Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

E T, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 3:57 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 3:25 AM

Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/2/24 Recent Posts
I'm a fairly inconsistent practitioner of "freeform psychological whatnot" and I am here because I'm hoping you guys can help me figure out wth I've done to myself. I've always been lowkey depressive whose live was a mess, and like many lowkey depressives whose lives are a mess I was intensely drawn to reading about self-help, pop-Buddhism, etc. Eugene Gendlin's focusing resonated with me, as did EMDR -- screw safety measures and safe places, proper practice is for sissies: in my intense desire to somehow eradicate what I saw as "not how it should be" inside me I EMDR-ed myself, moving my eyes left and right as material kept coming up (I was aware of the scripted protocols but I didn't follow them). I didn't time myself or practice on any sort of schedule.

The intensity of it appealed to me - EMDR will fire-hose you with your trauma on its way out. I'd cry if things got intense, breathe through things as came to me, and continue, often moving my eyes back and forth through intense emotional crap, mostly related to my fairly dysfunctional family of origin. As time passed, the intensity of the material that came up lessened. I would be aware of the energy that's arising in my body as I follow up on a topic, I breathe through it, and it relaxes and dissipates leaving openness and lightness in its place - and all the way through, I'm moving my eyes. I'd do this on the bus, at Starbucks staring out the window, before bed, when waking up. Lately, I've been drawn to doing it more. I even was doing it in my sleep once.

Because I was never consistent, it took me a long time, but some background existential terror I was walking around with since my 20s dissipated, recently I was able to loosen my craving for sweets, which pleased me greatly, muffins are bad both for the health and for my budget. Some quality family of origin bullshit came out, too, I'm no contact with my parents and I'm not short of it. Lately, I've been weepy with the hurt and disappointment of how a friendship's shaking out, and after the personal aspects of it loosened up, I ended up with this intense grief about how no one will love me which would intensify as I moved my eyes through it and the tension in my chest and the tears, and did not dissipate or loosen up as I am used to. Roughly, I've been going "up" my body with where all of this emotional crap is and my body feels lighter and looser after. This grief, not yet dislodged, is in my lungs and upper pecs. There has also been a lot of tension in my throat lately, with my front throat muscles tensing very tight as soon as I place attention there and vibrating; this goes all the way up into my lower lip. I'd expected this to loosen if I kept placing attention there, I've even tried to emdr it out, but so far, no dice.

I am here because in addition to all the above, someone on a forum about an unrelated hobby where I talked about how recently I've felt that my life doesn't have direction and I feel vaguely lost etc, said that I sound like I might be dark-nighting and to check it out. I'd read MCTB once but a couple of years ago and I picked it up again. I thought there was no way I'd be dark nighting because I thought only people who are insanely good at insight practices dark-night and while I am able to sense the energies associated with various emotions in my body fairly well after all this "freeform psychological whatnot" that I've done, I can't see the three characteristics of a sensation for the life of me. I tried to practice but no go. I seem to do ok holding my body below my neck in some semblance of broad awareness, and when I get into it, i'm good at sensing the clouds of energy associated with psychological whatnot-ing rise and pass away, but i suck at focusing on my breath or on a fire kasina or at sensing what the three characteristics of things are -- well, except i can sense the tension and miserableness in the emotional clouds, but then, you know -- lowkey depressive, what do you expect.

So, I submit myself to evaluation: wtf did I manage to do to myself? I thought I had it, with how nicely my crap was dissipating, but this recent "no one will ever love me" grief/numbness wave has me a bit bowled over. I'll provide more info if needed. Thanks to whoever reads and responds.

ETA in case relevant: my mind is fairly quiet overall. I spend most days no tought/head empty style. Most inner activity I'm aware of is various psychological energies, that's how I experience my thoughts these days and not so much in images/words.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 4:34 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 4:34 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 555 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Hi friend,

The reality is that as we work through trauma, relax and open the body we can find ourselves arriving at even deeper levels of pain and trauma. That is what openness is. Openness to feeling. Openness to experience. You did a practice that softened you up and you found grief. Grief that you need to process. Grief that needs grieving. 

In terms of stages and so on, I wouldn't really start having that conversation until I saw you practicing over time but know that the stages are fractal and part of our everyday life and the make up of our psycho-phenomenological experience but certainly insight practice can show them more clearly. 
E T, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 5:20 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 5:19 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/2/24 Recent Posts
"as we work through trauma, relax and open the body we can find ourselves arriving at even deeper levels of pain and trauma."

In other words, I went looking for shit and I found it, gotcha. emoticon
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 6:07 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 6:07 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 555 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
When we're ready for it looking for shit and finding it is kind of the process
Conal, modified 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 11:58 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/2/24 11:58 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 78 Join Date: 6/3/17 Recent Posts


"In other words, I went looking for shit and I found it, gotcha. emoticon"

Yes, but you need a more subtle approach to dealing with the more fundamental trauma. If you have a meditation practice it will lead you to start looking at who the "I" is that's looking for shit. You may even find that the "I" is creating the shit and if you look even closer you will find that the "I" and the shit are being co-created at the exact same instant. When you get to that level of subtlety you may find that you can drop the whole mechanism. You will then be enlightened, however there will be no "you" left to be enlightened!
E T, modified 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 7:09 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 4:12 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/2/24 Recent Posts
Alright, no one's going OMG OMG OMG STOP IMMEDIATELY YOU'RE DOING DARK JHANA haha, so we continue. Someone elsewhere suggested doing metta to couteract the intense grief, so we're doin that.

@Conal, I don't think I'm going the vipassana route. First of all, enlightenment is a pie in the sky and not what I want. I just want to be less full of shit and to be a peaceful householder. I don't want a dick-measuring contest over attainments and to alienate everyone who ever cared about me because I'm an arrogant shit that's oh-so-advanced in his "spiritual" development but can't even pull the stick out of his own arse. I do believe yall that it's a trip, but it's not my trip, at least not this time around. I personally find "freeform psychological whatnot" to be much more directly useful to reducing the suffering in life.

Thanks for answering, all. Good luck on your journey whatever your goals are.
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Bahiya Baby, modified 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 5:24 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 5:24 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 555 Join Date: 5/26/23 Recent Posts
Best of luck emoticon
T DC, modified 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 11:12 PM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/4/24 11:12 PM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 518 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Maybe try therapy?  Speaking for myself, it can be a very helpful and healthy outlet, as well as supportive for other personal explorations, meditative or otherwise. 
E T, modified 1 Month ago at 6/5/24 2:04 AM
Created 1 Month ago at 6/5/24 2:04 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/2/24 Recent Posts
That is what I am doing, yes. This entire thing began, and its main purpose still is, for me to do therapy on myself in the absence of ability and means to get help from a professional. I always conceived of what I am doing as therapy. Only lately did it occur to me that the whole bit with feeling the emotional energies arise and dissipate sounds awfully like what some describe happens to them during meditation. I consider the eye movements to be a sort of kinesthetic mantra, if that can be a thing: a task you set the mind to that it can focus on so it can get tf out of the way. So far, this has given positive results, though whether more positive than other modalities would have, who knows. I feel lighter and freer inside, and less tortured by whatever's happening. I feel gratitude every time a tension builds, I am able to breathe into it, and as I breathe out, there's relief in its place. I am sure if one day I do decide to take on a formal meditation practice, having done all this self-therapy would help.

What worried me was that I arrived at this deep grief that no emdr could seem to dislodge. The tarot has been telling me, consistently over and over, that being loved and having another human care for me with an open heart is not something that is in the cards for me. Somehow I need to accept this and be at peace. If that's my path, that's my path, but I've discovered a lump of grief and sadness on it that none of my usual tools can dislodge. I tried to keep staying with it, and then, as it kept not opening, got worried that I might be doing harm. But yeah. It is what it is, and we go on.
E T, modified 3 Days ago at 7/8/24 7:10 PM
Created 3 Days ago at 7/8/24 7:10 PM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 8 Join Date: 6/2/24 Recent Posts
Thank you for the advice, all. I wanted to add to this post in case someone in the future encounters the same issue with EMDR.

So, what I seem to have experienced is a known phenomenon called "looping." This is when you've hit your own limits with processing, and so keep returning to the same thought/memory/emotion without feeling any shifts or any resolution. According to books written by therapists for therapists on how to do EMDR, the thing to do in this case is stop EMDR try to shake things up either cognitively or imaginally.

Examples (eg with me arriving at a belief that i would never be loved and intense grief):

"Even though you believe you can never be loved, would it be ok with you if you were?" (maybe it's the self blocking it by thinking that "going there" is unsafe)

"What would being loved look like?"

"What would you prefer to believe about yourself in this case?"

"What would you need to feel loved? Can you imagine a wise/protector/nurturing figure giving it to you and stay with that feeling" -- this parallels Tibetan "taking refuge in the jewel tree" practices

"Affirm that you fully and completely accept yourself, even if you don't believe you can be loved"

etc.

Basically, my mistake was doing more EMDR when I'd exhausted what it can do without a shake-up of perspective.
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Bud ‎, modified 3 Days ago at 7/9/24 8:46 AM
Created 3 Days ago at 7/9/24 8:46 AM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 29 Join Date: 4/29/22 Recent Posts
You may find some benefit in this practise:

https://www.reddit.com/r/idealparentfigures/comments/vl27y9/introduction_to_the_ideal_parent_figure_method/

It combines well with metta, it can really help if any of your prior trauma seems a little sticky as it's being worked through.
shargrol, modified 2 Days ago at 7/9/24 5:32 PM
Created 2 Days ago at 7/9/24 5:32 PM

RE: Wtf did I mange to do to myself and what stage would you place me at

Posts: 2558 Join Date: 2/8/16 Recent Posts
E T
Thank you for the advice, all. I wanted to add to this post in case someone in the future encounters the same issue with EMDR.

So, what I seem to have experienced is a known phenomenon called "looping." This is when you've hit your own limits with processing, and so keep returning to the same thought/memory/emotion without feeling any shifts or any resolution. According to books written by therapists for therapists on how to do EMDR, the thing to do in this case is stop EMDR try to shake things up either cognitively or imaginally.

Examples (eg with me arriving at a belief that i would never be loved and intense grief):

"Even though you believe you can never be loved, would it be ok with you if you were?" (maybe it's the self blocking it by thinking that "going there" is unsafe)

"What would being loved look like?"

"What would you prefer to believe about yourself in this case?"

"What would you need to feel loved? Can you imagine a wise/protector/nurturing figure giving it to you and stay with that feeling" -- this parallels Tibetan "taking refuge in the jewel tree" practices

"Affirm that you fully and completely accept yourself, even if you don't believe you can be loved"

etc.

Basically, my mistake was doing more EMDR when I'd exhausted what it can do without a shake-up of perspective.


Very interesting, thanks for taking the time to write/post this!

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