Friday, February 26, 2010

Preventing temper from taking off

This week I had to travel for work, and both my outgoing and incoming flights were delayed. When I was returning home, the plane had to return to the gate twice before we boarded another plane!

Before Recovery, I certainly would have worked up these situations, lamenting the “injustice” and “unfairness” of them. I did have a brief flare of temper, but I recognized—and spotted—this as average. I didn’t work it up. I acknowledged that disappointments are part of everyday life, and that flight delays are really trivialities. I did not let my angry or fearful temper to develop into symptoms.

I forgot to endorse myself for handling these situations so well, so I’m endorsing myself now. While other passengers were obviously irritated, I remained cool, calm, and collected. I am so thankful for my Recovery training!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Working through symptoms

Symptoms, symptoms, symptoms. This is Recovery language for all of those head pressures, electrifying zaps, heavy breathing spells, tightness, and other feelings and sensations that can make living with anxiety so miserable.

One of my most disturbing sensations is blurry vision. When I become anxious it becomes difficult to focus or read (or at least that is what I have told myself). I have had this problem for about 10 years, during which I’ve worked this up into a vicious cycle. In fact, I thought I was the only person who suffered with this symptom until I came to Recovery, in which I met people who have this symptom as well as read about them in Dr. Low’s works:

“Harriette was tortured by ‘headaches and nausea and fatigue and dizzy spells, by weak spells and palpitations.’ Her ears ached and her eyes blurred and her throat choked….” (Emphasis added) (1)

I have been in Recovery since last May—reading Dr. Low’s works and attending meetings—and I still do have blurry vision. However, I now know that when I’m having this sensation, I can control my thoughts: I do not need to “react” to this. I can remind myself that yes, this sensation is distressing, but it is not dangerous. While I may feel that anything I do while I have this sensation will turn out wrong, that is not a fact. (One of my relatives likes to remind me that I always will perform in a reasonable way.) If I make a mistake, it’s no big deal—mistakes are average and happen to everyone, whether they have a bout of blurry vision or not.

Hopefully some day I won’t deal with this sensation anymore. But in the meantime I now have the tools to cope with—and ultimately conquer—this problem.

1. Low AA. Mental Health Through Will-Training. Glencoe, Ill.: Willett Publishing Co.; 1997;65.