My most distressing symptom is blurry vision. Sometimes when I begin to read a thought of insecurity enters my mind (What if I am not reading “properly” and missing something important?). Then the usual, “old-friend” symptoms develop: racing heartbeat, shallow breathing and, most distressing to me, blurry vision. I have struggled mightily with this symptom for at least 10 years.
Through my Recovery training I have learned to spot these symptoms as distressing but not dangerous. By not attaching danger to the symptom and replacing insecure with secure thoughts, I have managed to decrease my level of discomfort and “limit the damage time.” Blurry vision is still my most troubling symptom, plaguing me virtually every day. Yet now when I experience the sensation I remember to endorse myself for the effort of reading and not the outcome (my so-called worry about “understanding”). Adopting a realist philosophy, I acknowledge that I am reading just fine—thus, it’s not how I feel but how I function.
Like many nervous people, I used to think I suffered alone. Even after joining Recovery I used to think that few people experienced blurry vision. I then decided to note every time Dr. Low discusses blurry vision in Mental Health Through Will-Training, and I was surprised how often his patients reported this symptom or Dr. Low discussed it: pages 61, 62, 65, 66, 102, 106, 112, 114, 174, 228, 240, 266, 290, 291, 308, 341, 376, 377, 379, 381, 382, 383, and 400. If you suffer with this sensation, you will likely find these references very useful and comforting.
Dr. Low addresses many symptoms, including a person who had a rectal itch (333) and severe belching (385). In the end, the actual symptom doesn’t really matter; I’ve found they change and evolve over time, sometimes receding while others pop up. Symptoms are like weeds. You can cut them down but unless you uproot them, they’ll keep on coming back. To people without and even those with nervous symptoms, many sensations seem foreign, strange, and bizarre, but for the sufferer they are quite real and distressing. Thankfully Dr. Low provides us with a simple but effective method for addressing all symptoms, no matter what they may be.
1. Low AA. Chapter 46: Symptoms must be attacked where they are weakest. Mental Health Through Will-Training. 3rd ed. Glencoe, Ill.: Willett, 1997.