Found this posted somewhere by someone so thought i would put it here.
These are notes from
Claire Weekes on recovery from nervous illness taken from 'Essential help for your nerves'
ie (Two of her books combined into one being, More help for your nerves and Peace from nervous suffering)
Weeks talk is referring to the nervously ill.
Weekes offers help to the nervously ill.
Allowing them to take back control of their lives.
Her empathic guidance, comfort and self-help practical strategies ultimately allows one to self soothe and recover from nervous illness.
Weekes teaches recovery from nervous illness by using 4 simple concepts. FAFL (or AAFL)
Letting time pass.
= acknowledging that cure must come from within oneself, with guidance and help from outside of course, and not from some permanent outside crutch.
1. Facing the things you fear for recovery lies in the places and experiences feared.
2. Not shying away from nervous symptoms for fear of making them worse.
Note: Shying away is running away not facing
3. Saying ‘It doesn’t matter, I can cope’
Some try to avoid panic, yet when it returns even minimally brave flags crumple. Facing is when our inner voice hopefully says, “Perhaps it won’t happen here”, it is then trumped by an even larger voice saying “It doesn’t matter if it does happen here. It doesn’t matter anymore. I can cope with it.”
4. Recognising that the way of recovery can be difficult
Once prepared to FACE the next step is acceptance.
ACCEPTANCE IS A DEFINITE PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESS THAT EVENTUALLY SOOTHES
1. Letting the body loosen as much as possible then going toward not withdrawing from the feared symptoms the feared experiences.
2. ‘Letting go’, ‘going with’ bending like the willow before the wind – rolling with the punches!
When one goes forward into panic (and any feared symptoms) the secretion of the hormones, principally adrenaline, is reduced.
On the other hand tensing encourages further secretion and so more sensitization and therefore more intense symptoms.
3. Keeping an open mind
Despite thinking acceptance is impossible I will at the very least ‘think about’ acceptance.
4. Realizing acceptance is the beginning.
Established sensitization can rarely be soothed quickly because it takes time for the new mood of acceptance to be felt as peace.
5. Realizing it takes time for a body to establish acceptance.
Question: How can I accept while I still complain of symptoms?
The most frightening symptom is panic because in a sensitized person it can strike so fiercely and so quickly, even thinking about it can bring it on. Of course naturally we recoil, tense against it, try to stop the flash coming however tension brings more sensitization and so more panic.
6. Seeking out Understanding
i. It is difficult to accept erratic heartbeats, shaking, restlessness if one thinks they are going to die. But easier when one understands they are not going to die. That these symptoms are a temporary and unimportant upset in their nervous timing.
ii. Understand the flash of panic is no more than an electric discharge while it may feel devastating, it is only an electrical flash along sensory nerves.
iii. Blind acceptance can cure as well is acceptance based on knowledge; but when knowledge guides, acceptance is easier.
iv. ‘Putting up’ with is not acceptance.
7. Realizing acceptance is not easy.
Its not easy to accept, a fire that consumes, vibrating, shaking, stomach churning, limbs aching, heart pounding, sight blurred, foggy head, a feeling one will snap at any moment….yet accept.
8. Realizing that the cure lies in losing fear and that this is earned only by learning how to go through it the right way – with acceptance.
Is facing and relaxing, being prepared to go slowly with as little self- induced agitation as possible vs ‘Putting up with’ equals resistance.
Repeated panics can be exhausting.
10. Not adding a ‘second- fear’.
Accept symptoms without adding a ‘second- fear ‘ (fear of symptoms, especially fear of panic).
11. Active involvement.
Practice acceptance, make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath, let it out slowly, let your tummy muscles sag.
12. Throwing away the gun and letting the tiger come if he wants to.
Acceptance is key to recovery.
Peace lies on the other side of panic.
By going through panic to the other side you earned a little voice that says,
“It doesn’t matter anymore if panic comes!”
This is the only voice to listen to… Even if you find yourself helpless on the floor
In the past Orthodox psychiatric treatments rarely recognize the importance of fear-of-fear and too often persisted with searching for childhood causes, which was neither necessary or helpful.
Yet fear-of-the-fear is valid.
We should float the symptoms not fight them.
1. No grim determination, no clenched teeth as little pushing, forcing as possible.
2. Not adding panic to panic.
3. “I’ll go with it”, as gently as I can.
4. Not lying and gazing at the ceiling thinking, ‘I don’t have to make an effort I’ll give up the struggle.’
5. Not searching for a way to recover.
It’s as if one steps aside from the body and lets it find its own way out of the maze. The body that so skillfully heals a physical wound without our direction can also heal sensitized nerves if given a chance and not hindered by inquisitive fingers picking at the scar. Float don’t pick.
6. Removing the tension of forcing making repeated effort less daunting, vs fighting which is exhausting.
7. Holding one point of view
Expecting a bewildered confused person to find his own answers to his problem is rarely good therapy. It can mean an unnecessarily long period of suffering because too often through sensitization and fatigue, the sufferer switches too easily and too quickly from one point of view to another stop. Holding one point of view that brings some peace is essential for recovery. A good therapist helps his patient find such a viewpoint.
8. Trying to lead all disturbing obstructive thoughts float away, out of your head.
Note: This does not mean floating past real problems
Accepting and floating are very similar.
Letting Time Pass
Nervously ill people are impatient with time and want immediate appeasement.
Impatience means tension and tension is the enemy of healing.
A still, sensitized body can be deceptively calm in a calm atmosphere but a body even only slightly sensitized cannot always maintain calmness under renewed stress.
So time, more time must pass.
Time itself is a healer.
It’s similar to the donkey and the carrot. The carrot (recovery) must be shifted just a little forward during each setback but always remain within sight.
How long will recovery take?
So much depends on the degree of sensitization and the circumstances of recovery. There may be constant strain e.g. domestic situation.
Also it takes time to blunt memories cutting edge. We can’t anaesthetise memory. Indeed, when surprised by some grueling memory, who can suppress an inner shudder? And yet, the person trying to recover from nervous illness seems to think he should. He wants the balm of constant peace.
It is difficult to understand that a body’s sensitized reaction to memory is no more than the working of a natural law; difficult to understand that a setback is not always a setback in the sense that it sets back, but should be even expected and accepted as part of recovery.
Setbacks should be expected and accepted as part of recovery.
Its victim is much more likely to believe that some strange jinx is bugging him. His jinx is his lack of understanding. When so close to past upsetting experiences, and with the body still churn to give a too quick, too intense, reaction to memories prodding, it is natural to be too easily bluffed by memory into thinking he will never recover.
When memory first strikes it is as if the sufferer has learned nothing from past experience. The symptoms he learned to disregard suddenly begin to matter again – very much. And before he has time to study himself enough to think clearly, he feels sucked willy -nilly nearly into the whirlpool of setback.
However if he had originally worked his way out of suffering the hard way – by having truly faced and lived with his symptoms while accepting them, having conquered adding second fear (fear of symptoms, especially fear of panic ) then memory of his original recovery gradually awakens the little inner voice that says, ‘you’ve come out of it before. You can do it now! ‘ You know that the symptoms do not really matter! He hears this voice with thanksgiving and relief, because with it comes a special feeling, a realization that the symptoms really do not matter. He now feels this; doesn’t just think it is he did at the beginning of setback. He now feels that with relief. Fear gradually goes; relaxation and peace come. He is on the way to true recovery.
Recovery is built on repeated experiences of discovering that symptoms no longer matter.
When enough setbacks bring enough such experiences, the feeling of symptoms- no-longer mattering comes more quickly, is more forceful, and the impact of memory shock becomes weaker and weaker until it is but an echo of former suffering.
Setback is one of the best teachers, and an almost essential halting place in recovery because it gives more time to relearn and practice.
[A therapist may not understand this].
At some point in nervous illness the sufferer may be so ill he no longer cares what happens; however, as he begins to recover, caring returns and this may be complicated by his feeling that although much better, he cannot face the future demands and responsibilities of normal living. At such a time he is often accused of not wanting to get better. Make no mistake, he wants to recover, but at the same time the prospect of coping with the demands of recovery may be so frightening while he is in his present state of only partial recovery, that he almost convinces himself that the criticism may be true – another bewilderment in nervous illness!
Enough time must pass to provide a protective layer of normal responses to help him gradually find his balance and normal living, to take normal reaction for granted.
As his body strengthens, his spirits rise, optimism and confidence returned. The process may be so gradual he may be unaware of it. It is this gradualness that makes all possible and only the passage of enough time can bring such gradualness.
A Dutchman once said to Vera Brittain (an English author) that the postwar Dutch were suffering from a spiritual sickness which time and understanding alone would heal. He said that suffering could not be eraised the moment the war ended and peace came; time was necessary for the Dutch to regain their balance, their ability to be on top of events, including their own lives. He added; ‘Be patient with us. We have to grow into liberty.’
And so must the nervously ill person grow into recovery. There is no electric switch, no overnight cure.
Many nervously ill people expect recovery to bring a state of peace they never previously felt.
For many people piece is often further delayed by their two fearful, and too tense, recoil from a binding awareness of self – the result of months, even years, of concentration on themselves and their illness. They delay their own recovery by trying to force forgetfullness. Nothing can be forced in nervous illness. The only way to lose consciousness of self is to accept it; to accept any thought that comes as part of ordinary thinking. This means that they should think about themselves and their illness as much as the habit demands and realize that it is only a habit fostered by mental fatigue. Once more I stress that the key to recovery is not in forgetting but in no- longer- mattering, for this time must pass.
When the patient realises that the intensity of his reaction is part of his sensitization and that if he accepts it and that’s more time passed, those reactions will gradually become normal, then intense reaction can be born more philosophically this is sometimes called regaining one’s balance and, as the Dutchman said to Vera Brittain, it takes time.
And a bit extra thrown in...
Last 2 pages of book , p409-410
The Alarming Return of Panic
Reviewing the difficulties of recovery I would say the most alarming of all is the return of panic weeks, even years, after recovery. In my experience, this unexpected reappearance of panic causes more concern than any other aspect of nervous illness. It shocks, frightens, and it reminds. That is why it is so shocking. Reminds one of so much one would rather forget forever; of so much one hoped one had forgotten forever.
The fear immediately added, together with the physical disturbance caused by panic, resensitises slightly and helps bring back some of the old, perhaps almost forgotten, nervous sensations, so that the unwary sufferer may be bluffed into thinking it has returned, will return if he doesn’t look out.
Never retreat from fear, in fear. Never let an unexpected return of panic shock you into running away from it. Halt; go slowly. See the panic through and then go quietly on with whatever you are doing. That the panic come again and again if it wants to. Do not try to switch it off in fear; do not withdraw blindly from it. Understand that some tension, some strain, may have slightly sensitized you once more; or that memory, stirred by some sight, sound, thought, smell, may have flashed the old feeling. Any of us at times may become slightly sensitised by strain, so that we feel on edge, apprehensive. If this happens to one who has felt panic intensively in the past, his apprehension can quickly change to panic, because the way to panic in him is so well worn. One could almost say his panic mechanism is well oiled, ready.
If you accept that for a long time to come you may have a strong flash of panic from time to time, and if you can realise this means no more than that you are slightly sensitised for the moment, or that memory has stirred the embers of your illness, and if you can see this panic through for what it is – only a physical feeling without real significance – then you are truly recovered despite occasional bouts of recurring panic.
I remind you again that recovery from panic lies on the other side of panic, whenever it may come. Always see it through and go on with the job in hand. Never run home and fear. Never begin avoiding again.
Accept everything about your illness.
Do not waste energy trying to analyse every strange happening.
Do not be dismayed by sit back; nor bluffed by memory.
Do not despair when achievements seems unreal; practice, never test.
Do not be overawed by defeatist contemplation.
Do not be dismayed if you feel nervy than ever when you first begin the journey to recovery.
Do not be discouraged by physical illness.
Above all, do not be shocked by return of panic, or any strange flash experience.
You may think there is so much to remember, so much to do. There isn’t, you know. It is all in one word – accept.
Once you have the understanding this book brings, it will not matter if you forget the rest, as long as you remember that wonderful word accept.
Edited by ChessieCat, 30 March 2016 - 02:09 PM.
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