When we suffer from anxiety it can be tempting to reach for an immediate ‘quick fix’ solution. Antidepressantsappear to offer this for some people. Unfortunately, this is a prime example of treating symptoms rather than the cause.
|Anxiety is an issue hypnotherapy can help enormously. Many other issues stem from a root of anxiety. However, it is one of the most fundamentally simple things to treat using hypnotherapy. It requires work, and it requires a therapist with an understanding of the causes of anxiety. We would be happy to work with you to make anxiety a thing of the past. Therapists are available to work on this issue from 9 am to 8 pm, and can be booked using the ‘Request an Appointment’ button on the menu ba above.|
Anxiety is an issue that affects most of us at some point in our lives. Our tendency to play down its importance and to try to ‘tough it out’ can often exacerbate its effects. Many illnesses result from our inability to manage anxiety. Some very obvious examples of this (and this is just to illustrate the diverse nature of things that can be caused by anxiety) include bulimia, some skin irritations, some types of toothache and many others. Our ability to overcome illness is hampered by the presence of anxiety.Addictions, phobias and depression are all impacted by anxiety. With this in mind, it is worth a moment looking at the idea of anxiety in a historical context.
The following is an excerpt from Rob’s blog:
When I was very young I remember an old man that lived on our street in London. We would see him working on the tiny garden in front of his house from time to time. On the other side of the road was a churchyard with old iron railings painted a gaunt black. The years of painting had softened the look of that fence. One day I remember seeing a young boy run alongside the fence with a stick held out – as it rattled along the iron railings it gave out a loud rattatatat sound. These were the sounds of life in our street.
Now, another look at that apparently ordinary scene. The old man was on his knees weeding his garden when he heard the sounds of the rattatat. For him, in an instant he was transformed back to that moment in 1916 when he was first deployed to the Somme. As a frightened teenager he had been quite literally terrified, uprooted from his childhood home to fight a horrific war. He had been deployed to the Western front into the thick of the fighting. Like so many of England’s youth of the time, he had no idea what to expect. He quite possibly had never left home before. As a young man, hopelessly badly prepared, he would have been as afraid of the process of being dispatched to war, as he was of the enemy. Seeing his friends and brothers killed right before his eyes with industrial efficiency, he was exposed in a short time to enormous trauma.
Finding himself in a wet trench surrounded by heavy fire, the sound of machine guns in his ears at some point he literally shut down at a neurological level and ceased functioning. It used to be called ‘Shell Shock’. Nowadays we call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The immediate effects were obvious – he would have found himself rooted to the spot, unable to function and quite terrified of everything going on around him, until he shut it all out. Blacking out, or fainting or simply going into catatonic shock is an immediate result of such trauma in some people. Unable to function, much less to fight, he would have been shipped home.
What is less understood is the long term effect of shell shock. For the old man in the street, the sound of that stick being rattled along a railing transported him back to the trenches in an instant. For him it was the sound of the machine gun all over again. In a moment he was transfix and then collapsed in absolute terror shaking on the ground.
Long Term Effects of Anxiety
Just as Pavlov’s dogs salivated on hearing the bell, so he played out the response he experienced with the sound of the ‘machine gun’. Some of the kids playing in the street saw him collapse and ran and got an adult. As I remember it, one of the parents went and helped the old man; they’d seen this before periodically. It was something which happened now and then and had been a part of his life these past fifty five years. The people in the street knew of the old man’s trouble and helped him back inside and calmed him down whenever he had one of his ‘turns’.
This enduring memory from childhood is an extreme example of how anxiety can affect us. In this case it’s a response to a very defined trauma. Both the original trauma and the response were extreme, which both go to illustrate the point. For some, that trauma is less defined. It could be fear of an accident, or fear of being alone, or even something as apparently benign as not being asked to be in the Sunday school play.
In each case a response of anxiety – extreme or otherwise – can be debilitating and hugely impactful on our daily life. Not all of us will end up cowering in a flowerbed, with bemused children playing in the distance. For most people it will feel more like an increasingly present feeling of unease in our stomach. From time to time it will well up in waves and make itself felt with a malevolent darkness that is unmistakable.
From the point of view of hypnotherapy, we often see a trigger of some type, and a response to it. The hypnotherapist’s job is to try to uncouple those two elements. Going back to Pavlov’s dogs, we need to get the dog to stop salivating involuntarily when that bell rings.