One very important lesson I have learned in Recovery is that nervous symptoms can be tolerated. This is particularly powerful insight.
When we are extremely anxious, it feels like the whole world is spinning out of control—and that we are at the center of a narrowing emotional vortex. We often have the false impression that we cannot function and that we need to stop what we are doing that is scaring us.
But through reading Mental Health Through Will-Training (1) and attending Recovery meetings, I’ve learned that while uncomfortable sensations and feelings inevitably will flare up and cannot be controlled, my thoughts and reactions to them can be managed. Although I may feel very uncomfortable, these symptoms are distressing but not dangerous (a Recovery mantra). And I don’t have to buy into the notion that I am in any trouble or danger. I can accept these feelings for what they are but not get worked up about them.
This concept has helped me a lot over the past few days. In fact, I think I might have made a small breakthrough in my understanding of my condition.
1. Low AA. Mental Health Through Will-Training. Glencoe, Ill.: Willett Publishing Co.; 1997;80-90.