ANALYSING THE SITUATION DOESN'T SOLVE THE SITUATION FOR ME
Therapy is something of which I have been a patient for since the age of three years old. Sessions have generally been weekly over a long course of time, and I have also been given countless resources to find ways of managing my anxiety. Due to having been three years old in the early nineties, I’ve experienced a variety of therapists from different generations, as well as almost three decades of scientific advancement.
Despite having so much therapy which virtually began from the moment when I could first communicate effectively, it has taken me many years to find solutions to my constant feelings of anxiety (or predispositions towards feelings of anxiety if I’m able to control myself in the situation). For such a long time daily meltdowns were occurring which were very difficult for myself, my family as well as the whole neighbourhood. During meltdowns I will uncontrollably thrash around (occasionally injuring myself) and be extremely loud by uncontrollably yelling.
These meltdowns were happening day after day, and year after year. When I got into my twenties and these episodes were still occurring, both myself and my family were trying to discover the reason for why therapy wasn’t only not working, but making my meltdowns even worse. They were also multiplying in number, and it was just recently when I found out why this was the case.
Especially in my earlier years of therapy, methods of treatment were generalised and were very much given via an outdated textbook. The constant advice I was given involved me having to ground my mind by not distracting myself with other activities, as well as having to analyse any situation that was affecting me, in the hope of eradicating the issue from my thoughts/feelings.
However meltdowns would always occur when I experienced confusion and a misunderstanding of any issue. Often in conversations I would misunderstand something of which I was told, and would then have a meltdown from failed attempts of trying to understand what was causing the feeling I was experiencing. For many years I was extremely frustrated because I couldn’t understand why all of those failed attempts were actually making me more confused, as well as giving me even more anxiety.
Thus, whenever I am experiencing any kind of thought which is either irrational or out of context, it definitely wouldn’t do me any good to try and analyse the situation while I’m unable to see any of the matters clearly. In fact when it comes to obsessive thoughts, failed analysis will just add more unrealistic and/or paranoid beliefs. It doesn’t help to ask another person for explanations or clarifications either. This is because while I’m in that state of mind I won’t understand what the person is telling me, and I will end up asking so many questions that they’ll eventually get irritated and impatient. From there I will be concerned that I’ve done something wrong, and would then have another meltdown.
Though recently I and my therapists have come to the conclusion that it’s essential for me to try and deal with my stress and anxiety in a different way.
It’s very important for me to realise that the situation itself (regardless of how minor or major it is) is never the cause of my uncomfortable feelings or anxiety. Instead it is my reaction to the situation which is always the problem. In truth, if I weren’t to take any notice or give any thought to any of life’s dilemmas, I would never feel stress or anxiety!
So this essentially means that I should firstly ask myself “Is the situation life threatening?” and “Is there a solution to the problem?”. If the situation doesn’t affect my safety (of my life or possessions), or if it’s a case of there being no possible solution to the problem, the best thing for me to do is to work on eradicating my own uneasy feelings instead of the situation itself. Or if it’s a situation where there is a solution that’s possible, I should first act out upon that while my mind is still rational. Then once that action is performed, my priority needs to shift towards eradicating my own anxieties instead.
Over the past few years I’ve discovered different kinds of activities which distract my mind from different kinds of anxious feelings. I’ve found that distraction and simple acceptance works so much better than deep analysis of an issue. It’s also no coincidence that I’ve since had far less daily anxiety, and I no longer have daily meltdowns. If ever I do have a meltdown (every once in a while and not frequently) it doesn’t last as long and nor are they to the severity that they once were.