rewarded with a lessening of “stress” and the restoration of optimal functioning in our thinking and actions. With this self-regulation, we will be able to comfortably seek creative solutions to problems and situations that used to leave us baffled, exhausted, and frustrated.

By practicing the release and relaxation of these muscles, we can gradually shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance. The rewards of this transformation include comfort in our bodies, maximal morot and cognitive functioning, ability to tolerate intimacy, self-regulation, internal vs external locus of control, ability to remain mission/principle driven, increased tolerance, increased effectiveness, and increased health of our body’s systems.

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