Symptoms

by Dr. Brown on May 11, 2010

Everybody’s got ‘em. Whether it’s something physical that is a minor annoyance or an emotional sensation that makes you feel as though you want to crawl out of your skin, we all feel something we’d like to get rid of and out of our lives for good. While it’s true that no one wants to feel bad, it might just be the case that our symptoms are trying tell us something that we’ve ignored elsewhere. For example, a person might experience extreme anxiety when faced with going to a workplace that has become gradually more hostile over the past months or years. She may not have considered the possibility that the workplace is no longer a healthy or viable one for her and that the time has come to make a change.

Here the symptoms, anxiety, fear, ruminations, among others, are not merely a person’s reactions to a particular environment, but are also important clues about the environment itself. We’ve all heard the story about the frog who won’t (or can’t) get out of a pot of water whose temperature is gradually increased to the boiling point. Whether or not the facts of this tale are true, the important piece to take away is that the frog finds a way to be oblivious to negative changes in it’s environment. Human beings have a similar capacity, though even more deeply refined through our language and the stories we tell ourselves about situations. “It’s not that bad…I’m sure it will get better soon…There must be some reason for all this…”

Symptoms cut through this barrier of language and make real the very things we find so easy to gloss over. They are like the stone in our shoe shouting “Hey ! You up there ! I’m the stone in you’re shoe….telling you exactly that. I’m here.”

Now that you know, you have a choice.

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