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You are a smart and hard working person, Lady.

Yes, I fake until I make it all the time. It's all about teaching our brains to not be afraid. What do I do? I guess I write. Last Thursday I had a major run in with one of my doctors(been very sick of late). I went to his office just to talk to him in person for a minute because miscommunication was getting to a real problem after 3 months of illness. He again did not understand and blew up at me. I was scared in the exam room when he announced he was going to do a couple more sterile taps of my knees....a rather painful procedure....actually afraid he'd make it more painful because he thought I was criticizing his office set up(it's a "factory type orthopedic practice and deserved criticism but I wasn't doing that).

I was back on the beach in my emotions. I was looking for him to rescue me and he didn't. Instead he yelled at me just like my mother did when the lifeguard brought me out of the water. I felt like I was cowering when he approached me with the needles. I wasn't but inside I felt it. I knew I had lost trust in him after having him as my doctor for 21 years.

While I was in the office I "faked it" until I could get out of there and went to my car and cried. I came home and wrote him a long letter telling him how he made me feel. I didn't send it...just wrote it and then edited it ad nauseum. And then I called and left a message for my therapist and we talked by phone on Friday.

I saw my therapist today and he applauded my writing and re-writing but not sending the letter. It would have served no purpose but to make him more angry, not change what was wrong within the practice or his way of treating patients. I will not go back. I have lost trust that he won't hurt me and since it's a surgical practice, that is no good.

In this case, I faked it but I will not "make it".......I will not go back....I have legitimate complaints. Sometimes I fake until I make it because I know the problem is mine and I need to change my reaction. But in this case, I did react but the behavior problem was the doctor's.

I think you are on the right track. You do have to keep telling yourself that you are okay, that he isn't your mother and you are safe. When trauma tells your brain one thing, it takes a ton of your telling yourself otherwise to override the trauma. There are many in NYC who will still quake at the sight of a low flying plane over the city no matter what they tell themselves. It takes time.

Your idea of putting the phone away when you are having OCD thoughts is good too. Turn it off and put it somewhere that you have designated as...the phone's safe place. You can't hide it from yourself so make it a very special place that your brain will register as "the safe place" where the phone can hide from you. By making it symbolic, it takes on more significance and will work better than merely hiding it from yourself. When the phone is in it's place, it must stay there until...just until.

Co-dependency has kind of gone out of fashion with therapists. It really is not what they thought it was. We all need people and it's not like we are addicted...we have needs and we need to find out why and then work on that. When people get anxious, they tend to do one of two things.....hang on others or isolate. I isolate....I wish I could hang on others. I hide...literally. Being dependent has it's advantages.

I think you are doing the right things and moving forward despite how horribly hard it is. You are trying to take control of your anxiety. It takes work and you are working hard. Congratulations. And remember...NEVER feel bad about what you have are working to change it and that is all anyone can ask of you or you of yourself. And the behavior stems from trying to survive.

On a side note...I was very intrigued by the stories that came out after the tsunami 5 years ago. Reporters told of the people of these tiny islands who escaped any deaths because for generations, the people had been taught to run uphill if the ground shook. They didn't know why because nothing bad ever happened...and then the tsunami hit and they understood why. And we all heard of the elephants doing the same thing....they headed uphill. Monkeys too. We have survival instincts in our genes. Strong, strong instincts. But if you were a business woman in NYC and you ran uphill when the ground shook you be running every time the subway went underneath the building or the winds blew. It's an instinct that doesn't work. So we learn to overcome our instincts.

Learning to change our behavior is as hard as trying to convince those islanders not to run uphill when the ground shakes.

Good work.


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