Our emotional lives can impact us physically in incredible ways.
In chapter 8 of The Body Keeps the Score by Vessel Van der Kolk, he goes over a heart-breaking story of a woman, Marilyn, who comes in to him for emotional intimacy problems. She says many times, “I must have had a nice childhood,” even after drawing a terrifying picture of what she sees her childhood as. With dark-eyed men near her and her father’s penis poking in at her in a cage.
She did not want to see what she already knew had happened to her – she suppressed her abuse and blinded her little child-self from seeing it.
The story goes on and eventually, 3 months into group therapy, Marilyn expresses to the group that she has started having visual problems, bumping into things and missing balls during tennis. Bessel connects her with some doctors that eventually determine that she has an autoimmune disease that erodes her vision.
A year into Marilyn’s group therapy, another member, Mary, shares her own heart-breaking tale. When she was 13, she was gang-raped by her older brother and his friends, that resulted in her becoming pregnant. Mary’s mother performed an abortion in her on their kitchen table.
After hearing Mary’s story, Marilyn said, “hearing that story, I wonder if I may have been sexually abused myself.”
Still, after a year of therapy, her sight degenerating, and despite her drawing of her childhood, she had not processed until that moment that she even MIGHT have been molested.
She didn’t want to, and in large part couldn’t allow herself to see she was sexually assaulted as a child… and her body kept that score.
This story has loomed large in my mind over the last 6 months.
Knowing something was underlying my inability to fall asleep in my own bed led me to tell God, “if anything happened to me, you can show me. I know I wasn’t ready as a child, but I am now. You are with me. Show me.”
When I started having several repressed memories of childhood sexual assault surface, I functioned normally through my days. One day, though, I had a repressed *sensation* surface and after that physical feeling, I could no longer function normally. This is when I started EMDR therapy and I also said to God aloud, “Okay, I don’t need to see or know any more. In fact, please don’t.” I have not had anymore repressed memories or sensations come up since then.
Over the last 6 months, I have noticed my vision rapidly decline, though. And it took about 3 of those months for me to clue in on Marilyn’s story and the finality I’d spoken over not wanting see this stuff anymore.
I’ve begun working with three aspects to “play” with my vision. One, I say, “I want to see. I want to see with my eyes and I am ready to see everything that happened to me traumatically as a child” multiple times a week. Two, I do a loose version of CFT (it’s not, it’s just what I do intuitively and it’s similar to sessions I’ve had before) around my eyes and over my eyelids. Three, I am working through the book Perfect Sight Without Glasses by William Bates alongside a video course from Esther, teach the relaxation needed to regain healthy eyesight.
I do have moments of much better vision with each of these methods. I am ready to see. I hope to have some good updates here as I progress to learning how to truly relax my muscles.