This Pride, we thought we’d share a personal story from within the float community from someone who used floating to help her find herself.
Juliet Mylan is a trans woman who lives in Portland, Oregon and she has been gracious enough to share her experiences with floating and how it helped her understand her identity as a trans woman. This is her story:
What’s happening to your brain when you float? How do you go from being awake, conscious, and stressed to relaxed and dreamy? While we still have a lot to discover when it comes to different states of consciousness, one key element is the “Theta State,” when our brain waves operate at a certain frequency most often linked to the moments between sleep and wakefulness. To really understand what the Theta State is and how it benefits us, we have to first explore a little bit about brain waves more broadly.
Floating removes you from the outside world and gives your mind the freedom to wander wherever it wants to go. When you float, you don’t have anything you need to do.
There’s nothing you need to work on.
You have a space where you can lie down, removed from the pressure of thinking, discussing, or participating in anything at all. It’s an environment that exists almost completely opposite our current plugged-in, sensory-driven way of life.
In a float tank, you have the opportunity to be more mindful than pretty much any other environment in the world.
“I remained happy, and carried with me the positive feeling into the next two days. It was almost a ‘celebratory’ feeling. One that has not been produced by any other medications, therapies, or methods of dealing with the individual diagnoses I live with. I didn’t feel the need for the anti-anxiety medications for nearly two days. Which, in my current state, almost never happens.” —Andrew
“Andrew” is a real person, though that’s not his real name. Over the last two years he’s been clinically diagnosed with Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, and Anxiety Disorder. He has worked with trauma therapists and all the resources in the Boston area, including MGH and McLean hospital. He’s even gone so far as to participate in clinical studies at MGH for current drug trials that are being studied for his particular diagnosis. To date, nothing has significantly improved his quality of life, and is left with very few options short of electroconvulsive therapy.
He contacted us, wanting to know if he could try floating before committing to anything so drastic as ECT. Sara and I gave it a little thought and said, you know what, helping someone like this is exactly why we want to open FLOAT. We offered a series of three floats over three weeks, if he would write up his experiences before and after so that we could share them here.
[After my third float] I felt calm and happy, an experience I can’t remember having in a long time. So much so that I was unfamiliar with it, and didn’t know what to do with the positive happy feeling. I know how to take care of myself in the dark troubling times, but over the last few years, have lost the innate knowledge of how to feel happy, and what to do with that time.
This is an anecdote – one person’s experience, and no kind of clinically controlled trial. Please interpret with caution. Still we were thrilled with the results, and are excited to share them here.