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