Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pesky, persistent symptoms

I believe I have the will to bear discomfort.

And I’m trying to not work up my symptoms.

Yet my anxiety persists.

Someone recently asked me why I am not improving more quickly given my Recovery training. That made me stop and think. But I reminded her that my symptoms did not develop overnight, and they won’t disappear that quickly either.

Perhaps the way to orient myself to reality is to ask myself what I was like before learning about Recovery, as we do in every example at the group meetings. Before Recovery I was a lot less hopeful about living with anxiety. I’ve since learned that helplessness is not hopelessness. I’m beginning to understand that symptoms are just that—symptoms. It’s not how you feel, but how you function that counts. I try to not work myself up about uncomfortable sensations and feelings, as I can control only thoughts and emotions (the inner environment).

So I’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m looking forward to making more. :)

I endorsed for writing this post.


Anonymous said...

Doug, I really like the way you acknowledge that it will take awhile to undo years of habits. Dr. Low talks about this a lot.

But rest assured it WILL change. You may always be a "Nervous Person" (that's your leading disposition--being very sensitive and perhaps easily startled) but with consistent RI practice you'll notice your anxiety levels decreasing.

Will to bear discomfort AND will to patience. Try fail try fail try succeed!!!!

Thanks for posting and for sharing.

Cliff Brown said...

Hello Doug,

Thanks for your down-to-earth and honest post. I can relate a great deal to your topic and challenge: "persistent symptoms." The big one for me in recent years has been fear which is related to anxiety. One spot that has been helpful to me that you don't hear much: it is self-diagnosis for me to say that I should or shouldn't be currently feeling something; related to that - mental health isn't measured by the presence or absence of a particular symptom or symptoms. You are making a lot of effort and that is what counts. And there have been results as your before/after picture shows. One thing I try to do with persistent symptoms is "go beyond them" and take the total view and ask myself: compared to before, do I have more self-awareness and inner peace deep inside, below the level of the symptoms which are still present? do I feel that I am getting stronger overall even if I feel "beaten down" with X or Y at times? The answer is generally yes and then I realize that I am getting better in the big picture. Hope this is helpful.

All my best,

Cliff Brown

A§hlady said...

Such an interesting blog.

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