A search for the ego
Have you fully resolved your anxiety and/or panic issues? Has your therapy been deeply satisfying?
Because let us be frank, you can read about panic attacks on the wide range of what google offers you, and you might become an expert in avoiding trigger factors, doing stress management, taking a minimal dose of anxiolytics so that you only have benefits without side effects, and so on. The main question, however: ‘Why is this happening to me?’ will never be fully answered.
Yes, we do acknowledge that we contributed to the stress by our way of living and working, therefore we now do our upper best to avoid or change all that. But still, our neighbours and so many others are living exactly the same way as we once did, and they seem unaffected. So somehow we always feel responsible and even guilty at times, although we cannot say that we knew we would become so frightened. Apart from living at a slower pace and including health and mindfulness in our daily existence is there something more to understand? Is there a part of us that we do not know, a shadow of ourselves that lured us into this nightmare? Might that be the mysterious part of us that we call ego? We know the ego is hiding behind the borders of our consciousness. Are we connected with that ego, but is this connection on the ego’s terms and conditions? Do we have to get in touch with our ego to negotiate the terms and conditions of our relationship? And can we?
The unknown ego
So many questions, and no clear answers. Our ego, the complex crystallization of the combined nature and nurture elements of our life, is a most mysterious figure, always present somewhere close although, never inclined to sit down with us for a serious talk. Do we want to meet that mysterious figure? Not really, it might turn out to be a bossy and possessive type, even worse; we know it will never be love at first sight and it will drag us down in the entanglements of a conflictive relationship, at best.
At the most unsuitable moment, the ego itself takes the initiative to talk to us. What is worse, talking is not really how we experience the sudden firm embrace of this otherwise shy companion. Once in anxiety or panic mode, there simply is not enough ‘us’ to direct the flow of events. It all becomes a roller coaster. Are we out of control during a panic attack? Well, obviously, yes we are, but here is a contradiction, ‘something’ belonging to us let to these events. To regain a feeling of control we have to connect with this ‘something’.
When we willingly engage in a roller coaster, yes, we are out of control, but we freely choose to be (for a while). If somehow we drift into anxiety and panic attacks, we are to live the experience and delve into the unknown driving forces behind this process. Hence, as an experiment, act as if somehow the anxiety and panic are the voices of the ego. We want to investigate the strange assumption that we are, though not responsible in the everyday sense, in a way implicated. In other words, we want to own our anxiety and panic.
Although therapy can be structured in such a way that it keeps the unknown driving force at bay. As a method, we identify the known causal factors, amend thought patterns, try to react differently in certain circumstances, eventually take some pharmaceutics to disrupt repetitive physical reactions, and do yoga or any other mindfulness technique. These approaches are highly effective and sometimes even highly sophisticated. The benefit gained by finding a way to control our fears is immense. However, we still do not own our fears.
How to own the anxiety and panic
For the daredevils and brave of heart, there is an additional road. Meet the demons! Accept that fears contain a message and once the message is heard and understood there will be silence. Meanwhile, you can gain insight into yourself and your life. You can try to sit down with your ego and come to terms with its existence. This is another way of doing therapy, which you can do independently, before or after, with or without any other forms of treatment. It is a search for a deeply hidden creative force in our self and how to bring it to the level of awareness. This voyage is sometimes difficult and often frightening but always deeply rewarding.
Travel and Therapy, something for you?
Travel and Therapy’ creates unique freedom in mind and space for our mental journey toward a broader vision of who we are. We use a flexible timeframe, ranging from intense therapy for several hours in one or a few days, to a really steady pace over the course of many years. We aim at attaining the best client-orientated arrangement.
In Travel and Therapy, all known therapeutic techniques to address anxiety and panic can be the instruments to travel along this mental journey. The refinement consists in listening to our personal experience and thinking process as the guide to our inner core. The aim is creating footholds in the unravelling of our flaws and particularities. We create a doorway to understand our structure.
This way of handling therapy has a kinship with art. For the artist, the technique and the medium are not the final goals. Observation of-, and combining all possibilities and impossibilities. Being inspired and expressing our selves to human urgency surfaces in a surprising way. That is what we strive for.
Illustration: Detail of Painting by Peter Paul Rubens, The Fall of Phaeton, 1604