My book.

My book.
"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Intermission - roller coasters.

I saw an ad the other night (I do not recall for what). It showed folks on a roller coaster. The voiceover was: "10% of being on a roller coaster is holding on. The other 90% is letting go."

Letting go. I wanted to let go. I have yet been able to do so.

Years ago, through psychotherapy, I was learning some very upsetting things about my childhood and my life. Things that made me want to scream. But I did not.

The pain always made me want to scream. But I did not.

My life circumstance made me want to scream. But I did not.

I got an idea. I would do some things that I knew would help me let go, force me to open my mouth wide and let out the sound that had been silenced for so long.

I drove across country. When I got to California I went to Knott's Berry farm. They had those rides where you went up into the air and then was sent hurtling back down to earth. Surely that would force the fear out of me.

I tried two rides. The first was where you went up by yourself in a kind of encased platform. Then, suddenly, whoosh, you were let go, you and the cage flying downward.

I was lifted to the top of the platform. I counted to 5 waiting for the letting go. Suddenly the cage and I lurched quickly downward. As it started to go I took in a deep breath. And held it.

To my surprise I actually enjoyed it. It was terrifying but okay. Neither a yell of fear or even a sound of joy escaped me.

I tried a second ride where you went up in a chair, five people in a row, Once up in the air it was hard to know when they would release you; all of us go flying down to the earth. This one I did not enjoy but still, no sound from me.

I retuened home, no worse for wear. Mybe a year later my friends were visiting. They wanted to go to 6 Flags. I agreed, thinking now is my chance. I' will go on the worst ride I can think of, in terms of fear.

When I was a kid my mother took me to Wanamaker's department store. Among the things they had for the kids was a Merry-Go_Round. 1-2 minutes on it and I felt sick as a dog, yelling "Stop this! Let me off. Let me off!" Even swings set my stomach on alert. Dread, big carnival ride, those words went together.

Which is the most terrifying? A roller coaster. Speeding down a thin railing, nothing but space ahead of you, the feeling of going off into the void, crashing. Surely, this would force the screams out of me.

When I began having memories about being abused as a child I saw myself 'going away' while it was happening. Up, up into the air, it was nothing but a bad dream. It was not, could not be, happening.

I was on the coaster with my friend's husband and one of her kids. They were loving it. I cowered, afraid to breathe, repeating to myself, over and over, "This is just a dream, it is only a dream." When the ride was over and I got off and kissed the ground.

My fear had been overwhelming. Instead of the letting go, my body sucked in all the fear, all the breath, all the overwhelming dread. The scream would not come.

I think of this as I write about the malpractice suit. I did not want to be my own lawyer, I wanted someone to be there for me, to fight for me, to be my advocate. I wanted them to be my voice in the court, and, by fighting for me, to be my scream. To help allay the pain of my life and effort to stop the pain.

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