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- Nothing like a couple of hundred dollars repair
bill to increase the suffering. The story didn't end there ... a month
or two passed and in the mail came a urgent request to pay a parking ticket.
Obviously the "friends" had neglected to mention this also. Patricia
thought to herself ... "How can I ask them to pay for this ... it
is my car after all ...". And so the cycle rolled on. One noted characteristic
of people with an Anxiety Disorder is they are incredibly sensitive individuals.
Not that everyone else are not ... Klara was very sensitive to others words
to her. She was also sensitive to what she said to others. If she spoke
to someone on the phone she was intensely alert to even the inflection
in her voice. After a phone call her mind would go over and over the whole
conversation. What she said, how she said it, whether it was appropriate,
whether she had displayed the appropriate emotions. Usually she would find
something she said which might have been misconstrued by the other person.
After a huge debate within herself, Klara would end up calling the person
back and apologising for saying "hello" the wrong way, or apologising
for something said inappropriately, or for not being sensitive enough to
the other person's dilemma. The other person had no idea what she was talking
about. They would then try to assuage her fears she had said anything wrong
at all ... it went round and round in circles. So for every phone call,
there would be multiple call backs ...
- Many people think positive thinking is all that
is needed to stop the anxiety thoughts. Bob had read a "terrific"
book on positive thinking and it made sense to him at the time. Every morning
he awoke to the "same" feelings of overwhelming anxiety but pushed
through this to stand in front of the mirror to repeat the positive affirmations.
I am a wonderful person, he recited. Today will be a good day. I am going
to be happy. Today is a new start. Today is the beginning of the rest of
my life. I am me and that is just fine. Having finished this exercise he
stepped in to the shower to 'freshen and cleanse' his body and mind. As
the water gently cleansed his body, his mind had other ideas. "You
know that what you just said was a load of rubbish. You won't be happy.
You haven't been for the last few years. It's not going to be a good day
.. you've got to go to work and you feel lousy." As every thought
passed he started to feel worse. He tried to combat the negative thoughts
with the positive thoughts but the more he fought the more power he gave
to the negative thoughts. In the end he had an anxiety attack and headed
out to work .. just. He repeated this process for months, never giving
up because he had faith in positive thinking. In the end he realised that
positive thinking wasn't for him and started learning the technique of
just letting his thoughts go - regardless.
We often say in the recovery process that a "setback" is inevitable.
Many times we will ask "Are you meditating?" or "Are you
working with your thinking?" The other question we ask is "What
is happening in your life right now?" Such was the case for a young
lady who was perplexed by her current setback. She was meditating and she
was, she thought, working with her thinking. So what was happening in her
life. Oh nothing, she replied. Everything is fine, nothing that I shouldn't
be able to handle. After a little talking she disclosed her husband was
just about to lose his job with no new source of income on the horizon.
She couldn't work because she was in her recovery process but her husband
didn't seem to understand this. They already lived on a tight budget and
they had missed a few home mortgage repayments, so the bank was "breathing
down their necks". Her teenage son had recently discovered his rebellious
streak and was in trouble with the police and her youngest daughter had
contracted some strange virus. "Nothing really happening" she
finished off, "I should be able to handle it." There are not
even many super heroes I know of that could handle this load of stress.
She couldn't see it initially but after some talking her fears and worry
surfaced. This was the cause of the setback. Sometimes we are blind even
to our own feelings ...
Fred was in his sixties and had experienced panic attacks for many years.
Finally he found a solution - meditation. He loved it. From the first time
he meditated he felt peace and relaxed. For weeks he flew. Not one panic
attack. His face glowed with his new found freedom. One day, however, the
panic attacks came back and it hit him very hard. Why, why? He was still
meditating. Why. It seems Fred had a soft heart and had offered to ferry
an acquaintance of his into town everyday. They lived 50km from town. He
also had to wait 2 hours while the person finished their business before
returning. It was taking it's toll on him. When asked whether he really
wanted to keep doing this his only reply was that he was concerned for
the person "How would they get into town without him taking them?"
Are they an adult? "Yes" was the reply. Then it is their responsibility,
not his. After a while Fred admitted he hated it now and felt used. Initially
it was from the heart that he offered, but now it was getting a bit long
in the tooth. His mind was filled with anger as he waited those 2 hours
in town everyday. What should he do ....?
- Robert was your average middle age guy. He had
worked for 20 years at the same job. He worked hard too. He played the
corporate game well. However he was starting to feel the effects of this.
He noted that his fuse was getting shorter and would generally snap at
his wife for no reason at all. He also noted that his concentration was
fading and he felt "stressed out" much of the time. Strange feelings
used to consume his body. The most disconcerting for him however was the
chest pain. He felt it much of the time. He was, he knew, in the danger
zone for major heart troubles. He feared he was going to have a heart attack.
The more he worried about it the greater the chest pain - proof enough
for Robert. After much procrastination he went to the doctor, fearing the
worst. The doctor gave him a full examination with all the appropriate
tests. The doctor gave the verdict. There was nothing wrong with his heart.
He was the perfect specimen of health. Robert quizzed the doctor about
this chest pain and it's severity - after all, he wanted answers. The doctor's
only reply was that he felt Robert was stressed and needed to relax a little
- perhaps take a vacation. This of course answered none of Roberts concerns.
Over the ensuing weeks, his anxiety levels increased off the scale. His
major fear - he was going to have a heart attack ... he had all the symptoms.
Repeatedly he went back to the doctor. Nothing wrong with your heart. Why
the chest pain? The doctor told him straight out, you are not going to
have a heart attack. Robert needed to understand why he was experiencing
all these symptoms and didn't get the answer. He later said, after many
years of experiencing an Anxiety Disorder, if only the doctors had answered
that initial question the major fear "What if .. I am going to have
a heart attack" would not have taken root.
- Harold was well on the way to recovery from Panic
Disorder. He was confused, however, as to why he was feeling anger almost
all of the time. He wanted to know how he could get rid of it. Surely something
is wrong. Every time he felt anger he would push it away, hold it down,
hold his breath - anything but feel it. Every time he did this the anxiety
levels would rise and he had to work extra hard with his thinking and meditation.
He felt that it was a barrier to his ultimate recovery. He was right. Something
was wrong, and it was his perception of anger - that it was a "bad"
thing. It was explained to him that this anger was very appropriate. All
the years of suffering, shame, fear, the decline of his standard of life,
the marriage problems that had been caused by this Anxiety Disorder. Didn't
he have a lot to be angry about. It was the final healing. The final acknowledgement
of all of this. He no longer battled with his anger but acknowledged it
as having a right to be there and to be acknowledged and worked with.
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