31 May 2010

Dionysius walked in

This is second hand information from an old friend of mine which I consider very reliable, as I was there in the neighborhood while the whole thing was happening. It involves a nervous breakdown, a recovery, and some evidence to support a common psycho therapeutic form.

In December of 1996 the subject appeared in perfect health. His weight was 180 pounds and there did not appear to be a single centimeter of fat on his body. He played tennis (the locus of my acquaintance with him) or worked out in the gym daily. In the middle of December 1996 he had a panic attack in connection with a business presentation. (Pan is the Roman pantheon equivalent of Dionysius.) Over the course of the subsequent three months he lost all physical strength, all endurance, all power to concentrate, and 45 pounds of body weight. He believed himself to be dying.

He went to the doctor. The doctor did a complete physical examination. Nothing wrong with the subject. Doctor asked, "would you like some prozac?" Subject declined the pills but did go see a sequence of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, clergymen, bartenders looking for a cure. About the only thing he had the concentration power to do was read books. So he went to the Tulane University Medical School library, psychiatry shelf and started reading one book after another after another.

Somewhere in that massive stack he came upon an old formula. If you have a stress related ailment, you are doing something your subconscious wants you to stop doing. Make a list of everything you habitually do, try stopping them one at a time, and see if one of the stops brings relief for your symptoms. The other thing that jumped out at him was the predominance of automobile driving related events in the psychiatric case studies.

He stopped driving his car. He got better very quickly. None of the professionals he saw seemed to be very interested in the story.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.