So I've been reading this book L of a Way 2 Pass by Diane Hall, who is both an ADI driving instructor and Thought Field Therapy practictioner (which is just a way cool combination, if you ask me). I've read through the book twice now and am working my way through it again. It really seems to be helping me approach my driving anxiety in a more proactive way. But the TFT techniques in the book are very complicated, and the idea of having to memorize them all made me feel more anxiety. Then I read that a student of the guy who invented TFT simplified it to a method called 'EFT'--Emotional Freedom Technique. And wouldn't you know it, an EFT practictioner (Healing Touch Therapies) lives right here in my town and is the niece of someone I used to work with! So I contacted her and had my first session yesterday. What I thought would happen there did.
It was a cathartic experience. In 90 minutes, we peeled back layers of emotions to get to the root of my anxiety. I was not surprised to find the root cause--my decision to move to the UK 7 years ago, leaving my son in the custody of his father. This issue, and its accompanying complex web of emotions, has been the centre of a vortex of anxieties spiraling across my life. You've heard of 6 degrees of separation? Well, I can go from any point, any object, any topic, in my head or heart, straight back to this issue and this guilt, in about 3 moves, let alone 6. And even if I don't consciously make the connection, the residual effects are stamped all over my emotional reactions to things. Right down to feeling anxious at a roundabout.
During the session, I found myself saying, 'I can't let go of this guilt, I can't let go of it.' The practitioner began the tapping sequence, and one thing she said during it resounded in my heart like a bell: 'I am afraid to release this guilt because I don't know what will replace it.' When the tapping sequence ended, I said to her, 'I think that's it. I don't want to let go of this guilt because somehow I feel it is the last vestige of my motherhood. And if I let go of this guilt, it will mean I have no feeling left. No motherhood.' She began another tapping sequence, and during it she said (speaking as me--I was to repeat after her, which I did), 'I don't want to let go of this guilt because it is a link to the past. It is a link to my child. But I can find better links.' Well. It just seemed so amazingly simple in that moment. I can find better links to my child. The guilt is not the only link. The guilt is not making me 'not a bad mother.' The guilt is only making me miserable. And I can find better links to him. Of course. Of course.
I always feel watched, criticised, judged. When I'm driving, I feel like the other drivers are wondering what my problem is, wondering what I'm doing out on the road at all, holding them up, condemning me. During a lesson, I feel like my driving instructor is watching me, criticising me, condemning me. And when people are not condemning me--when they're being nice to me--I feel like if they only knew what a bad person I am, a mother who left, then they would condemn me, too. Yes, the anxiety of driving can be traced back to this root cause. Because it's not about my driving ability, it's about my perception of myself.
My assignment for my next session is to make a list of my emotions and my reasons for making the choices I did back then when I moved. I have to make peace with them and deal with this whole issue. Then I can finally move on.
What is EFT?
stands for 'Emotional Freedom Technique'. It is a meridian based therapy aimed at promoting the free flow of energy along the body's meridian or energy lines.
When we are distressed or emotionally out of balance this free flow is inhibited and we feel down and sluggish.
Tapping on certain Meridian points whilst focusing on the event and underlying emotion releases this'energy block' helping you to feel more balanced on all levels.
EFT is a brilliant self-help tool which can be applied to many problems which involve a high emotional charge.
EFT is a modern development from the ancient Chinese concept of our energy meridians and has been described as 'psychological acupuncture, but without the needles'. Connecting mind, body and emotions via our life energy system, the technique has a wide range of applications and combines well with other therapies. By clearing disruptions in the body's energy system, encouraging results have been achieved in the EFT field when working with fears & phobias, addictions, weight loss, self-image, confidence, headaches & migraines, physical & emotional pain, and chronic illnesses.
Los Angeles surgeon Eric Robins, M.D., a leading advocate of the healing powers of EFT comments "Some day the medical profession will wake up and realize that unresolved emotional issues are the main cause of 85% of all illnesses. When they do, EFT will be one of their primary healing tools ... as it is for me."
Dr. Robins says it strengthens his patients' immune systems, improves their overall health, and reduces stress and anxiety.
"Whenever someone has a chronic or recurring problem," he explains, "I ask about anything, including emotional issues, that might affect the condition. Most physicians shy away from asking personal questions because it's like opening a Pandora's box--suddenly you have a dozen problems instead of just one. But I'm convinced that's where the answers are. We're not going to become a healthier nation by taking more drugs, It's a well-known fact that most patients going to a primary care physician's office have functional medical problems, which means they have genuine symptoms, but their exams, lab tests, and x-rays can't find anything wrong. These people aren't crazy, they're perfectly sane, but their symptoms are not the result of an external cause. They're the result of how they hold stress in their bodies, and stored stress interferes with their energy flow." (Well Being Journal, May/June 2006)
Feeling stuck? Tap into a better you--with EFT
I don't know much about stress blockages or energy fields,and it's worth saying that both TFT and EFT are looked upon as 'fringe psychological therapies', but that doesn't bother me. Just because the concepts of energy meridians, chakras and other ancient healing theories (like my beloved kundalini yoga and flower remedies) are not proven in clinical trial doesn't mean they won't be meaningful. Particularly if the 'ailment' is 'all in my head'--wouldn't it be even better if the solution was also 'all in my head'? Traditional therapy and medications never helped me. (I was on Paxil off and on for a few years before I moved here and briefly after.)
Anything's worth a try.