Phobias, anxiety, disorders, and the unconscious.
We’re going to continue our talk on panic and anxiety good with that, so that’s an excellent point to point out if you have anxiety about something, then it’s not a mental disorder. If you know what the reason is, then it’s a normal reaction — a typical response that you’re anxious about, like picking up the little munchkins on time.
People come in with anxiety, and they don’t know why, and that’s when it becomes interesting. Or they think they know why and it might not be the real why. That’s when we dig in and do our work because that’s what’s most exciting. It’s like being a detective because you have to find out what it is. It’s unconscious, and why is it unconscious because it hurts. There’s some pain there’s something below the surface. This is painful; you know your brain is smart. Most people’s minds are sparse; it wants to cover up pain; it doesn’t want to feel pain. You may want to know why, but they don’t want to know why.
Our job is to get glimpses of that as it comes to the surface and pulls it out, helps them understand in a safe place where they know that, yes, it’s going to hurt, but it never hurts as much as they imagined. It’s like a memory from when you were a child, and you couldn’t deal with pain and stressful situations like you do now. It’s like ripping off a band-aid type of pain
It’s usually something as simple as a negative feeling towards somebody that you love. I’ve talked to patients about them having a fantasy about hurting somebody or maiming somebody they feel so guilty about it, but they’ve just been trying to bury it all this time. The fantasies are normal, but there’s a lot of people who do not believe that, and some do not think it’s reasonable to have fantasies about any feeling or doing anything.
For this, I’ll use my Stephen King approach. Stephen King would be in jail if we thought weird fantasies were against the law. That’s right; there’s a big difference between thinking and acting.
Symbolism is very abstract. I’ll give you an example; sometimes, little crawly things mean invasive. So has somebody been invasive? In a session, I would say okay thanks we’re on the right track because I know you’re eliciting a response from me right so it could be somebody who is a mean or forcing you that could be an invasion it’s probably off a chronic invasive person in of my space right in your area or wanting you to do something that you didn’t want to do. So they’re forcing that, maybe forcing their viewpoint on you or you had that sense that they were right. Sometimes it isn’t as black and white as they were doing it.
Instead of having the anger at the person being invasive because that’s overwhelming, I got angry. If someone’s invasive, controlling, demanding, whatever flavor you want to make that, then the anger is all normal, and that’s your clue that you need to put a boundary. Remember our boundary talk because people have this. The next fear is, once I face the fear at and the anger at the person for being invasive and the guilt sets in because you have a fantasy of wanting to hurt the person or yell at the person or giving to the person or invade them back. That’s just a clue; that’s your mind’s way of saying, okay, well, I can’t do that’s not acceptable. I only need a bit of a boundary; then nobody gets hurt. f
When it comes to anxiety, it’s a very similar situation because people don’t know how to deal with some emotion, so the anxiety symptoms come out. The panic is when there’s a physical something in the environment that you’ve put all your feelings on. It’s that thing, creature, situation, that’s causing this not a person. Generalized anxiety, it’s a chronic feeling of anxiety, so there’s something not specific bringing that. It could be another person acting in a certain way; it could be a reminder or some other thing or just thought to go through your head that brings that all up. But it’s the same process going on underneath the unconscious.
When I give a patient scenario, it’s not real. Whenever I write or talk about patients, it’s so automatic now because I’ve been doing this for years; it’s always a mash-up.