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Holistic Therapy and Social Phobia

I had Reiki for the first time yesterday. It wasn’t what I’d expected.

I think I’d expected something between acupuncture and a seance. It was nothing like that, as it turned out. It was much more like body energy-centred counselling.

It’s hard to choose what to share, partly because it was such an intense session and partly because I’m still processing what happened. I was really impressed at the truly holistic nature of reiki. The word holistic is used so often, and applied to so many different therapies, I was happy to discover that I’d found something that truly earns the label holistic.

In one of my favourite movies, actor Tom Hanks says ‘There’s no crying in baseball,” but I’m here to tell you that there is crying in reiki. One of the odd experiences I had was discovering that my eyes were full of tears and my face was very wet, and I hadn’t been aware I was crying. It was as though healing was occurring in such a connected physical/emotional way, it was all just happening in concert. Unlike most other therapies I have experienced, this one seemed to engage the brain almost without conscious thinking. Okay, I did say I needed time to process this, so if my words sound strange, maybe I just need more time, more reiki and more tears.

I found reiki really nurturing and healing and I’m looking forward to going back for more.

Social Phobia

I have a friend who is deathly afraid of spiders. I mean, he is scared to death of any tiny little black thing that even looks remotely like a spider. The instant screaming and Gangnam Style moves he starts making are immediately recognisable. The spider dance, we call it. At times, the spider dance has been triggered by a big, hairy, scary looking spider. At other times, we’ve found the object to be not a spider, but something more like a little piece of black lint blowing across the floor. We all have a laugh, my friend points out that it might have been a spider, and everyone should look out for spiders, because this might not have been a spider but who knows what might come crawling out from under the fridge next?

Now, if you can, imagine that instead of a huge fear of spiders, someone has a huge fear of people? But, I hear you say, spiders bite, and some spiders can kill. Yes, yes, I agree with you. But honestly, have you ever met a true spider phobic who has been bitten really badly by a spider?

Social Phobia (SP) really, really, really, really sucks. I love my friends, my family, my clients and colleagues, but SP, which is a strong component of my BD, really messes with my ability to interact with people. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to speak in front of a large group of people, and felt uncomfortable in the extreme, to the extent where your fight or flight response is overridden by a sudden lurching in your stomach and you wonder if you’re going to throw up, or pass out before that can happen? This is what SP is like, in any given moment of the day, often without a clear trigger.

Most people experience SP moments in their life, and yet I think that out of all of the problems associated with BD in my life, SP is the hardest for other people to understand. Having lived with this for as long as I can remember, it’s probably equally as hard for me to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has only had one or two SP moments in their life, and these were probably brought on by some nice, logical trigger event.

Here’s an example of how SP can mess up a perfectly good day: You plan for a whole week to get together with a friend for coffee. On the day, you wake up and WHAM, you feel screamy-Gangnam Style-dance scared. Nobody did anything to you. Nobody said the wrong thing. Nothing happened to you except brain chemistry. That’s it, brain chemistry.

One shrink explained it to me like this: “If you were diabetic your body wouldn’t balance your blood sugar levels by itself. Having an imbalance in your brain chemistry is similar.” That makes sense to me. When I explain it to people like that, they seem to get it as well. The cruel thing about SP is that you can be a gregarious person by nature, and plagued by SP. Brain chemistry can be incompatible with your human needs.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thanks for staying with it! I know it was a bit heavy. If it made you feel a little heavy, take a moment to shake it off. Life is good.

be you xx Rachel

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