I have written about the blessings of somatics (here), but in a recent post I described what I called the somatics trap, where somatics isn’t always the best if you’re on a higher dose of antipsychotics.
Somatic therapists, I wrote, often don’t acknowledge that their approach isn’t for everyone, especially if a person has a psychotic disorder.
I had been doing so well and had even written about how I had finally “worked my way up” to being able to do somatic exercises.
However, wellness is a continuum, not a ladder. Wellness journeys are recursive. I now have a more integrated idea of somatics and how they can be a blessing, when tempered with medicine, self-compassion, and wise practitioners who partner with psychiatrists.
With my dog Addie’s passing, she died a week and a half ago at 13 and my mom guest-wrote about it here last week, I realized that some of the somatics work I had done hadn’t been in vain even though I wasn’t able to practice it as well as I had been when I was on less medicine.
Through the work I had done in the past, I had made more room for my body to hold my grief. I could tell a difference. The exercises also really helped my husband, who doesn’t suffer from serious mental health concerns like I do.
I also went to a somatic therapist and she helped me to be able to breathe deeply through my grieving process. Safe, on a high dose of my medicine, I didn’t suffer from a relapse and was better equipped to manage stress. My shallow breathing from the deep grief of Addie’s passing was deepened under her compassionate care. I feel whole.
In sum: people can be too idealistic about somatics, but they’re not all bad. Just make sure you exercise discernment as you seek care. Be patient.