A story of pain, depression, and floating.
By AMANDA HAWKINS
It was mid-2015. I had been living in debilitating chronic pain and fatigue for over five years. Trying out different treatments and both allopathic medications and holistic remedies since 2009 to no avail. Tests after tests, doctor after doctor, everything helped a little in the beginning but then it would be back to the old familiar energy-draining pain.
I was so depressed and felt like there was more to life than constantly being in pain and being exhausted all the time. I would sit and cry in doctor’s offices begging for them to help me with the fatigue. I can handle the pain but, it is the fatigue that is the life stealer. You do not want to do anything extra during the days because you know you will pay for it in the following few days. I was not even 40 and I could not even take children to the park or do normal daily activities, like going to the grocery store without struggling to get out of bed the next day.
There has to be more than mind-numbing medications or expensive treatments. I had already spent close to $10k out of pocket over the years to try to find a solution that worked. There was not anything I was not ready to try. I was constantly researching new treatments, reading blogs, and watching videos for something that would work to help make life manageable. I came across a blog on Yahoo about floating and depression and I was instantly intrigued. I watched a few videos about it to see if this could help as something I could manage to incorporate into my life that would not drain me. I did a web search and found the nearest float spa to me was about 50 miles away, but at this point, if something might help I was willing to drive an hour to try it.
Now bear with me here, at the time I was a shell of a person, pretty much just existing, certainly not thriving. I was still in the dark about the brain-body connection to pain and about how thoughts can become things, but that was about to change. I walked into the float spa with hopeful skepticism. I was given the tour and watched the little welcome video. After being led into the room, I settled in to float.
“I had already spent close to $10k out of pocket over the years to try to find a solution that actually worked. There was not anything I was not ready to try. “
I can tell you with open honesty that my first float experience was awful. I walked out and swore I would never do that again. I could not relax, my brain went all over the place, bringing up things long buried, my body could not get comfortable. Like my body was wound up so long it had forgotten how to unwind. So I laid in the tank for an hour, just bouncing around, pushing off the front to the back, swaying back and forth. After the hour was over, I showered and came out, feeling very unsettled.
I went home even more disappointed. I thought that from what I had read online and watched about other people’s successes to overcome pain and depression in a float tank, that this would work. Unfortunately, I went to bed frustrated and disappointed. The next day I woke up in awe. I had slept, like actually slept. Not the normal flip flop wake, flip flop wake cycle. I felt more rested than I had in years.
I know it sounds unbelievable but the pain level I typically run at had decreased significantly. Enough for me to wonder “What was that all about?” It was the one thread of many woven together over the past few years to bring me to where I am now.
I am still in pain, some days are better than others. I have learned over the years and countless floats in other float centers to relax and let the tank do what it needs to do. Whether it be a physical release or a mental break from the world, I know that I can find it in the float tank. Floating has helped on so many levels. Every float for me is still different, some days I can relax and drift off and some days I still bounce around in the tank just waiting for my hour to be over. I know my body needs it and my brain needs it.