Had a very productive meeting with the psychologist yesterday. We talked about the anxiety I'd been feeling and all the emotions that that can lead to (depression, fear, unhelpful thoughts).
Actually it fits into the book I'm still slowly reading through, The Happiness Trap. I gave him the spare copy I got of it (after Australia Post lost it and the Book company sent another one, only for both of them to turn up at the local Post Office). He can lend that out to other clients if they need it, or use it for reference. He was the one that recommended it to me. Better he have it than it just sits here gathering dust.
Much of what he said was where I was heading with it in my head. That thoughts from my head are simply that; thoughts from my head. They can be affected by my emotions, past experiences, or even (as I mentioned already) simply cognitive thoughts based on past experience. In all cases, these are just thoughts and it's only when I give too much importance to said thoughts that anxiety beyond reasonable levels can happen.
He used a very good prop during the discussion. Held up a book right in front of his nose and said the book was like my thoughts. That all I could see like that was my thoughts directly in front of me, and nothing else. In effect, to be in such a situation is to be blinded by your own thoughts, and not being able to see through them to the reality of the world around us. It is to give my thoughts too much importance.
For example, thinking that David and I may soon encounter some kind of drama where David will leave (or me) is making a prediction about the future that not only can't be predicted but is also a future based on my own head's thoughts without evidence to back it up. The fact is that David has moved in, everything's gone marvellously so far and there's no reason why it shouldn't do so in the future. My head may be subject to my fears and influenced by my past experiences, but it's no good as a bloody crystal ball predicting the future simply because I'm scared of what might happen.
Another picture we talked about is one on the sidebar of the blog:
The picture cam into my head and we started discussing it. I said I think I've actually left the harbour after some time in there for repairs. He agreed. For some years I've been in there as the world crashed around me, huddled and defensive against the onslaught of life. Surviving, but going nowhere. To leave harbour is a risk, as it is with David too. Hence it's to be expected that after going through hell I may very well be fearful of it all turning to shit anytime soon. These thoughts are simply the product of who I am; the past that has shaped me and the evolution of humanity. They're not a prediction of the future, rather an expression of myself.
Anxiety, fear, depression, all these emotions have had a function during our evolution. It's not "bad" to feel these emotions, any more than it's bad to feel happy. It's only when they take over that they become a problem. In essence, I can't expect not to feel what are normal human emotions. To do so would be either not to be human or not alive. It's how we deal with those emotions and thoughts that is the key.
Do I give huge importance and credence to my thoughts/emotions? Or do I simply recognise these things for what they are? That being thoughts and emotions from a human being, shaped by evolution and life experience.
I felt a lot better coming out of that meeting. Like a weight lifted off me.