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.