If you have read my book, Overcoming A Mysterious Condition, you will know that I was paralyzed from conversion disorder. However, the first time I was paralyzed in a trauma therapy session frightened me greatly.
It was a normal therapy session that I had been through many times. This is a unique type of trauma therapy with Dr. Paul Canali in Miami.
I can remember we were nearing the end of the session when he told me I could get up from the table. I looked at him with a laugh and said, “I can’t move my legs.”
Of course, he looked at me like, what are you talking about?
Dr. Canali Is One Of The Few I Trust
Dr. Canali is one of the few people I truly trust to take me into the deeper parts of my healing. Others have tried but failed miserably.
They either don’t see fully what is happening in my body or have just not been in a situation to fully understand.
To allow anyone to take me back to the point of paralysis from the fears of trauma, torture, and abuse I suffered is not something I take lightly.
For my body to allow itself to be paralyzed in a trauma therapy session says a lot because that requires a great deal of trust.
What If I Can’t Come Out Of Paralysis
The first thing that comes to my logical mind is what if I can’t come out of the paralysis. It happened many years ago in conversion disorder and I can’t even begin to fully explain the fear.
I share more of the whole ordeal in my book, Overcoming A Mysterious Condition.
I think I threw him for a loop when I said I couldn’t move my legs. It wasn’t that they were numb. They just wouldn’t move.
One of the things that I’ve found from the time when I went through conversion disorder is the muscle tone and function is there. However, the signal or communication from my mind to my legs or the rest of the body doesn’t make it.
Communication Is Broken
It is like I can sit there and tell my legs (mentally or verbally) to move and yet, they do nothing. It is almost as if there is no communication connection.
In fact, that would be true because my body in those moments is reliving helpless fear, not connected together with my mind.
It feels like no one is home in my legs.
If you want to talk about a frightening experience, this will rank up there with the best! When your mobility is taken away from you, life ceases to operate normally. Your perspective on what mobility means in relation to the world you live is one that takes so much away. It leaves you feeling helpless and worthless. It leaves you feeling scared because you then are dependent upon others.
For me, there is an added layer because when I was abused and raped and traumatized, my body only knew how to escape. There was no way out. I couldn’t overpower the ones doing it to me. The only thing I could do was numb out and disappear, hoping the horrible events would soon be over.
Paralysis In A Trauma Therapy Session
Paralysis in a trauma therapy session is no different than when I started experiencing Conversion Disorder (See Overcoming A Mysterious Condition). I was so afraid. No one around me knew what to do. Doctors scratched their head in disbelief and it took some time to get a proper diagnosis. At the time, it felt like I would never get out of that situation and life seemed completely hopeless.
Something must have triggered the paralysis with Dr. Canali that day. Neither of us realized it until it was time to get up from the table. I still remember feeling dumbfounded that my legs could not move.
One of the good things about Dr. Canali is that he is aware and he’s got a great deal of experience working with situations like this. If something isn’t working, he’ll try something else from his toolbox of healing techniques. He is creative when it comes to finding the thing that works. It is one of the parts of him I admire most.
That day when I was paralyzed in a trauma therapy session, I wondered if conversion disorder was going to be coming back. I wondered if I was going to repeat a very horrible experience in my life.
Dr. Canali Knew The Way
He first asked me to move my legs and I told him while I was attempting to make that happen, nothing was working. Next, he put his hand against my foot and asked me to push into it.
When he did that, there was a different communication connection in my mind with my body that sparked a different reaction. The thought of “moving” my legs was one that seemed like my brain was talking a different language than what my legs understood.
However, pushing on my foot seemed to be a language my legs could understand. It is a very small and subtle difference, but that day when I was paralyzed in a trauma therapy session, it made all the difference.
It didn’t take long after that where I could begin to move my legs. The blockage between what my mind was trying to tell my legs moved and released. It was gone almost in an instant, just like it showed up unannounced.
As quickly as the paralysis showed up, it went away and I could get up off the table. I was able to stand and walk.
Sometimes We Go Back To Go Forward
Dr. Canali did suggest to me that sometimes in order to move forward in the trauma healing work, we need to go back to those moments that were not so pleasant. Now, I’m not talking about going into despair and overwhelm, but to the point where you launch forward from them. There is a difference and in his work, we stay out of the overwhelm because it serves no healing purpose. In fact, it is often retraumatizing.
“You could not tell I had been paralyzed in a trauma therapy session.”
When I walked out the door, you could not tell that I had been paralyzed in a trauma therapy session. I looked normal when I walked out and I felt normal. In fact, it was a major turning point in my healing.
There would be other times throughout the years that I would come back to this point, but it often was a launching pad to greater growth and healing. I began to recognize the power I held over the paralysis and that empowered me to go deeper into my own healing.
Healing Is More Than Mind Only
So often we think that healing is a mind-based approach because it is all we know. While the mind plays a significant role in it, the body is where the trauma resides.
When we are traumatized, that energy gets stuck in the body. It tries to find a way out, but until the cycle of it is released, it keeps trying to complete itself. It tries to find a resolution but often gets caught in a continuous loop.
The more continuous loop it runs, the more it impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Just as I have found through the work with Dr. Canali and what he has helped me discover, once you find the way to break that loop, there is peace and freedom.
The process is not always easy, but I’ve found it is worth it. Fortunately, I met Dr. Canali, a pioneer in trauma healing, and it has made my life into something I never could have imagined.
Conversion Disorder Is Not Easy
Conversion Disorder is not easy to go through and the prognosis for it is not good. You might have better moments, but unless you get through that loop, it will continue to control your life.
I write about all of this in my book, Overcoming A Mysterious Condition.
“I’ve seen first hand that not only you can go from being paralyzed in a trauma therapy session, but you can find healing.”
I’ve seen first hand that not only can you go from being paralyzed in a trauma therapy session, but you can find great peace, freedom, and healing. The possibilities of where you can go are limitless.
Don’t ever settle for where you are now. I fully believe that there is much more healing possibility than most of us realize or understand. I use my own life as an example of that statement.