Apologies for the lack of posts – I didn’t attend therapy for two weeks due to illness and bad weather. I think this will be the last post in this series: 10 seems like a good number to finish on and I only have a few sessions left, so I think the next couple of weeks will be more about firming things up rather than starting anything new.
This week we focused on something that affects me a lot – anxiety about anxiety – and a valuable lesson was learned. Fear breeds fear. When we make a big deal out of particular thoughts or feelings, we make them worse. So when I get anxious and start to feel sick and start thinking OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO VOMIT, I get worked up and feel more nauseous and then, surprise surprise, I vomit. We looked at the concept of just letting thoughts or feelings ‘float past’ us, acknowledging them, but not giving them any credit. For example, if I’m feeling a bit hungry, my tummy might rumble. This is just what happens. I acknowledge that my tummy has rumbled, I’m a bit hungry, so go and eat a sandwich. The idea is to focus on anxiety or anxious thoughts in the same way – like a belly rumble.
So when these thoughts or feelings arise, it’s about noticing that they’re there, maybe even telling myself ‘oh, I feel a bit shaky‘ or ‘I’m starting to feel a bit sick‘ but continuing on with whatever task I was doing (or starting a new one). Don’t give it any credit.
The whole idea of this is that anxiety is created by us, within our own bodies. This means that we, within our own bodies, can remove that same anxiety. Reducing the reactivity to anxiety helps to remove the fear as well as allowing us to take back control of the situation. This is something that takes practice – meditation helps – but it makes a lot of sense, I think. Gradually, by adding to the ‘portfolio’ of things that we’ve done or achieved, places that we’ve been, things that we’ve felt etc. we slowly make them less scary.
We also spoke about everything I’ve achieved since I first started these sessions and it’s actually loads. I didn’t really realise until we spoke about it. When I first started I was constantly anxious. It was like an underlying feeling that I just kind of got used to being around and sometimes it would erupt. Sometimes it would just linger for days and sometimes it would evolve into full blown panic. Now I’ve been on the tube, I’ve been to London, I’ve been out for dinner, I’ve been to a wedding, I’ve been to parties. Don’t get me wrong, some days still aren’t great but I’ll take feeling anxious every now and again over every day – easily! As well as learning the reasons behind my anxiety and completing the appropriate therapy, the most valuable thing I’ve taken from this whole experience is the tools to do it myself. Obviously, having the right therapy (and therapist) is incredibly important – well, vital to the success of it – I have now learned how I can deal with anxiety myself. I now know what to do when it strikes. Even just knowing that I’m well-equipped to deal with it when it pops up means that it pops up less.
With this being the last post in the series I think it’s important to point out that if you’re considering starting EMDR therapy, please ensure that you choose a licensed professional! Also, just because these posts will now stop does not mean that I won’t tell you any more if you want to know it. If you’re considering therapy or interested in hearing more about the whole experience I am more than happy to share whatever you want to know. I’ve spoken to a couple of people about this already and have no problem telling you guys more about this type of therapy if you think it could benefit you. To get in touch, feel free to email me or send a message on Twitter.