“I want you to squeeze me as hard as you can,” I said to him.
“Are you sure about that?” he asked.
I eyed him, admittedly unsure. He was awfully strong, after all. And I’m not the best at figuring out what my body’s gonna do before I try something. “Well, maybe not as hard as you can,” I amended, “but do it harder than you usually do.”
He smiled. “Sure.”
And then he wrapped his arms around me, and every neuron in my body sung in perfect harmony.
Under Pressure Yet Perfectly Calm
It wasn’t that long ago — perhaps 12 years now — that I first learned what really makes me relax. And that’s pressure. Whether that’s a tight hug from someone really strong or having someone literally lie on top of me pressing their weight down on my body (euphoria with the right person who is shaped and weighted just right), the experience makes my anxiety brain clean out of its usual hidey hole and set off for parts unknown.
At moments like these, I’m under pressure, yes, but perfectly calm. And that’s not a feeling I experience a lot naturally. Sure, the last five years or so I’ve managed to squirrel together something close with the aid of mindfulness work and meditation — but it’s not the same thing. Not really. It’s in the same family but not the same intensity.
Physical pressure is the higher intensity version. When done just exactly right (for me), it’s almost like a drug.
My partner’s family had a neurotic dog who needed a device called a ThunderShirt, a tight-fitting jacket they’d put on him in order to help him with his anxiety. It worked wonders for this pooch. The pressure helped him stay calm, relaxed. It chilled him the heck out.
I get it, doggo. I do.