Received a text from one of my clients sitting on a plane ready for take-off. He was flying to another State to see his son in an important football game.
He is a very successful business man, but on occasion he experiences anxiety symptoms in the form of Ocular Migraines, which then creates more anxiety. “Should I get off the plane ?”
I knew that departing the plane would really cause him more anxiety as he would feel he was failing his son and himself. That would consume his thoughts for weeks.
I knew he had been given Xanax by his doctor to be used on occasion as needed.
I asked if he had his meds, and suggested he follow his doctors orders and then get busy planning his itinerary while with his son. He did so, and we chatted until take-off. I knew that he just needed something to focus on…and he did just that !
But before we ended our conversation, and knowing ten minutes had passed since he took the Xanax, I asked if he knew what the trigger for this bout of anxiety was…..and his response was, “I knew you were going to ask me that Coach, and I now realize that my wife was drinking heavily last night, so we skipped going out for her Birthday. I just cannot stand her drinking so much. But I have No Control over her !”
So I reminded him to just focus on what he had control of, and move on.
Some of the most rewarding clients to work with in my practice were those suffering from anxiety, panic attacks or obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Rewarding because of the progress I knew was to be made, but daunting as I knew that they would frequently be visited by potential self-doubt even after making progress and formal therapy ending.
Actually, that was the primary reason I started my on-line support group many years ago, as I wanted my clients to be able to have somewhere to go to get a boost in confidence to remind them that they have the tools to use when they would begin giving into their fears and avoidance of the real issues would again take over. I would remind them to set healthy boundaries in dealing with other people, and focus on facing whatever they fear or are avoiding, one step at a time.
Just your mind playing tricks on you. Most, after some success facing fears, will find that their minds try to revert them back to fears. That is why it takes persistent progress through daily repetition. It takes support and encouragement from others who are challenging their moments of self-doubt. Many have had the avoidant side being more in control for many years. It became a habit. It is going to take many repetitive steps facing fears to break the habit of avoidance.
Don’t dwell on what you cannot control. Your number one task is to make a mental list of what you feel you need to take greater control of your life, be able to respectfully express your opinions and thoughts, and be able to do what is important to you with your life. Self-Respect wins the day.
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Retired, Coach
Blog : RuledByFear.com