Friday, March 2, 2012

When the Superman Band-Aid Doesn't Hold

So, I panic from time to time. Finding a way to get a grip on the irrational emotions that occur during that time is a tough job. 

There have been some interesting times in my life, and because of it, I've had the following terms used on me: mild OCD, panic disorder, PTSD

My response to them all back in the day was "woe is me", but now it's more akin to "bite me!" How many acronyms can a single person be labeled with? 

Hi, I'm Diana BS MS PT ICD9 340 ICD10 G35 OCD PTSD... and on and on and... Forget that! I've been labeled enough. Can't a person just be sad anymore?

Simply put, I've got issues, but who doesn't? I've got to deal with them and I refuse to hide behind or excuse the issues because of my labels. 

I also refuse to let labels and treatments desensitize me from the responsibility of corrective behavior; especially when I do have control over at least that much. 

Medicine is appropriate in the right setting, but that's not all that I should rely upon. So many people think that, because you have swallowed a pill, you've been absolved from doing anything else about the situation. 

I would like to submit that treating "the problem" by milligrams alone is essentially like putting on a band-aid with poor adhesive qualities.

I'm fascinated by the mind-body connection. I've begun to understand just how powerful a role it has played in my life; it's been empowering to know that though I may be irrational at times, I still have some semblance of control over my response(s). 

Not long ago I read something that got me really thinking - it was in Aine Tubridy’s book, When Panic Attacks. She was talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and I realized that what she had written about actually held the key to understanding normal fear and anxiety. 

Normal meaning, you live and breathe, therefore sadness will happen occasionally and you may even freak out from time to time because of it. 

Tubridy talks about the primitive fear response that is the basis of all panic, which can be good sometimes:

"[The aim of fear] is not only to prompt you to find safety, but it will remain in place until it is certain that the danger is over and that you will not be exposed to a similar experience before you have fully recovered. Once you are out of danger, the focus shifts to a risk of a future occurrence. Your internal bodyguard means to see that you don’t become complacent or relaxed for some time yet, to ensure that you stay ‘on alert’ should the danger return unexpectedly - the alarm will only cease when your primitive brain is completely satisfied that you are not in danger any longer and that adequate safety measures have been put in place for the future."

What I get out of this is that you have to prove to the primitive brain that the danger no longer exists - only then, will it stop the fear. And sometimes the fear may linger because the situation is prolonged. 

In some of those situations your life may not be in danger, but the brain perceives that it is; simply because it's in a state of unrest. In other words, you're not where you would like to be.

I can't tell you how many times over the years that I've read from multiple resources that the final say comes from the brain. 

In his book, Life Strategies, Dr. Phil McGraw said something to the effect of the following: When it's announced that one political party takes control of the Senate, it's not bad news, it's not even good news, it's just news

The pros and cons of the situation aren't assigned until an individual interpretation is applied. Even then, it's still just news. The mind still has the final say of how that information is going to affect you. Y-O-U still get to decide how you will respond to whatever comes your way.

This life is about our responses to the ebb and flow of circumstances that we experience. 
Labeled or not, medicated or not, 
we still get to decide what we do about it.

I've had a really long and really crappy week. The days have been packed with insecurity and frustration. But this week is also over, yeah! 

I also have had moments of joy while serving others, seeing family and seeing some neat people at work that I seldom get to see. The positives of this week really do outweigh the negatives. 

In any case, I'm really thankful for my pillow and I think I will go let my head sink into it. I look forward to a good long run tomorrow. You know what? I'm amazed I'm even running. Yes, these will be good dreams tonight; very good indeed.

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