11 May – Trying to break the compulsion for ‘reassurance seeking’

11 May 2017

Hi Robin,

Please could I ask a real quick question?

I had such a good day yesterday.  Such a good day.  Every time I felt anxiety – be it physical or mental – it felt so easy to face it and literally watch it shrink.  I could absolutely FEEL the anxiety leaving my body, a bit like the current Weetabix advert where the giant bursts into the room hell bent on frightening the boy, but he’s not afraid of the giant because, “fie fie, foe, fix, he’s just had his Weetabix!!!  The giant feels he’s lost his power and retreats….  Well, that’s just how I felt yesterday, I faced my thoughts/ fears and they retreated.  It felt wonderful.

HOWEVER, today, I felt so frightened the MINUTE I awoke.  Worse than other mornings.  My tummy is churning.  My thoughts FEEL so strong in pulling me in all the time.  I’ve been trying test pilot mode but I feel absolutely exhausted.  I’m frightened of how I feel, Robin.  I’m not on any medication but I almost wanted to ring the doctors to ask them to give me something, anything to take it all away.  I don’t want to go on medication.  I want to do this myself and cure myself but today I feel hopeless that I’ll do it because I feel so confused as to why I could be so GOOD yesterday, brilliant in fact, yet today I’ve gone so far back.  One step forward and 10 steps back.

Thoughts, feelings so strange today and I’m so scared.  Is it anxiety?  Will it go away? I don’t personally know anyone who has experienced this, at least not in my family, which is why it makes me feel I am different from everyone else.

Thank you.  D

Hi Diane

The best thing you can do is read over all the emails again – all the answers are there

even to these current questions – you have asked exactly the same thing several times now

That’s not a criticism – it’s just anxiety sufferers often imagine that its all new and unique every time

Honestly you will get as much help going over the emails as me going over it again in this one

I can tell you that you have very basic standard anxiety (related to obsessional thinking) and I have heard MUCH worse from people who took MUCH longer to understand as much you have so far

As I keep telling you – this will come and go – until you really really really get the full belief deep down that everything I am telling you is the truth

until that time you will waver from believing that to being overwhelmed

The way it normally goes is you get small glimpses – along with lots of anxiety

Then you get half glimpses half anxiety

Then you get really ‘great’ days followed by REALLY horrible anxiety (because you feel relatively SO bad compared to feeling so good) This is very standard basic reaction

Along the way you have to decide to practice and study more and go towards it more and more in a PLANNED way

Yesterday you felt good but at this stage you will get so excited about a ‘good’ day you will think ‘I can do it now – or its all over – its away..’ and strangely that can lead to a desperation that the NEXT day be the same – and if it isn’t – well you know what happens then

This is just another stage in the whole process

I do keep trying to warn you that this will happen many many times – but like most people you are still very surprised when it happens

read the emails again – you will get it back dont worry

Try to investigate how to practice with it in a more planned way – to move the acceptance forwards

see what you can come up with

You still havent sent me any worksheets etc 🙂

you WILL get there I assure you of that – accept that you cant rush it

11 May 2017

Ok.  Sorry to have troubled you.  Thank you for your reply.  D

11 May 2017

Robin, please don’t be cross with me but could I just make an observation to you please.  I have great trouble accepting that I CAN BE CAPABLE of having such weird bizarre thoughts.  If I COULD accept that, then surely there is no battle to be won.  That’s what’s holding me back today.  Do others struggle with that too?

Sorry.  Sorry for troubling you.  I know you must think I’m a nuisance….

Hi Diane

Please above all else never feel I get ‘cross’ with you – if you keep thinking that or apologizing then our conversations will be wasted on you apologising and me reassuring you

I am more than happy to help – as I said I can use our emails as a future ‘panic dialogue’ (will all names and references removed)

try to accept that if I ‘seem’ annoyed that is probably when you are reading when I am trying to ‘push’ you for your own good

I could easily keep reassuring you – but then you wont get better – so I;m sure you dont want that ultimately – even if your mind feels it needs it

Anyway – try an experiment and dont be apologetic in reply to any more emails

and with regards this last email – you THINK if I reassure you on this then that will be it – but it wont – it never is – never in the history of therapy with obsessional thoughts or panic has reassurance EVER solved anything

You are AGAIN being addicted to the ‘content’ – rather than accepting that its the PROCESS that is the problem

so – I will tell you the ultimate final reassurance and you can see if this works or not

People with anxiety are capable of having the WEIRDEST of thoughts – they can range from abstract (why is my arm my arm and not someone elses arm) to frightening (I keep thinking about driving my car into a wall) to fear of harming others (I think of spitting in someones face – I think of dropping my baby out of the window – I think of stabbing my very nice neighbour) to esoteric (why is the sky so big – where does the universe end – why am I me – what is the point of it all)

I dealt with a girl who had very obsessional thoughts about hanging herself – she was NOT in ANY way suicidal (as the stupid doctors thought) she just couldnt get the THOUGHTS about the rope and the noose and hanging it round the beam and putting her head in it – out of her head

I dealt with a man who couldnt go out of the house because he has severe weird thoughts about things that were too large – he was overwhelmed by big building – big machinery – the size of the world itself – open spaces – etc – I discovered that he had been trampled by horses when he was very young on a farm – and he saw them as HUGE creatures about to kill him

the list goes on and on

as I said YOUR thoughts are actually not very exciting in terms of weirdness – sorry – but they are very normal average standard thoughts for anxiety

There are entire books written about dealing with obsessional thoughts and their variations – so yes MANY MANY MANY people struggle with these same thoughts and worse

NOW – the above is the ULTIMATE definite absolute reassurance that you asked for – I can’t be any more reassuring – would you agree – so if you think that that is the solution then this email should solve your problem completely – true?

Probably it may calm you down for half an hour – then you will need more reassurance – “Yes I know you are saying that but what about THIS – THIS is different – isn’t it ??”  then I can reassure you about THAT and then the next one and the next one and so on

and this will be because you are literally addicted to focussing on the CONTENT

and you ARE capable of stopping doing that

and thats what you need to do from now on – if you want to get better

the CONTENT is 10000000000% irrelevant – it has absolutely NOTHING WHATSOEVER AT ALL IN ANY WAY to do with the problem – any more than the lyrics of Postman Pat would have relevance if you had that song STUCK in your head

You are again forgetting that – and not FORCING yourself to CHANGE your viewpoint TO that realisation

you just keep getting DRAWN back into the scary movie – which ultimately is YOUR choice – ONLY YOU can decide to stop doing that – I cant do that part for you – all I can do is tell you that you ARE STUCK in the movie and its not REAL and you CAN pull back and be an OBSERVER – and that you need to practice this in EARNEST and SINCERELY and with determination until it becomes your natural viewpoint again.

You have to do this 10,000 times – just as long as it takes – you will get it one day the next you will fall apart – then you do it again and again and again

There IS no other way – there is no magic pill or magic words – this is MISINTERPRETATION – FALSE ALARMS – MISTAKE – it can only be solved by seeing it for what it is

and the CONTENT has NOTHING to do with it

Go over everything again

and remember experiment with not being apologetic in your future emails 🙂

11 May 2017

OK.  UNDERSTOOD…. Over and out. X

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