If I told you that the way you breathe is an act-out, you might scoff, so let me explain. Act-outs mean that you are acting out unconsciously and symbolically a trauma from the past. Allow me to offer one example: shallow breathing. When there was not enough oxygen at birth, the mother being heavily drugged and/or anesthetized, the drug seeps into the baby to shut down her breathing, she learned to conserve oxygen to survive by shallow breathing, she becomes a shallow breather; those who do so, just think that’s the way it is for them, and not a sign of anything else.
The fact is that it is a sign of an event that endures and directs the system in so many ways. And this extends throughout the system; so when oxygen is depleted during birth the blood vessels constrict or shut down to save one’s life. The result can be chronic migraines where the blood constricts to save oxygen supplies. This happens when someone is upset over something, feels threatened or is anxious.
From then on, we hoard oxygen as a life-saving device. The whole system is in locked-down mode. And this modus operandi spreads throughout the system: the way one speaks, bespeaks of energy conservation; softly, quietly, of being constantly in a state of holding back, which sometimes translates into conserving money, emotions, breathing. expression, etc. In short, by not expending too much of anything. One can become a general hoarder; ”I cannot be without....otherwise, I will die” (Originally….without enough oxygen my life is in danger). Her life-time leitmotif is, “It is never enough..” and “I have to make sure I have enough”. The fear is I cannot run out (of oxygen, of what I need) or I will die. If I conserve, I will not be danger; I will have enough. If I have enough it means I am being taken care of and I won’t die. This seems like a stretch yet so many patients report on this theme constantly.
In another case a patient harkens back to originally saving just enough energy to handle minimal tasks. She avoids being overwhelmed (again, as originally). She only buys what is basic and necessary. She only travels lightly so as not to be overloaded. A too heavy suitcase is a cause of anxiety because she fears she may lack the energy to handle the load. Her whole life runs on the formula, “If I spend too much, I will die.” And this is symbolic acting out of her original trauma. Too much breathing can lead to death, so heavy exercise is avoided. She prefers a simple life style, with little material worries so she is not overwhelmed. The less she has, the less she has to take care of, the less energy she has to expend. This person wants others to take control so that she does not have to organize anything.
What we have here are different modes of behavior from roughly the same kind of imprint…. depleted oxygen during gestation and at birth. Life circumstance adds to choices but the overall behavior has a single motif.
An extreme form of this is free diving; the idea is to go as deep in the ocean while holding one's breath, until one becomes a champion breath holder. And believe it or not, there are medals for this. Except it is dangerous and someone just drowned last week trying it. It is done without any oxygen at all, and experts can go minutes without breathing. The unconscious idea again is to re-enact the early trauma, coming close to death and trying to survive. It seems that the closer one comes to the limit and near death, the more one is applauded. It is the early trauma turned upside down. I wonder who instigated this madness? But one is attracted to it because it is a chance at reliving symbolically. Coming close to death and living. That is the paradigm, the leitmotif called "sport". So here we have different modes from roughly the same imprint. One embraces it and the other flees from; not even getting into an elevator for fear of reawakening the original imprint. It includes many factors; one is to dash ahead crashing into their imprint and conquering it, the other is avoiding it at all cost. In any case, it pervades every aspect of one's being. The counter-phobes find it and chase it, while the phobics look elsewhere. So free divers are counter-phobic? I would bet on it, but then again I don't bet.