What I had to learn the hard way, and almost by accident, is that healing the mind and the spirit was, at least for me, only possible by focusing on body-based healing strategies. And I can tell you that many, many women I’ve spoken to have found the same to be true.
The first thing I can tell you is that dissociation was a huge problem for me. My PTSD and other stress caused me to dissociate from my body. I’m not talking about a clinically diagnosable dissociative disorder. What I mean is that I felt like my body was a suit that didn’t reflect my mind or my personality. I felt trapped in a body that didn’t match my insides, a body that had betrayed me. A body that was numb and overweight and clumsy. Due to severe stress, I’d gained 75 lbs in two years onto an already-large body, and it had stopped feeling like my own. I know now that was part of my PTSD, the root of which was my childhood abuse. Later, I would discover research that concluded that adult women who’d been sexually abused as children were literally off-balance. We sway when we stand and often bump into things when we walk. In general, we are not spatially in-tune with our physical environments. The abuse has messed with our equilibrium.
See what I’m getting at? The body and the mind are connected in ways that science is only now beginning to understand, but that anyone who has suffered a trauma knows all too well. The thing is, our trauma has caused our nervous systems to get out of whack in a major way. In fact, for many of us, our brains have been rewired to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight.
Our goal in healing then because to ‘reboot’ our nervous systems back to the factory setting. You can’t reboot your nervous system in talk or group therapy, or by reading a book. The only way I’ve found to do it is through the body-based methods listed below. I’ll tell you right now that the method that finally succeeded in rebooting my nervous system radically at a cellular level, in a way that seems to be permanent, was Somatic Sexological Bodywork immersion retreats (see link below).
If you are not getting long-term results from mental-based treatment or talk therapy, I urge you to consider refocusing your efforts on your body. The first steps are to bring yourself back into your body, then to teach yourself how to love it and be present in it.
On this website, I plan to explore various methods that worked for me in great detail, but I’ll list some of them out here so help you on your journey:
- Meditation that focuses on breathing and/or on squeezing and releasing body parts systematically
- Somatic Sexological Bodywork and immersion retreats
- Genital De-armoring and pelvic de-armoring
- Yoga – Meditation in Motion Style or Gentle Yoga
- Following Body Positive Blogs such as Fat Girl Flow and The Militant Baker
Easy Practice: During your daily shower, tell each body part as you wash it how much you love it and how beautiful it is. Can you do that? For a long time, I wasn’t able to perform that exercise with certain body parts that I’d been conditioned to hate. It took me more than a month of daily practice to be able to speak kindly to my ankles, for example.
If you have found other body-based treatments that were effective for you in healing your Woman Wounds, please share in the comments. Thank you!