About a month ago, while riding my horse in a lesson, I had what we euphemistically call an unplanned dismount. I’d like to share how EFT helped me, including an interesting little discovery of what can happen when you don’t tap on a trauma.
It was a windy day, my horse spooked, I was off balance, and I came out of the saddle. I flew through the air and landed hard on my side, knocking the breath out of myself. I made a couple of convulsive gasps, and then I instinctively did what I’ve programmed myself to do in any crisis—I started tapping.
Even in my confused state I knew that tapping would keep me calm long enough for my diaphragm to un-spasm and start working again. After it did, I kept up the tapping until I felt it was safe to try sitting up. I had a lot of pain and pressure in my side, but it wasn’t overwhelming by any means.
After riding again for a couple of minutes (a tradition intended partly to help keep the rider from fearing to ride later on), collecting myself to make sure I could drive, and taking a painkiller offered by my trainer, I set out for the drive home. I stopped at my favorite fast food place to eat; standing at the counter, I felt close to fainting but held myself up at the counter. That was the moment I felt most worried and vulnerable the entire day. I suspected I’d broken a rib, even though the pain was never extreme.
Next I met a client to give a session. Although she offered to reschedule I knew the tapping would help me too, and we had a good session. Then I took myself to an urgent care center.
Five hours after the fall, Xrays confirmed I had two broken ribs. The ER doctor told me it was crucial to take a deep breath once an hour, to keep pneumonia from setting in. Other than that, time is the only treatment. Time and tapping, that is.
I sent out an all-points bulletin to my EFTFree co-editors and asked for some triage tapping the next day, and received the gift of not one but two sessions. In my injured state I really needed to be the “client” and have my skilled colleagues lead me through sessions. We worked on the pain; on fears about healing; on the memories of the fall; on my emotional reactions and self-judgments about having fallen; and even on what I felt and imagined my horse’s experience might have been.
I expected other areas of my body to be sore or strained the next day, as often happens when you’ve had an accident. However, I never had any pain in any other part of my body, nor did I have any bruising. I attribute this at least partly to the tapping; because I started tapping immediately, perhaps my body did not tense and retain the shock of the fall as it might have. Because I tapped for an hour with my client shortly after the fall, I “borrowed benefits” to ease the physical processes taking place as a result of the injury, and kept myself from catastrophizing about the pain.
The tapping I did that day kept me mentally focused, unafraid, able to remain alert and aware so that I could safely drive, and reasonably calm even with pain.
I also used tapping to manage the hourly deep breathing I had to do; although I used pain medicine as needed, I didn’t need as much as I expected. Before each deep breath for the first couple of days, I would tap. The breath would hurt less, and I could take it without tensing up.
About a week after the fall, I began to realize I had vivid visual images of things that happened as I was starting to fall. I was anxiously rerunning them like a movie, a sure sign of traumatic memory. I tapped until they became indistinct and didn't trigger anxiety or fixation, a signal that I had integrated the memories without the trauma.
Three and a half weeks after the fall, when I was again moving around pretty comfortably, I couldn’t stand it any longer and went back out to ride in a lesson. I promised myself that I’d only go at the walk or gentle jog, only if it didn’t hurt, and ride only for a short while. Although I’d done all my tapping work, I still wasn’t sure whether I would feel scared. I did mental tapping during the hour-long drive to the barn.
Once mounted, I felt wonderful. It was great to be back on my horse, and I felt relaxed and grateful, no anxiety. I kept the ride short, and was relieved to find that I had only a twinge now and then.
Perhaps the most surprising thing happened when I made my usual stop for a soda on the way home. At the same fast food place, I approached the same end of the counter where I’d propped myself, injured, in pain and feeling extremely faint, three weeks before. As I stepped up, I had a distinct sinking sensation like a mild replay of what I had experienced before. I hadn’t tapped on that moment, not thinking it really needed addressing. And there it was, resurfacing, because it hadn’t been cleared physically and emotionally.
That tiny moment was significant for me. It was a clue to how hard it might have been to mount up again if I hadn’t tapped as soon as I hit the ground; if I hadn’t asked for help from skillful practitioners soon after the fall; if I hadn’t specifically tapped down the vivid recurring visual memories; and continued to tap on both physical and emotional pain during my healing process.
And it reminded me of Gary Craig’s favorite maxim: Try It On Everything!
Ange Dickson Finn is an EFT International Accredited Certified EFT Advanced Practitioner. She is based in Houston, Texas, USA, and works with clients over the phone and via Skype. Ange has helped clients with issues including physical pain, health and well-being, work-related stress, equestrian sports and relationships. Visit her on the web at www.TapIntoYourself.com or www.RideWithoutFear.com.
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on February 23, 2013
Thank you, Virginia. I would love it if it helps others in similar situations. If I could impart one thing to everyone I work with, it would be to make tapping second nature, so using it becomes automatic.
Beautiful article, Ange. It’s the details that make it so useful. The information here will hopefully be used as a pattern for any accident by a multitude of people.