Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stuck in the Past.

Sanctuary. Until it wasn't.
The appointment was almost as good as the first two had been. The same dreamy music. The salon-style room with soft lights and muted earth tones. The acupuncturist was swift and certain. Needles slipping into tissue effortlessly. I lay there on my stomach breathing deeply and trying to feel meridians activating. I lost count of the needles. Hands, arms, back, neck, ankles, thighs.

Leaving the room, the doctor dimmed the lights until the room was lit solely by the diffuse orange tones from the heat lamp. I slipped into the already familiar quiet bliss: meditation, sleep, somewhere in between.

Or maybe sleep, because then came the bad dream that I have periodically, a sign of stress. My dreams routinely return me to a hated boardroom in my past where I am doomed to eternally relive a shameful scene of a dismissal in my distant past. A nasty twist on deja vu.  The music clicked off at the end of the CD and I was left with my own thoughts. Thunder between my ears. And then the heat lamp click off and the spa atmosphere slipped down the walls, across the cement floor and out the door, leaving the room more cell than sanctuary.

My skin began to chill and I started to count the needles, imagining I could feel the cold metal in my skin. I could hear muted voices in the hallway and calmed myself. They will come any moment and remove the needles and all will be well. Because, of course, everything was fine and I was fine and this was just me. I was embarrassed to be so childish. This was a wonderful experience and I was just being... me.

And then one or two of the needles started to hurt. And I was cold and in my panties only and embarrassed to be afraid. My back started to hurt. A dull ache in the low back amped up under the strain of my anxiety and I thought that I absolutely had to move. I pushed up onto my hands and knees and one of the needles in the back of my thigh pressed against my calf and the point stuck in a bit further. I cringed and leaned forward to free the needle and felt the same problem at the back of my neck. And then my wrist. I was stuck and cold and naked and panicky and getting fired over and over again. I tried to call out for help, but I was so embarrassed that I couldn't bring myself to call out. I quietly moaned for help until tears came and sobs.

The sobs may have been loud; help came.