Name: George Key
From: Tucson, Az.
“Hope Opens the Door for a New Direction”
Finding the Right Door
IDENTIFICATION AND DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM
Recently I have experienced increased anxiety. I have not been able to shut down my thoughts. I know I’m overthinking, but I don’t seem to be able to do what I need to do to cope with the disruption. This makes me even more anxious. Because of this I am not getting the rest I need. Not getting proper rest is in turn contributing to both physical health problems and is slowly deteriorating relationships that exist as crucial parts of my needed emotional support network. Sometimes I feel as if the whole world and the plans I have for my future are crumbling around me.
ESTABLISHING POSSIBLE GOALS
To address this concern, I look toward a better balance in my life as to not obsess over one particular element. Developing and implementing a set of achievable goals might very well establish the redirection of mindset that could provide a focus on coping skills that may in turn alleviate anxiety and bring to me needed balance.
EXTENSIVE EXPLORATION OF THE PROBLEM
Recently nightmares and night terrors have fueled and promulgated a tortuous level of anxiety. My attempts at sleeping or even resting are interrupted by vivid images of dismembered bodies, crying children as they burn to death, and the expulsion of brain matter. Physiological symptoms, such as cold sweats, hot flashes and chest pains accompany the restlessness. I awaken every twenty to thirty minutes when I attempt sleeping lately with both recognized and unknown fears in my thoughts. Some of the recognizable fears are evinced by recollections of past true-life experiences. Other recognizable fears sprout from extended black-out periods, bringing images to my mind’s eye of horrific events. Differentiating between known events and events sprouting from within black-out or involuntary self-protecting suppression are key in identifying prospective avenues leading to workable coping skill solutions. Triggers that unleash the Post Traumatic Shock, from which my anxiety finds its conception, are so compounded, vast, and varied, they are difficult to isolate. Recognizing and facing this demonic turmoil remains not only necessary, but essential.
One night- terror that has reoccurred for years visits my brother and sister opening the barn door, that was placed beneath the clothesline for my mother to stand upon and throwing me in a deep black hole giving me a helpless feeling where there is no hope for an end to the pain. The night- terror is characterized by a sensation of endless falling, abruptly followed upon awakening with anxiety laden with extreme fear.
The foundation or root of the recent occurrences first appears at age three. I was fed whiskey until the point of blackout and was viciously raped by an older male sexual deviant. As a result, I grew to greatly distrust many pseudo-intellectual persons of authority. Anxious flare ups of misunderstood fear increase in frequency when queued in by exposure to or confrontation with unrighteous individuals whom unjustly appoint themselves actors of the controlling hierarchy.
This re-occurring problem brings to my mind a longing for peace. I must seek balance and or some ordered focus in my life. In the past I have attempted to manage first by not thinking about the past trauma, sweeping it under the proverbial rug of denial. After-all if no one knows about it, then it didn’t happen. I was often reminded growing up that, “I must have had it coming”. The shame of self-blaming promulgated the unwarranted guilt. I have attempted many therapeutic techniques that were suggested as advances in the behavioral health profession evolved.
PLANNING OF STRATEGIES
Considering the complexity of the problem I must investigate a plethora of strategies. The following strategies have been successful for certain situations, however a carefully selected and thoughtfully fused combination might prove to be best suited. Strategies utilizing self-examination, motivation, direction, and techniques that rally around developing true integration of both emotional and physical self- wellness are to be considered. Sleep hygiene is perhaps the simplest strategy toward resting well. Developing a stronger emotional support network in the community by becoming myself more active in the affairs that present themselves. Utilization of the least invasive means, such as meditation, relaxation exercises and other calming devises that might alleviate my anxiousness should also be considered. Co-ordinating mental health care services as well as medical health care should be implemented as an important strategy in the plan. Appropriately prescribed medications may be suggested by my physicians. Self-advocacy for proper and acceptable care needs to be incorporated in the over-all plan. Increased regular physical activity should be considered within a realistic perspective.
Other ideas include, but are certainly not limited to EMDR, acupuncture, massage and aroma therapy. Writing my way through adversities rather than trying the complacency of the “Ostridge at the beach” scenario might present itself as more useful than not. The ultimate solution to this problem might very well be termination, for if I no longer exist my problem also ceases.
(where as 1 represents very useful, 2 useful, 3 neutral,4less useful, and 5 least useful)
Sleep hygiene (*)
Self- care (*)
Useful if attended to
2 if proper
Mis prescribing detrimental 5
2 alleviates loneliness
1 re direction, cost effective
Relaxation Exercises (*)
1 minimizes anxiety, cost effective
Physical Exercise (*)
2 relieves tension, cost effective
Writing/self- awareness (*)
1 discovery of underlying issues cost effective
5 would end process, causes family/survivors pain
EMDR (*) or (/)
1 proven effective
4 expensive may not be affordable
4 Some effectiveness, moderate cost
Aroma therapy (*)
2 cost effective for relaxation
Massage therapy (*) or (/)
2 eases stress
4 moderate cost
The most effective plan of action will include most of the indicated strategies evaluated on the previous chart with the exception of termination. Acupuncture would not be utilized as it was found to be costly and less effective in past treatments. Another exclusion might be message therapy, depending on the cost. Vigilant self-advocacy will be an essential watch-dog for any medication regiment. The most useful strategies must realistically take into consideration both affordability and availability. Specialized services such as EMDR are not only expensive but difficult to find professionals that have openings. EMDR has a high probability of success, however the remaining strategies of sleep hygiene, meditation, writing, physical exercise, relaxation, self-care, networking, and aroma therapy meet both qualifiers of realistic consideration.
The plan would implement strategies prioritized first by the qualifiers of realistic consideration with focus on the most immediate need. Being that restful sleep is a common positive factor in both behavioral and physical health it shall be the first I initiate. The next would include preparing to co-ordinate research necessary to select the professionals needed and to schedule the appointments for EMDR, medical exams, and behavioral health services. While awaiting those appointments I will prepare to systematize the development of the more accessible strategies. Meditation, relaxation exercises, physical exercises, writing, self-care, and networking are strategic attributes that can be directly implemented with little or no start up cost.
All the planning in the world may in fact do little or no good if never implemented. Primary implementation will be sleep hygiene. This includes clean bedding, clean body, clean clothes, and other desirable night-time comforts. Preparing for bedtime I might need to exercise to tire myself. I also might recite prayer as the spiritual aspect of self-care. Relaxation breathing exercises, such as the “4-7-8” method might ground me enough to doze off peacefully. Meditation is oft aided by burning a candle and concentrating on the dance of the flickering light. When falling to sleep does not come because of anxious racing thoughts the answer might be to get up from bed and write down those thoughts and give them to the paper freeing my mind to relax.
Appropriate appointments will be scheduled with the proper professionals to initiate true integrated health care. Implementation must also include the carefully designed time management involved with balancing all the needs and desires as I push on to a long- term solution for the betterment of my coping skills and pursuit of happiness, confidence and the resulting elevation of essential self- worth.