The Power of Visualization

My heart aches. I yearn for him to return. He will be gone for months and months for military training and I miss him desperately. Sure, I can handle the day to day responsibilities of our family. I write him letters and it feels like I am talking with him. I know how he would respond to each individual story. I love him and I know he loves me.

But, oddly enough, him being away has given me a sense of peace. My brain and body know that the he isn’t here. There will be no thought of intercourse while he is gone. There will be no pain. There is no reason to be tense.

However, my body has lived in a constant state of tension for so long that I still struggle to relax. As I am typing this post all of my pelvic floor muscles are tight. Breathe. Loosen my jaw. Loosen my shoulders. Loosen my back. Unclench my butt cheeks. Release the pelvic floor tension. Loosey-goosey.

My pelvic floor physical therapist is optimistic of the progress I can make while AJ is gone. We discussed in depth about how this is actually a blessing in disguise. I am in control of my recovery. I don’t have the unconscious, added stress that PTSD causes. A gentle touch on my knee won’t make me recoil uncontrollably. AJ asking to give me a back rub won’t send my mind into a spiral of excuses. The wall won’t go up. That wall that is so hard to break down.

Instead, while he is gone my new job is to focus on relaxation and visualization. My physical therapist said that my muscles don’t know whether or not AJ is actually here. “Your vagina doesn’t have eyes.” So visualization is effective because your brain tricks your muscles into behaving. The goal is that I will create enough positive and relaxing experiences through visualization so when AJ returns, I can control how my body responds. Learn to create new muscle memory patterns.

In my PT sessions, it goes a little like this: Relax. Relax. Breathe. Now- how would you feel if AJ came in the room? I sensed a little tension. Did you feel that, too? Relax. Breathe through it. Bring that tension down to a zero. Good. Now… imagine AJ puts his hand on your knee. Oh wow– you tensed right back up again. Let’s work on bringing that down… 

I am still new to visualization, and in a lot of ways it feels very foreign, so I have been practicing it at home.

…Gosh, I am all tense again! That took a good 5 minutes for my body to go on auto-pilot. Hopefully I can extend that latency period. That’s the goal, right?

Anyways– I’ve been practicing visualization at home. And I think it is working… I hope it is working…. I’m tense again. Anxiety about not improving. Relax. Okay.

I am going to end this post now… as you can see I still have a long way to go. c: But it feels good to have a goal. A direction to work towards. And as anxious as I am, I am also excited.