Author’s Bio: My name is Carl Lee, and I have a Master’s degree. I have been working in the mental health field since I graduated. Our company website, www.sandaki.com, is also a platform for people to share their stories about depression and anxiety.
I lived with my mother, who had an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and spent my teenage years in that kind of pain and suffering. For me, it was a hellish experience. She controls everything in my life.
I could only look at myself in the mirror once a day in the morning. Otherwise, she thought I was not doing my job. She only allowed me to wash my hair once a week. Otherwise, she thought I was not thinking about my studies.
I had to follow her steps to clean or wash the dishes. I had to cut them in a particular shape according to her requirements. I wanted to help with the housework, so I was asking for trouble.
I could only wear what she thought looked good, and it was tough for me to become an ordinary girl throughout my teenage years. I could not go to my classmates’ birthday parties, come home late, and so on.
Since I was a teenager, I have been able to realize that my anxiety was increasing day by day. My mother used to tell me how cute and obedient I was when I was little. Why did I grow up to be a different person? That’s because she didn’t know that as a child, I just couldn’t or didn’t dare to express myself, and when I grew up with my thoughts and emotions, or when she couldn’t control me, she thought that I had changed.
My mother and I lived under the same roof, and it was impossible not to meet with her. So, “home” became my nightmare, and “going home” was the only thing I feared.
To avoid my mother, I had to lock myself up in my tiny room at home and only went out for a while when I ate or went to the bathroom. But even so, my mother would still keep barging in and disturbing me. So, I had to use the bathroom as my haven. Whenever my mother tried to count me, control me or suppress me, I would flee to the bathroom, which was my haven at that time.
Initially, I did want to go to the bathroom before I went and just stayed in there a little longer. But then it developed to the point where I kept going to the toilet as long as I was home, and I stayed inside for an hour or two.
We all know that urine is constantly produced and accumulates in the bladder little by little. If you sit on the toilet all the time, you can keep excreting a small amount of urine all the time, but this habit is not suitable for your health. However, I didn’t know this before, so I formed the practice of getting rid of a bit of urine when I had it.
In the end, it was a habit not only at home but also outside. The strong urge to pee would always force me to go to the bathroom quickly by myself, even though I knew that there must not be much after I went, but I had to go again. This condition is called autonomic dysuria, which means no pathology in the physical organs. Still, psychological factors cause the frequency of urination.
The nervous system is composed of two parts：
- The involuntary nervous system, which allows us to move our muscles as we wish.
- The autonomic nervous system controls the functioning of the body’s internal organs and our emotional performance.
We all know that when people are under stress, their emotions naturally change. At first, these changes are within the normal range. Still, the feelings slowly become intense as the pressure increases, and the nerves are “awakened.”
When the nerves are “awakened,” the following feelings are experienced: rapid heartbeat, loud heartbeat, palpitations or heart “stopping,” regurgitation, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing, weakness, dizziness, or a sense of panic, which is a harrowing process. I believe that everyone who has experienced this feeling will not want to share it again.
However, the worry about these painful symptoms instead creates more stress and intense fear of the symptoms.
Later, the patient’s anxiety is the anxiety itself, and the chronic anxiety evolves into an internal fear. The patient’s fear is the fear itself, and it is no longer the disease itself, which leads to a strange circle. And the patient gets confused about what the symptoms are. Then new stresses are added. More stress triggers more symptoms, and eventually, a vicious cycle develops.
Psychologist Claire Weeks calls this cycle “neuron sensitization. It is believed that all people with OCD experience a similar painful feeling of powerlessness.
Usually, as soon as this phenomenon appears, the first thing the patient thinks of is how to get rid of it. But, as always, as I have shared with you. All the difficulties and tribulations we encounter are here to help us grow. We can’t get our way through resistance. The only way to be healed is to accept it unconditionally.
People who don’t dare to face their true selves, people who are afraid to meet their illness head-on, will never learn the correct way to deal with panic.
I want to share the words from Dr. Claire Weeks.
When under tremendous stress, he will experience hand tremors, which he will think are signs of a deteriorating health condition. He mistakenly believes that this is a problem with his health (hypochondria). He may say to himself, “You’re out of control, you’re dying, you’re sick.”
The reason for handshaking is as simple as the knee jerk reflex. If you tap your knee tendon, your lower leg will involuntarily kick forward. Because there are many nerve endings in the knee-tendon when the nerve endings are tapped, the nerve endings send this signal to the spinal cord. When the spinal cord gets the call, the knee sends a bouncing motion.
The same nerve endings are found in the muscles of the fingers. The nerve endings are driven by adrenaline, a stress hormone released by the nervous system controls organs and emotions.
The adrenaline prompts the nerves in the fingers to send signals to the spinal cord to shake, and hand tremors take on the form of hand tremors. Therefore, hand trembling is not terrible. It is just a knee-jerk reflex reflected in the fingers. It’s nothing. Just let it shake. Is there a way to control it? By accepting it, you can eventually own it.
So when panic strikes, you should allow yourself to relax and let the feeling of panic sweep through your body. If you see the problem clearly, panic is nothing more than a burst of electricity, an insignificant burst of electricity.
Don’t hide from the panic, let it come, and approach any symptom with complete acceptance. Just let the body happen what it needs to happen, which is the mindset of change, reversing the vicious cycle.
From being afraid of the disease, you can face your fears and get rid of them by confronting the symptoms. At the end of the day, although the panic will still come, it no longer matters.
This insignificance is the crux of the matter. The disappearance of symptoms is not called a cure; it is only when the symptoms become unimportant that it is called a cure.
When a person is constantly thinking about their illness in their head and worrying about it for a long time, their brain will become tired. Brain fatigue not only makes a person physically exhausted but also causes emotional overreaction. Therefore, anxiety, fear, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are caused by brain fatigue.
Often, anxiety, fear, and compulsions permeate each other with a different biased focus.
Many patients experience this condition, such as being nervous before a test or interview, worrying about failing the trial or interview (anxiety), imagining what will happen if they fail (fear), and wanting to prepare better but constantly being distracted and unable to be still. The more they tell themselves not to think, the more they can’t help thinking (compulsion), which leads to more fatigue. In turn, they become more anxious, panicky, and fearful because they are more tired. So they are always caught in cyclical pain.
Only when the patient understands that when you feel physically tired you will want to rest. And that you are overthinking leads to brain fatigue when the brain is tired. At this point, the brain will create fearful thoughts, thoughts that interfere with everyday life. If you can also stop, accept this state, give yourself some time to rest and relax, you will be able to return to normal.
This attitude of acceptance is the key to recovery!
I was following my method of healing, which I call thought blocking. It’s about not allowing the brain to function the way it’s used to functioning. When I saw Dr. Claire’s method, I felt a similarity to my own.
So usually I do things that I am very interested in, such as playing the piano, reading books, writing, making handicrafts, etc. In this way, it is natural to reach the state of forgetfulness and meditation.
Regardless of the method used, relaxation in an effective way is of the utmost importance. Of course, one of the most effective ways is currently recognized as meditation.
To face and accept pains bravely, they are part of life. We can’t just want what we want and reject what we don’t like. That’s not the law of life. The law of life is to accept everything.