I am sure I am not the first EFTer to fall into the trap of thinking that EFT is brilliant for helping others but being slow to remember how helpful it can be for ourselves. This is the story of how I learned that lesson all over again. And again.
It was back on December 1 2015 that was what was meant to be the first day of a month’s holiday. A whole month. Not since I left school…
I was flying to Australia that evening. A few hours before I had to leave for the airport I went to the gym. I had a small amount of packing to finish. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Just as I was finishing my workout and rushing to get done and home, I caught the rubber sole of my trainer on a camouflaged bump in a rubber floor. Rubber stuck to rubber while the top half of my body kept going, with right arm outstretched in a counterproductive attempt to save myself. My full weight, at speed, crashed on to it.
The upshot was I was unable to drive my own car home. One of the gym staff drove me in it. I could not dress or close my suitcase, without help. Even trying to pick something up off the floor with my undamaged hand was agony. There were some strange omissions from my packing because they were not worth the pain to add.
At the airport I asked a paramedic to check me over. The first aiders at the gym did not think I had broken anything. I was not convinced. It seemed to me that if you could not move your arm far enough from your side to get a cigarette paper into the gap, it might just be more than bruising. The paramedic also thought nothing was broken and passed me fit to fly. With a lot of help from the airline staff, I did.
It was agonizing. I could not tap for the pain. I could only imagine doing it and it seemed not to make a lot of difference – though with hindsight of course I have no way of knowing how much worse it might have been without. And of course my body was not going to completely turn off the pain signal until I took some notice of what it was trying to tell me.
I had planned to go to a doctor the day after I arrived but after a night I would prefer not to remember I got up at first light and walked to the nearest emergency room. By the end of the day I was recovering from surgery to insert a titanium plate to join my fractured bones up again.
Over the six weeks after that I tapped on various aspects – pain, being angry with myself for going to the gym so close to flight time, carelessness in tripping on a floor I already knew was dodgy. But I did not go back to original trauma.
Why? I have so often used the movie technique* on the memory an old accident with clients and with students on my training courses and been as amazed as they were how effective it has been with the legacy of lingering pain and/or movement restriction that they thought would be with them for life. So why did it take me so long to do the same for myself?
After a few days of diligently doing exercises from the physiotherapist, I could feel some improvement in range of movement. And I decided it was time for some serious EFT on the actual trauma. So I booked myself in for a session with myself.
Among the specific first traumatic memories on which I did the movie technique was lying on the floor with my arm stretched out in front of me feeling I would never be able to move. It started a 10 and went to 6 and then a fuzzily-remembered nothing in a few minutes.
Next was sitting in the gym with my arm stuck up in the air, unable to bring it down. Again, 10 to about five to nothing in just a few rounds of EFT.
The next was trying to pick something up off my bedroom floor with my uninjured left hand and not being able to bend far enough forward to do it without my right arm hurting so much I gave up. The pattern was much the same.
Then I remembered my shocked reaction to seeing the X-ray of my shoulder and arm on the emergency department doctors’ iPad and tapped on that as well. I still have it on my phone so I looked at the picture as I tapped.
About an hour after this session I went to do my second set of exercises of the day. There was a leap in how far I could move my arm in every exercise. Although I have seen it so often before in other people I was still amazed that it had happened to me.
The next day I had more movement still, not just doing exercises but in doing other things. My next goal – being able to drive again – looked a lot closer.
I have learned my lesson. Again.
Update: I came across this unpublished account of my own trauma when I was looking for something else I had mislaid. And it got me thinking.
I now take driving for granted again. I have reasonable range of movement in that arm, but nothing like it used to be. It is no more than a nuisance. It does not stop me doing anything I really want to do. But it is not good at reaching up into high cupboards. It finds it almost impossible to take parking tickets out a machine through the car window. It means in my Pilates classes I can do some things on one side but not on the other.
So why have I not been tapping on my feelings about it and about the limited range itself? How do I know how much more I could heal physically when I have not really tried?
As soon as I tapped on being angry and hacked off and frustrated and sad it brought up old stuff about being the most physically inept child in my class at school. Today I might be diagnosed as dyspraxic. I comfort myself that Einstein was, too. Then I was just the one other kids did not want on their team for ball games and teachers gave extra work to try to improve extremely poor handwriting.
I am even wondering if keeping some degree of disability excuses me from things I would not be able to do anyway. Or that part of me is afraid I would not.
And I am tapping on it all again. And wondering why it took me so long…
Author of Understanding EFT – a Practical Guide
*If you do not know the movie technique, you can learn it from the eBook you can download if you sign up for my newsletter on my website or, in more detail and context, from my book which is available on Amazon.. Ditto if you do not know EFT.