Breakingdown, Breakingthrough

- by Margaret Coyne -


Arrived at the Centre a bit late, 9.20am. There were eight participants including myself, all women. My partner's name was Abby. She wanted to do the morning session which suited me fine, as in the end she needed a lot of bodywork which I was well able to help with. At 1.30pm. we had our break. The "breathers discussed their experiences and all in all we were very chatty. I made Abby a cup of tea. We returned for the second session around 2.15pm. During the relaxation exercise I began to feel very cold and shivery, but then gradually relaxed into it. The following details chart my personal inward journey:-

"After about twenty minutes of the deep rapid breathing, I am aware of an overpowering smell of disinfectant which lasts for about five minutes. As before, my hands begin to move upwards onto my chest, whereupon I pull at my fingers in a most agitated manner. I become quite warm and kick off the blanket usually used for comfort during the early part of the session. There is now a sensation of a light weight resting on my lower tummy and vagina. Some time later I develop a strong cramp-like pain in my upper stomach which starts me off screaming. Now I am on my way.

I begin to move with a wriggling action towards the end of the mattress. Still screaming, I then begin to slowly rotate my body around what seems like every couple of minutes. I am desperate trying to propel myself down some narrow winding passage. I a frustrated and lonely and begin to cry. Continuing to push my feet into the mattress, I stretch my neck in my attempt to keep moving all the time aware that I'm hurting all over. I am exhausted. Eventually I feel I'm close to getting out. Somebody keeps putting cushions behind my head. At one point when I push my head against the cushion, I feel resistance. For some reason this feels good. I repeatedly shove my head into the cushion, pressing with all my strength against it. At last I no longer need to continue my struggle.

I rest for a few moments before going back into my breathing. Now a terrible sadness comes over me. I am still very tiny and painfully needing my mother to hold me, but she doesn't come. I'm crying so hard, my mouth is quivering in the same way a very young distressed infant's might. I claw at my face and hair and furiously kick out. Later I have an image of myself again when in hospital, but this time needing my adoptive mother. Several times during my anguish I scream in unbelievable anger. Nobody fucking comes to console me. I am totally alone and hurting. At one point I feel like I'm trying to give birth because, while lying on my back I grab the cushion behind my head and let out this long piercing scream. I then push really hard into my vagina. For a brief moment I feel like I'm going to be sick, but it doesn't come. I rest for a while, then go back into the breathing. I am totally exhausted and just want to give up but I know there's more shit to deal with.

After a while I'm still on my back, but this time with my legs crossed and drawn up over my tummy. My arms are also crossed and appear to be shielding my face and head. The image I now have is of my father standing over me. I know he is hitting me. I scream "Please don't" over and over. Along with this fear and pain comes a dreadful sadness. The person I love is hurting me. (I'm not sure how long this feeling lasted). Once again I am exhausted and rest for a while. As the music becomes more soulful, I return to the overwhelming sadness which sends me back into uncontrollable sobbing. Several times during my distress, I scream out "Mamma". I don't know which mother I am referring to.

I'm now slightly aware of a sharp pain in the left side of my forehead usually where I get my migraines. Still distressed, I continue to scream, this time with incredible anger, and in the process draw my body up into a tight ball. I am absolutely worn out and even my cries are becoming very faint. I just want to sleep and indeed feel myself drifting off now and again. As the session begins to draw to a close, Lynn lies beside me. I tell her about the headache and she gently massages it. Each time she runs her thumb up into my head, she holds the piece of hair directly over the pain, pulling firmly on it. It is very relaxing and eventually there is no pain at all. I am very drowsy and content, and after a while feel ready to sit up. Lynn gives me a big hug, and I begin to feel the relief of letting go of a hell of a lot of pain today. Abby helps me get my things together and we head off inside to have something to eat and draw our Mandalas. It is around 5.45pm".

I was feeling pretty good with a great need to share my experience with everyone. For one girl, it was her first session, and she admitted that she was totally overwhelmed by the day's events. While we were eating and chatting I became aware of very strong vibes all around me, which added to my great feeling of well being. Later I drew my Mandala, which this time depicted a tiny baby making his way, head first, down a winding tube. Opposite that, a very distressed young infant, arms and legs flailing, lies abandoned in a cold iron cot resembling a cage, because of its very high sides. Again, for some reason, I just used the colour blue. Perhaps it represents coldness.

At 6.30pm. we went back into the "session" room. We described our experiences and Lynn commented on each one, plus adding some additional information which I found very helpful. After we tidied up a bit, I gave Lynn a final hug and left at 7.20pm. On the journey home I was a little tired and dazed, but other than that I was fine.

Arrived home 8.30pm. Some friends had arrived earlier whom I was delighted to see. They listened intently as I recounted my remarkable experience, then they left around 9.30pm.

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