Monday, 25 February 2013

Stage One Exposure and Eddy Whiskers.

Firstly, let me introduce Eddy Whiskers, the latest addition to our family. Hamper G has wanted a cat/kitten for some time. I always told her; one will come along soon enough. There's no need to go and look for a cat, they come and choose you and he did. He's about 8 months old according to the vet, we took him there to be scanned to see if he was chipped or reported missing, no. He's a real softie, he'd sit all day having his chin, cheeks and ears stroked. He curls up to sleep in normal cat position then gradually rolls his top half over until he's lying on his back, stretches his paws up above his head and sticks his tongue out! . . I'll get some better photos eventually, but for now this is Eddy in full on chill mode;

Ok, you get the idea, I am a tad obsessed with his beauty at the minute . . .  The softness of his fur. The thick velvet of his paws, the silky smooth fur of his ears. The airy fine fluff on his tummy, short, flock-like stubble on his nose. Precious little creature that he is. That's Eddy.
In therapy, we've completed the preparatory work and made a start on low level exposure. Along with my weekly appointment, this takes an hour a day. An hour, at home, with no distractions, being fully focused and prepared to bring on anxiety and stay with it. Yes, stay with it. Not avoid it, not run from it. Stay there. There is a limit to how bad it can get. Most phobics, or indeed non-phobics, probably don't realise this as we're used to "avoiding" uncomfortable feelings. We might imagine what could happen, but we run away long before it can. Anything but facing the fear . . .Why? What do we believe will happen if we face the fear? Will the anxiety just continue to escalate? What will it lead to? Screaming? Crying? Palpitations? Sweats and shakes? Yes. For sure. Heart attack?  Death? No. There is a limit and when we reach this limit and stay with it, eventually it will descend, it will pass. Yes, really. And, what's more, the more we "use" this technique, guess what? the more tolerance we build up to it . . . So maybe the peak will last twenty minutes on the first "exposure" but after a week of doing this daily, for an hour, the peak will get shorter and, of course (hopefully), lower. I was utterly exhausted at the end of my first hour. I will write more about this technique and therapy as I progress. I find it fascinating and can see, in theory, how it works. In theory.
O yeah, my chest review. Being the expert avoider that I am, I managed to cancel, ignore or conveniently forget the last five or six appointments; having convinced myself that the results would not be good and that I would be referred to the hospital again. Fool that I am. It appears that walking four or five miles a day since September has improved my lung function to 70%. When I was first diagnosed with Emphysema (4 yrs ago ) my lung function was 47% . . .  I must be doing something right, as well as doing plenty "wrong".
65ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt;llllllllllllll56 4. That's Eddy's cryptic message.
Well, as much as I would like to sit here and write all day, I have to get on with life, starting with my hour of "forced anxiety" I must be bonkers. I had to take the weekend off as there were just too any people in and out of the house . . . There's no excuse today. Damn.
Hope you're all good today.  Sending love and thanks to you lovely folk x x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dance me to the end of love

OK, Happy Valentine's Day.

There's so much more to say but each time I come here, I don't know what to say . . .

My therapist says I'm an expert avoider and I think that she is spot on. Avoid, avoid, avoid. A void.
I avoided opening a letter from benefits for two days. That could have been a very foolish idea. As it was, it was only to inform me of a £1 a week increase in my payments.
I avoided leaving the house, successfully, from Sunday to Wednesday. Very good, yes, well done.
I've even avoided my own Blog . . .

And the Phobia . . . Well, that represents all manner of matters . . . If I can avoid "that object" (object of my phobia), then all will be fine, which of course it won't and it's not . . . 

But that is, I'm learning, part of my reasoning. This makes sense to me

And the Addiction . . . Well, that helps me to avoid all uncomfortable, or comfortable, feelings. And if I don't "feel" then everything will be fine, which of course it won't and it's not . . .
And it's really not.

I've become a little wary of telling too much truth, which is a shame.  I don't want to have to be cryptic, but I can't be specific either. Shall we say, I'm a bit beyond fighting at present. I know you will know what I mean.

I swing between hope and despair. Hope, usually as I leave the therapist; Yes I can do this. I can beat this fear. That's all it is. Fear. Everything that is wrong with my life is born of fear. Despair; There are so many fears, so much fear, so deeply rooted. I will give up when the going gets tough, which it will.

Well, that's just some of it.

It's half-term and Hamper G is reminding me that we're cleaning the hamsters out today . . . O yeah, so we are.
Her Dad is still being held as a "Foreign National/Civil Prisoner" . . .  This is an utter nonsense. He was born in Glasgow . . . But what can one do against the powers that be?  What about the Truth? No.

So here's to Love and Truth on Valentine's Day. I am still reading your Blogs. I comment and delete, comment and delete. Thinking often of you all with love. Thanks, as always x