Friday, May 5, 2017

Term

I learned a new term today.
It is called “flooding”.
Apparently this past weekend I flooded myself.
Let me explain.
Last weekend I went to Las Vegas with some girlfriends of mine. We partied, ate good food and had loads of fun. I was so glad that I went on this mini vacation I came back feeling rejuvenated. I needed
Before I made it to Vegas, however, I had to drive to Santa Clarita to meet up with everyone. It would be easier for me to drive to them and then head to Las Vegas than to have them pick me up here in Bakersfield. That sounds easy, right? It is only an hour and a half drive. Well it wasn’t so easy for me.
·         I am terrified of the mountains. The Grapevine induces an irrational fear in me.
·         I was driving my husband’s car that I don’t normally drive.
·         I was going to a city I had never been before.
·         I have anxiety disorder.
Well, I got my playlist together and I got on the highway to Santa Clarita. As I approached the Grapevine, I could feel my mind begin the process of trying to shut down. I was almost frozen with fear.
My heart was racing, I felt like couldn’t breathe. I began to sweat despite the air conditioning blowing in the car. Every turn I felt closer and closer to the end of the world. I just knew a truck was going to jack knife, another car was going to speed up behind me and hit me. Every bad scenario played in my head. I hit a curve and I felt the car go over the line just a little in the next lane. I panicked and I began to cry. My body began to shake and I felt like I was going to die. I just knew this was it for me.
Long story short I made it on my trip. I made it through the mountains, to Las Vegas and then back through the mountains home.
I related the event to my therapist.
“I don’t recommend it but what you did was…have you heard of ‘flooding’?” she asked me.
I hadn’t.
“What is ‘flooding’?” I asked intrigued.
She goes on to tell me that flooding is a technique that can be used in psychology sometimes referred to as “exposure therapy” or “prolonged exposure therapy”. It can be used to treat anxiety disorders and post traumatic stress disorder.
She said that she normally doesn’t recommend it because it requires the person to immerse themselves in their greatest fear to be miserable for long periods of time. I apparently spent an hour and a half immersing myself in my greatest fear.
I must say, I was miserable and in pain. I was in tears and terrified the entire time. The fear was so thick I could taste it. I was afraid that I was crying because I was blurring my line of sight. Yet I made it. I overcame my fear and anxiety and showed myself that I could do it without medication.

So I learned a new term. It’s called “flooding”.

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