There is a story I tell my patients with #anxiety. I learned it from being a #trauma therapist. I also experienced it growing up on the streets of the Bronx. This anxious man was a combat veteran who had the same nightmare every night.
When he was growing up he was an #abused man.In it he’d be in Vietnam, in combat fatigues running as hard as he could, being chased by 1,000 Ninja warriors. Just as he was about to be annihilated his eyes would open,and he had the #compulsion to get out of bed and turn on all the lights.
Facing Your Inner Terrors He was drenched with sweat, in a state of high #anxiety. He knew that he needed #help so he went to the VA and was treated with one of the newer #trauma therapies. He knew the effects his nightmares were having interpersonally and he knew he had to “fix relationships his #anxiety had put at jeopardy. He also engaged in #compulsive exercise to try to distract himself from thinking about the nightmares.
When this man told the therapist his dream the therapist asked him if he would be willing to do anything to never have the dream again. He never expected #help to come so quickly, so he was a bit #stressed by the idea that something so disturbing could be fixed that easily. He assumed that it would take years to heal from this dream.
The therapist gave him one instruction:
Tonight, when you have the nightmare, instead of running away I want yo to turn and face the warriors chasing you.”
The man was not happy, but he had promised to do anything (though he had no idea how to make dream go a certain way).
But he promised. Besides the #panic attacks he was having, and #signs of depression, made him desperate.
That night when he had the dream, he didn’t run away. Instead he turned and faced the ninjas. He bowed to them and they returned the bow.
He never had the dream again