This text is an excerpt I wrote to show mental health care workers how important body movement is when treating people with trauma, specifically Conversion Disorder.
She wants me to do WHAT!?!
My first reaction to the techniques of Interplay made me instantly uncomfortable. The daily pseudo-seizures from my Conversion Disorder hadn’t eradicated all of my dignity. When asked to do a “hand” dance, I felt foolish. When asked to do karate kicks and fake Tai chi, I felt ridiculous. When I couldn’t think of the words to describe how I felt, I was asked to make up a language or tell a story about it. I did it, though it seemed absurd. However, despite my initial unwillingness to move my body, I found over time that I craved the motions. Usually, paralytic seizures controlled my body for hours on end; yet during Interplay, I was in charge. After “warming-up” with Interplay, I felt my body relax. It helped me see the difference between an anxious and a relaxed state. It helped me reach those hurt places more easily, because they didn’t feel so raw looking through the eyes of a fictional character. I could tap into my emotions and let tears go that refused to fall or anger that refused to surface.
Many trained therapists don’t even know what Conversion Disorder is, let alone how to treat it. I went through two master’s level therapists and one with a doctorate. They tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychoanalysis, and Hypnotherapy. Nothing lessened the seizures, dissociation, PTSD, depression, or anxiety. My body received the trauma. Therefore, it seemed only fitting that through moving the body and listening to its needs that I was able to move through the trauma and finally process it. Today, I find myself instinctively using the techniques on a daily basis. If I start feeling my body tense, I “shake out” my arms, legs, and do heavy sighs. It’s not uncommon to see me karate chopping in the kitchen, yelling in gobbledygook, or singing random tones. My body instantly relaxes and I avoid pseudo-seizures. I went from having 20-30 seizures a week to having one every four months, and I’m still improving.
So, what happens now when I’m asked to do a hand dance? I just smile and go for it.