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I Know What I Did Last Summer

Quite the opposite of horror

I was going to write this a few months ago but things have been going so well that I forgot about it. Truthfully, I’ve forgotten a bit about the details as well. I guess it’s like when you go to doctor and you feel better and can’t remember being sick.

I’m not saying things are perfect nor that I am so busy that I don’t have the time, just that I feel good and I have mostly forgotten the story.

(The stories we carry about things that have happened to us are another entry I should write.)

Over the past few years, I started getting pretty bad about playing with bands. When someone would call about a gig, I would say yes but inside I was screaming NO!!! Preparing for a first rehearsal or an audition was pretty unbearable for me and maybe worse for Lori. I would often look for an out and be extremely relieved when I got one. Even after a few rehearsals I’d be a mess, waiting for the other shoe to drop. (Interestingly, the gig itself would be no problem. That’s why I don’t like to call what I have ‘stage fright’ as I don’t have a problem with stages nor audiences.)

After doing some research, I decided to get help. I went to the Anxiety Disorder Clinic (ADC) at the University of Houston. They use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which first educates you about what you’re doing (the cognitive part) and then exposes you to your fears gradually as you apply what you’ve learned to overcome them (the behavioral part). What’s nice about CBT is that it’s short-term treatment, and it’s a “cure.” This isn’t going to a therapist for the rest of your life talking about your problems. You are given the tools to deal with your problems and enough practice that you know how to use them.

I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did this. I am far from perfect, but I feel so much more under control now. I hardly even think about it, and most self-help stuff I see now seems rudimentary. I mean, I don’t have any problem with it if it works for you, but I don’t connect with it anymore, nor try to.

I have seen some say that a little bit of anxiety or nerves is good, it keeps you prepared. I understand what they mean by that. But where I disagree is that I’d MUCH rather be confident and prepared. I love that feeling. The next best thing is knowing that I’m probably close enough, I can pull it off and if I screw up no one will die. Feeling either of those ways is much better than any anxiety. That is where I am now for the most part. This is really much more fun.

I think it is important to share this because a lot of people won’t talk about it. It is really nothing to be ashamed of. I think most people have it to a degree. In fact, I see a lot of people manifest it in different ways. I also see a lot of people flounder around in various methods and self-help avenues. Those are fine if they work for you, but CBT really got to the root of my problem and seems like a long-term fix.

Unfortunately, the director of ADC at UH has moved on. He told me they would continue to treat patients there, so hopefully that’s the case. If so, I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for help with this. Life is much better this way.

Posted 2014 11 11 at 11:58 AM

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