Archive for October, 2008

Anxiety, avoidence and de-sensitising

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Hi Everyone, This will be my last post for a while as I go on holiday next week, so hopefully people will get something from this latest post, which is different than recent posts, where I have tried to get people to change their attitude to anxiety or any other symptoms, as its not about having no symptoms, its fine as long as you don’t let these feelings control your life and spend so much wasted energy trying to rid yourself of them.

This leads to todays post, which the idea comes from a program I was watching, I actually do not like the program ‘Jeremy Kyle’ and it was on in the background until it caught my attention.

The program started with a women who had been burgled and met the guy face to face. Two years down the line she never went out and was constantly in fear and suffered with anxiety/panic etc. It was having a terrible impact on her life and she wanted help. Then some guy who was there to help her, did actually for once talk a lot of sense and said something that I could relate to. He said ‘I went through something very similar, but I refused to let it rule my life’ He said he understood the concept that, if he did not get straight back out there, then it would cause far more problems and he went towards what he feared and did not hide. I think he said he was mugged or something similar and he actually wanted to get straight back out there, understanding that it was better to do this than let the problem grow. The main thing is, he did it straight away and did not build up more avoidence behavour habits that could cause more problems.

I wont claim to know anything else on this part of the program, as I say it was on the background, but I just caught him saying this. But I thought, here goes his advice to this lady will be the usual twaddle, but he surprised me and said the only way to move forward can come from you and you have to go towards what you fear to get your life back, he never said it was easy, but suggested staying at home and all the habits of needing someone with her constantly and not going out were counter productive and she needed to do the exact opposite to move on from this. I am not blaming this lady by any means, but what she did wrong was to never her allow herself to feel any fear to get through it, for her it was about not feeling any fear or as little as possible. She would ring her boyfriend 20 times a day and when he got back he was never allowed to go out, she would not go out in case she saw this guy again and the problem just grew and grew. What she needed to do was feel these feelings and go through them, even if at first it was not ring her boyfriend so much, little steps, but she had to feel some uncomfort, only then would she feel more comfortble, she could never expect to live life with someone constantly by her side. But again I am not blaming this lady, she was just going with her instincts.

I always went towards any uncomfortable situations and refuse to get into avoidence behaviour, even in my days of little knowledge I knew that this was the worst thing I could do and trust me this is what de-sensitises you. I know we want the easy way out, but I thought if I don’t do everything at will and allow myself to feel some fear, then my life would just get narrower and narrower. A realisation once came when I had a job interview and as I got near I thought ‘I can’t do this, I felt very anxious’ I then had a realisation. ‘I would feel like this pre-anxiety days’ but I would not let it bother me, also my nerves are sensitised so I may feel it a little stronger than most, but its the same feeling, its only my attitude to it that has changed, so I just got on and went in and soon felt a lot calmer once I was in chatting. Again I nearly let a common feeling of excess adrenalin (which is all it was) bluff me into avoidence.

From that day I always went everywhere at will, however I felt and it was the reason things got so much easier. But I had to go through these times and not trust my bodys instinct to avoid, there was logically nothing to fear, so why should I? I may have felt uncomfortable again, but these feelings did not bother me in the slightest, I had an in built confidence, I had been through them so many times and nothing ever happened, so there was no reason to care how I felt anymore. I just tried to lead as normal life as possible even though I was wracked with anxiety or felt great. To get normality back I had to live as normal as possible and not let any feeling control what I did and did not do.

I refused to let how I felt narrow my life even furthur.

I know we are all different and some people may need to take small steps at first, but the power is in us all. Don’t be bluffed into avoidence by what is nothing more than excess adrenlalin in a sensitised body. Once you deal with yourself and not a place, nowhere can hold any fears, the feeling is always the same.

I hope that people can relate to something there.

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