My Superpower

Psychosomaticism.

That’s my superpower, for better or worse: I feel things in my body.

At its most benign, this comes in handy during therapy, where I  might suddenly get a twinge of sensation – pleasant or unpleasant – in part(s) of my body. My therapist and I have slowly learnt the language of my body, what a pain here or a tickle there might mean, what it might add to our conversation.

At its worst, it’s literally crippling. I’ve stood in the middle of my therapist’s office, at the end of a session, with tears streaming down my cheeks, saying “I’m sorry, I can’t move my feet.” I literally could not take another step towards the door. My feet would not budge. When I persisted in trying, I wound up on the floor. There was no way my body was going to let me leave the office in that moment.

I also get:

  • ear infections when there’s something I need to “listen to”, but refuse to (I was fighting off one of those all last week, which, looking back, makes more sense of my hypersomnia – I was not paying attention to something I needed to be paying attention to)
  • a sore throat when I am feeling repressed – from holding back the scream I want to let rip
  • sore jaw muscles from gnashing my teeth – though we all feel that pain, occasionally.

Another useful aspect of my superpower is that I can feel or sense emotions, thoughts or memories as though they were in the room with me. This is terrifically handy in therapy, and has sometimes lead to some wonderful breakthroughs, when I’ve experienced something as present in the room before I was able to consciously ‘know’ it. For example, yesterday I suddenly flipped out in therapy because I felt this great pressure pushing me back into the chair, which helped me finally get in touch with the feelings I’d been repressing these last few weeks. Scary; in fact, the word awesome is not out of place here!

Now, I don’t ascribe this superpower to anything supernatural. I don’t believe there’s anything spooky or creepy about my psychosomaticism: I just happen to have a body which is really tuned in to what’s going on in my mind. It actually took me a long time to accept that I was so deeply psychosomatic. I think the “feet nailed to the ground” incident was a real turning point in that process.

What’s your superpower? Does it help or hinder you in your journey towards wellness? I’d love to hear about them.

20 Comments

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20 responses to “My Superpower

  1. Wow, that sounds really interesting! I don’t think I have a superpower but sometimes I think I am pretty good at being invisible.

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  2. I get the inability to move thing too, although for me it’s a dissociative issue. It really sucks.

    I think the closest I come to a superpower is coming up with the perfect witty response to everything…too late to use it. Kind of a mediocre superpower. I had gamma knife brain surgery while I was working at a science museum with a bunch of geeks, and my boss was convinced I was going to turn into the Hulk because gamma radiation is what gave him his superpowers. I’m sad to report, however, that when angered I do not turn green and rip my clothing off.

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    • Ha ha … well, I can see how not disappointed you must be not to turn green and rip your clothes off, though those nearest to you might not be too upset! 🙂

      I like your superpower. At least you can write biting emails or letters in your head. Perhaps you can train yourself to bring the superpower to bear at the appropriate time? Not sure how, but wouldn’t that be great!

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  3. This reminds me of a comic I read just earlier today. 😀
    (It’s a pro-feminist gag comic) http://imgur.com/gallery/RmAjE

    Hm, I share some of your tendency to get a sore throat when I have something that I want to say and feel like I can’t get out.
    I don’t know what ‘super powers’ I have, maybe the power to project intensity of energy outwards (this is often more tiring for the depressed people around me than it is energizing. It’s like my, usually nervous, energy is almost mocking to them. — But I can’t seem to help projecting. It’s useful for non-depressed people though. Apparently I can even do it in facial expressions, supposedly I can flash a grin that says “I’m about to literally bounce outta this place!”)
    This also works to a detriment, as when I’m feeling unwell I project all sorts of alternating pacey-nervous and sluggish misery.
    I also see my emotions in colours, and being around bright yellow for too long is like cryptonite because it is my colour for panic, and seeing it makes me panic.

    Oh! I know a good one!
    My brother would always call me a culinomancer, because I can take seemingly random ingredients and make a (reportedly according to my family) tasty meal of out them.
    Give me cupboards and a fridge with a mixed assortments of things, even if grocery day is past due I can probably find some way to make a meal with what’s still there.
    The only real requirement to making it tasty is usually having access to at least a small variety of spices. (The rare times when I’m cooking at someone elses house their spice cupboard is usually my biggest stumbling block.) …And also having worked with the ingredients in question at least once. I have had a couple flops because I’d never worked with something.
    But I can make meals out of very little, or lots. Complicated or simple.
    When our larder was at too low an ebb for me to make meals, it’s because we’d ran out of staples like flour, rice, potatoes, frozen/canned/dried peas and beans.
    Cooking is a skill I have put a lot practice into, I enjoy it. 🙂
    (It is very tiring at times though, so I can’t always muster enough energy to cook, but I try.)

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  4. eddieredvine

    My superpower is seeing emotions in others and being hypersensitive to ‘what is really going on’ sometimes a blessing sometimes a curse. Most people are hiding whatever it is for a reason. But when they are close to you it’s hard not to push.

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  5. Have you read any of Louise Hay’s “Heal your Life” books. She believes the same thing. When something in your body hurts it is because something in your mind/heart/soul needs attending to.
    Although right now, I have sore boobs lol – means nothing more than hormones though 😉

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    • No, I haven’t read much Louise Hay – just one book – I’m not sure how much of what she writes is science, and how much is pseudo-science. I was supersceptical of my superpower for a long time, and only came to trust it through years of experience, trial and error, etc.
      Sore boobs – yeah – I didn’t add them to the list, because although they do tell me something, it’s not generally deep and meaningful and unable to be ‘heard’ another way 🙂

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      • I believe a lot of it is pseudo-science but she truly believes what she writes. I disagree with some of her ‘diagnoses’ of things. However in light of what you have written, maybe some of them make sense.

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      • I once borrowed one of her audio books from the library. She certainly is a charismatic speaker full of loving-kindness! I found the CD quite inspirational. (Still doesn’t overcome the pseudoscience hurtle, though.)

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      • Agreed. I have quite a few of her books and I enjoy reading them. She has some wonderful things to say and I love her stuff with affirmations. I can get over the hurdle of the pseudo-science though. I choose what I want to take from her writings and then go with that instead.

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  6. Pingback: A: Anger | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  7. Pingback: H: Hidden | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  8. Pingback: N: Numb | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

  9. Pingback: Stuff that’s true | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

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