In March it will be 5 years since I flipped my truck in a light snow storm on Highway 20, with then-three-year-old Mycelia in back. I blogged about it four days after it happened (Upside Down, Underwater, and Anew) so, if you're interested, you can read what actually happened and the immediate aftermath there. (When I switched over to this new site the original images were lost, and I no loner have any but the one above).
What I want to share today is what happened yesterday during a bodywork session focusing on cellular memory release. The practitioner is an older, knowledgeable, and very intuitive man steeped in a number of healing modalities (also a certified chiropractor, but the session was nothing like chiropractic work). It took me four months to get in to see him because he is so booked (and, I'm sorry to report locals, but he said that I will be his last new client for a while because he barely has enough appointments for the people he has been treating for years), and I think I only got in because Glenn and Lee, my bosses at the float tank company, have been clients for years.
I wanted to see him because I deal with persistent headaches and pain and tension on the right side of my neck, jaw, wrist, and upper & lower back. I was actually told by the dentist last month that my right upper molar is splitting my right lower molar down the middle because I am clenching so hard there in my sleep (a look in the mirror confirmed this, there is literally a rift forming down the center of the top of my lower tooth). Since I want to write more blog posts and have started to work on a book, getting rid of all this tension so I can work on the computer comfortably is a priority right now. Plus, the headaches are pretty debilitating a few times a month and slightly annoying a few times a week.
The last thing I expected this healer to hone in on as the source of my tension and pain was the car accident. It's so interesting/sad how we blame ourselves for things, beat ourselves up when things aren't right. Over the years, I've attributed my right side tension to anything from mishandled stress to not enough exercise to too many tortilla chips/gluteny lunches/cups of coffee a week to too much computer work and trim work or too much time on my phone... and so many other things. In every scenario I could imagine, it was my fault. And, for sure, all of those things can contribute to tension and inflammation.
But this man, as soon as he placed his hands on my head and neck, started asking about the car accident. And the thing is, I don't remember the key moments. I remember realizing that we were fishtailing (something the car had done before in wet weather) and being like "oh shit I gotta correct this" and then I woke up upside down. (As I wrote in the past blog, Mycelia was saying "Mommy I'm hurt" when I came to, so I knew she was okay because she was talking. I never had that "Oh my god did I just kill my child?" moment. Again, more about the accident and the moments right afterward and what happened to her in that post).
We were taken to the hospital by ambulance, where I had X-rays taken and was told I was fine. I did have some bruises on my head and, I remembered reading that old post, pain in the right side of my neck. But... LOOK AT THAT FUCKING PICTURE AGAIN. That is the driver's side! That's where I was sitting!
I will never understand how I survived that almost unscathed (except that, of course- and I realized this with awe as I lay on the stretcher in the ambulance just after the accident- we were protected by something, someone, some spirit/s bigger than ourselves who cast a white blanket of cushioning light around our fragile little skulls as the metal hit the pavement), but after yesterday I do have more insight into those lost few moments, which I have wondered about a thousand times since that day.
As the healer was holding certain points on my head, neck, shoulder, or ribs on the right side, he'd tell me to bend my knees and press down on the brake with my right foot, and to raise my arms to the steering wheel and CLENCH with my right hand. Then I would adjust the wheel until the pressure point he was holding was feeling maximum pain. Like, there it is. Lying on my back on his massage table, I got my body into that position over and over again while he held points of tension all along my right side (a different one each time, with periods of rest and talking in between).
We pieced together the position my body had taken on during those blank moments when I knew something was wrong, something was happening, but before the actual impact. We realized that the way I contorted and held my body had protected my skeleton beautifully, but has had lasting repercussions for the surrounding muscles and tendons.
Because the hospital said I was fine and because I didn't have the strong circle of women friends that I do now and because I was with an unsupportive partner at the time, I never got to really process the trauma of the accident. I mean, it was a big deal, for sure. People cared. People freaked out when I posted this photo on Facebook. A friend's husband offered free bodywork. People helped. But because my skeleton was fine and there was no medical diagnosis, I ignored the head trauma that I felt, that I knew, was there.
So yesterday was validating in such a deep way, and it was validation that I wasn't seeking or ever expecting to get. But it feels good to have it. And it feels good to have a small glimpse into those moments of total blankness. And it feels good to know that there is an actual, tangible reason for the pain and tension I've lived with for so long now, and that it's healable.
I usually try to end my blog posts with something that makes my experience universal, a way to connect what I've just shared with anyone who may read it. But for this, I got nothin'. This is just my story, my reflection on a life-chaning event, and my happiness at having found a way to heal the trauma it caused. Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your stories too.