Monday, June 20, 2016

Is it Nervous or Is it Physical?

When I attended my first Recovery International meeting years ago, I was told that members give examples about nervous and physical symptoms that arise in relation to a nervous condition (i.e., depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.). Even if I had a headache I could spot it was distressing but not dangerous if it was the result of getting worked up over a triviality. 

Over the years, I've been fortunate enough to avoid any serious physical illnesses or ailments. However, in the last month or two, I've had some physical symptoms that could be nervous or could be truly physical in nature. I've been to the doctor a few times and she ordered some tests. Two of the tests I've completed so far turned out normal, which is wonderful. I have another test coming up soon. In the meantime, I find myself obsessing about what could be causing my symptoms. 

When I first started experiencing these symptoms, I attended a few RI meetings (always good to do whether or not I have any symptoms). The members offered helpful spots to deal with the symptoms I was experiencing. At home, I skimmed the book Selections after we read it at one of the meetings. It's chock full of wonderful RI spots and philosophies, and I read a few chapters several times, gleaning what I could in relation to my symptoms. I wrote about 15 short passages on Post-It notes, which I then taped to a blank piece of paper and put it on the wall next to my bed so I could read them when I go to bed at night and wake in the morning. 

I found I was engaging in a lot of self-diagnosing. It's funny, but when I first came to an RI meeting, almost all of my symptoms were emotional. Over the years, I've had very few physical symptoms, and those I did have were transient. I never really did much self-diagnosing then (other than "I think I'm going crazy"). But this time, I have physical symptoms and virtually no emotional symptoms. No lowered tones, no anger, no fearful thoughts (other than those surrounding the symptoms), no feelings of unreality, no panic. 

But regardless of the nature of my symptoms, I can spot that they're distressing but not dangerous (after all, I've had them for more than a month and I'm still around, so even if there's a medical problem, it's not dangerous), they're phasic and not basic, I can function with them, and to know is not to know. 

Soon, I'll know whether or not my symptoms are nervous or not (or both), and until then, I can wait with reflective calm. I'm so very lucky to have stumbled upon this method years ago, and I wish more people knew about it so they could gain inner peace in their lives. 

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