By Andrea Balsara
Addressing Unresolved Trauma
I’m in Foundations Level 1, and have just finished the second 4-day session. The energy weekend was unbelievably powerful. I have always felt a bit like a loony-tune, feeling and seeing things that no one else seemed to see.
I realize now that it’s not because I’m actually crazy, but because I’m very sensitive. Because of that, I pick up other people’s energies, and it wears me out. I’m learning skills to keep myself contained and to have healthy boundaries.
The big breakthrough for me, though, occurred during an exercise where we were accessing the hypothalamus by holding neurovascular points (The Black Pearl Sanctuary). Usually, it helps people feel a deep sense of calm.
For people with unresolved trauma, it can open up this trauma, and although it’s very painful, eventually it releases. That’s what happened to me.
To give some background on a few things, I have had severe PTSD for as long as I can remember. I didn’t even know what I had, as it was my “normal.” I just thought I was crazy. It became clear, the older that I got, that something was really wrong.
In my 20’s, I finally remembered being molested as a 5 year-old by a trusted friend of the family. I had been told it was my fault and that no one could ever know that I had done such a shameful thing. To survive, I submerged the memory, and I had been running from “what I had done” ever since.
The regained memory was the start of true healing, but my life still felt like a train wreck. Although my head knew it hadn’t been my fault, the shame and terror lived in my bones.
To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if the abuse had actually happened, or if this was yet another attention-seeking maneuver. I was always on high alert, and kept people (except for a very few) at a distance, so they wouldn’t learn my “secret.”
How Trauma Manifests Physically
Around 13 years ago, I did a therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), the rapid eye movement treatment that helps process trauma, and as soon as I started the process, I felt a horrible, oppressive presence leaning over me.
It was the feeling/residue/energy imprint of the person who had abused me, and it was like a suffocating shroud. I “saw” my spine curl into a fetal position when I was in the semi-hypnotized state.
In the months before that, I had discovered I had bone density issues, and at 42 had the spine of a 70 year-old. After that EMDR experience, I understood why my back was starting the “curling” process.
Even so, my doubt that the early trauma had actually happened was still there. It isn’t easy to suddenly synthesize found memory with a very strong coping mechanism (forgetting) and so I still doubted if anything had actually happened.
When I started energy medicine a year ago, I began clearing old stuff that was causing illness and even allergies. (A side note: I have cut my thyroid medicine requirements by 2/3s within the past few months, and my allergies are much less. I can now eat some food I couldn’t eat before.)
But as the rest of me was healing, I could not get to the root of my digestion issues. I became aware of a “denseness,” or a sticky, dark shadow, around my spine. I couldn’t get to it though. Its source was too deep inside; there has always been a “steel room” inside my subconscious that I couldn’t seem to unlock. It has been the source of many nightmares.
The Black Pearl Sanctuary
During the 2nd energy weekend, when we started the Black Pearl Sanctuary, a surge of emotions started to come up. I felt like I was falling into a dark pit, and suddenly I was in the small, dark room where I had been abused.
I began to sob uncontrollably and my body started to almost convulse. I’ve never experienced anything like it. My body was shaking all over, uncontrollably. The instructors, who know I have PTSD, sprang into action.
While the fellow student kept holding the neurovascular points, someone (an instructor, I found out later) tucked a blanket around me so tightly that it felt like swaddling for a baby, and then a second blanket, until I couldn’t move.
While I wanted to thrash, to scream, I knew in another part of my mind that this was my chance: I was at the “door” to the steel room. So I used my feelings to keep going deeper, so I could finally get this thing out.
The other instructor held my feet, which helped me stay grounded. I was on a massage table, and the instructor sat at the end. She began doing the “Darth Vader” breath, and while I was somewhat certain that it was a “human” who was breathing, it didn’t sound like it.
To me, eyes closed, back in that dark room, it sounded like the breath of God. I thrashed about (not much, as my swaddling was very tight), and sobbed for a very difficult 5 minutes where it felt like I was dying. Over all, I was engulfed by this unearthly breathing.
I sensed I was surrounded by light—the light of the gifted, loving instructors, my fellow (beautiful) students, and of my Creator. Finally it began to pass. Thoughts came to me...I’m safe...God is here...it wasn’t my fault...I’m here now....
The horrible experience, the terrible aloneness of it, was rewritten in my mind, my body, and my spirit.
Letting Go of Stuck Emotions
I felt so shaky afterwards. The teachers said I could stay with them overnight if I needed to, or call at any time, but I needed to be alone.
I walked back to my bed and breakfast, and I kept the lights off. My brain was on complete overload and I couldn’t stand any kind of bright light, or noise, as every sound was like a clanging gong.
I wanted to curl up and cry, but I knew I had an opportunity to finally clear this trauma from me. So I did energy work, lots of physical movements to balance and restore. That night, I slept better than I have for ages. No nightmares, just sleep, and with no medication.
The next day, it felt like I had cotton wool in my head, almost like a plug had been popped, and gunk was flowing out that had needed to be let go for a long time.
All I wanted to do was sleep, but I still had another full day of class, and I had partners who were counting on me to be present and awake. I drank lots of water, continued to do lots of grounding exercises, and had an absolutely fantastic day.
What was the most exciting thing to me, once the wool started to clear, was the realization that I’d finally gotten into that “steel room” in my mind. The shadow that had been over my spine was gone.
It felt like an exorcism; even though there was no active “spirit” in there, it was a parasitic dark energy imprint that the person had put into me, to keep me quiet. For 50 years I carried that shame. That 50 year-old burden was gone.
Navigating Peaks and Valleys in the Healing Process
I was on the mountain top for about a week, but I know from experience that mountain tops are followed by valleys. Toxic beliefs about myself came surging forward, as everything was finally flowing.
I have used energy medicine to visualize myself as whole, and instead of frequently losing my grounding during the day, I remain grounded and can now instantly feel when I’m not. It isn’t a straightforward journey, but more of a spiral that moves in the right direction. You move toward wholeness, but also through a series of crises and then victories.
One thing that came out of the weekend was the feeling that I am supposed to do something with this energy work, beyond healing myself. I seem to be able to connect with young people who are experiencing trauma, or deep emotional upset.
I am a children’s and young adult author and illustrator, and while I will to continue writing and illustrating, I want to add in elements that would reach out to those who need help, although I haven’t figured out how it will all fit together.
I keep hearing about young people who commit suicide, as I had so often wanted to do, because they can’t endure their feelings of despair. I feel I’m being nudged to keep on this journey, and that somehow, what I’ve gone through will work to help others who still struggle in the dark pit.
My healing is nothing short of miraculous. I feel lighter, I stand straighter, and smile more easily. I no longer have the feeling that something is pressing down on my head or back. I can now feel energy—positive, light-filled energy—swirling through me. The life-energy threading through my spine is still halting and new—it takes time to change a 50 year-old habit—but I feel it moving now, and there is joy in it.