This collage and phase of memory recovery and healing was the most difficult for me to remember, recount, and construct. It is indeed horrific to bring to light. But the rewards from dealing with things at this depth of my being have been great. Remembering this and putting all of the pieces together was the key that finally set me free from my phobia of dental procedures. Getting external validation of this memory only served to boost my confidence and solidify the memory for me and help me believe that these things, indeed, did happen to me.
If you will remember, the first exploration into these memories revealed dissociated aspects of my personality who where childhood aged and who described the abuse as "ants" put in their mouths. They were able to get relief from their terror and let go of their memory after being ministered to by Jesus.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before I would again need another dental procedure. This time, I had less fear about scheduling the work to be done, but the anxiety was still present. The need to deal with the dental situation again brought the memories of the original trauma up close and this time I had spontaneous recall of the organic experience. I call it the "organic" experience instead of "real" experience simply because both experiences were just that: experiences. They were both "real" perceptions of one organic event that happened in real time. That event was as follows:
I was taken by my father to a routine dental exam by our family dentist. I was subjected to routine cleaning and filling of cavities, that required injections of local anesthetic. That was all quite routine but at least one of those injections was not.
After the procedure I was assisted to walk to another dentist chair in the next room. That room was in the back part of the building and as it was late in the day, I was the only patient present. I felt dizzy and rubber-legged as I walked to the chair in the back, darkened room. I was left there for an unspecified length of time as I became sleepier and feeling very heavy and floaty. When I was only partially conscious, some men came in the back door of the dentist's office and picked me up out of the chair and carried me out to a waiting van. I think they either gave me another injection or the one I had previously had not reached its peak because I was in and out of consciousness as we traveled someplace in the van. I was lying on a gurney and was wheeled into a familiar building that had a clinical/medical feel/smell to it.
They wheeled me to a room where there was another dentist chair and they transferred me to that chair. Once they had me in that chair, they placed a black box into my mouth. It had straps on it that went around one's head to keep the box firmly in the person's mouth.
Then they flipped some switch or another and the box came to horrifying life. It was an electrified box that was made all the more painful due to the water content in one's mouth. It caused excessive saliva to be produced which I tried to swallow and as I did and electric pain traveled down my throat. I started vomiting and had to swallow that too.
What did this feel like to a child? You guessed it. Yes, it felt like biting insects. Did anyone tell me what they were doing or why? No. A mind and body assaulted in this way reaches to find some kind of understanding of what it is experiencing. With a lack of any verbal explanation, or previous experience with such things, a mind finds a symbolic object or experience with which she can associate what is happening so as to contextualize the experience. She had no idea what was really happening to her so she thinks of the closest thing she can think of to sort of "stand in" for the original experience. The symbol she chose was having a mouth full of biting ants. The meaning she assigned to this experience was that she was being punished for "talking" because a child's mind is egocentric and believes that bad things that happen to her are punishment for some wrongdoing. For dissociated parts of myself the command to be silent and not tell what was happening in our life was always paramount in our mind. So these parts of me reasoned that this oral "punishment" must be for talking. It seemed logical.
The result of these mental gymnastics around this event produced a kind of "screen memory" that covered over the real event. Constructing the screen memory worked to the perpetrator's advantage because they knew that most likely I would never remember what happened, and even if I did, I would probably remember the screen first. This would disguise what actually happened. But I listened to my intuition and allowed myself to go deeper than the surface and just under the surface knowledge.
But when I remembered the "box" torture I had no idea what had happened or why. I couldn't NOT believe it simply because it was too bizarre to have made up. Why would I make up something I don't even understand?
Then one day I was shocked to accidentally come across validation and even an explanation of what had happened to me. I was looking through a slide show that another RA/MC survivor named Lynn Schirmer had shown at a national conference on ritual abuse and mind control. This survivor is a professional artist who creates art to show the world what has happened to her. As I looked at this slide show, there was the box! And, there was an explanation of what the perpetrators were doing:
Dr. Reicher's Box:
"Target: Aversion Conditioning
Procedure: Conduct indexing: aversion training via electroshock. Prevent system section cross-accessing
Equipment: Dr. Reicher deliver's shocks to the gums/mouth. Purpose: Pain induction. "
You can scroll through the slide show and her art series entitled "DiDiva and the Mad Machines". (scroll to right)
After dealing with this memory, I was finally able to go to the dentist without any real anxiety. And last week I went to my first cleaning without a support person in the room and without the need for anti-anxiety medication. Now the main anxiety regarding dental procedures has to do with the cost!
People have occasionally asked me what the value is on "digging this stuff out" and on what they consider "dwelling on the past". This whole series of recovery efforts illustrates why. Now most people probably do not have such complex layers and extreme abuses to work through, but my being able to work through my own extreme abuse should maybe be a beacon of hope that if one can wade through something this complex and bizarre than anyone can overcome anything!
My freedom and genuine quality of life is what drives me on.