27th February

Hey folks,

So today was CBT day; and what an intense session it was too! We were talking about my phobia of sick (Emetephobia). R said that it sounds like it all stems from a fear of dying, because when she asked me why I was so scared about being sick, my response was “I might choke and die”. I’d never really thought about it like that before to be honest; have always put it down to when I had food poisoning, and felt like I was dying! But now she’s said that, I can totally understand it. Which is a weird feeling. We’re going to work on it more next week, and in the meantime she’s sent me some fact sheets about the ‘Fight or flight response’ or ‘Threat system’, mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation. We also spoke about how this phobia links in with my OCD. It’s interesting to learn about it from an outsiders perspective. R put it down like this:
Trigger: Dirty hands -> Impulse: Must wash hands/use hand gel -> Sensations: Panic/shaking/feeling sick. 
All because I have a fear of getting sick/being sick. It sounds irrational, because it is! But I’m learning ways to get around it, or rather work with it, so that it doesn’t control me so much.

In the ‘Threat system’ fact sheet it describes it as this:

The ‘fight or flight’ response gets the body ready to fight or run away. Once a threat is detected your body responds automatically. All of the changes happen for good reasons, but may be experienced as uncomfortable when they happen in ‘safe’ situations.

It then lists the physical sensations that we feel and what happens in our bodies:

  • Racing thoughts
  • Changes to vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart beats faster
  • Breathing becomes quicker or shallower
  • Feel dizzy or light-headed
  • Adrenal glands release adrenaline
  • Bladder urgency
  • Palms become sweaty
  • Hands get cold
  • Muscles tense up

I’ve encountered all of those. It’s not nice.

The PMR sheet goes through a relaxation sequence, where you tense then release each muscle.

One of the body’s reactions to fear and anxiety is muscle tension. This can result in feeling “tense”, or relaxation can lead to muscle aches and pains, as well as leaving some people feeling exhausted. Think about how you respond to anxiety. Do you “tense up” when you’re feeling anxious? Muscle relaxation can be particularly helpful in cases where anxiety is especially associated to muscle tension. This information sheet will guide you through a common form of relaxation designed to reduce muscle tension.

It all sounds simple enough, so will give it a go and see how I get on.

In other news…. I took delivery of a shiny new iPhone 5 today! A lovely, and very generous, good friend of mine bought it for me as a belated birthday present. The 4 is good, but it’s very slow and old haha! Looking forward to getting the 5 set up tomorrow 🙂

Mood wise I’ve not been as low today; so hopefully things are improving. Still stressed up to the eyeballs about money, but then that’s nothing new! We’ll manage somehow, we always do.

That’s all from me for today, still suffering with headaches so starting at a laptop screen often doesn’t help matters! Can’t wait to see my doc on the 13th March.

Thanks for reading folks, means heaps as always! Take care, stay strong, until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

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