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Be Aware of the Starving Bear!

"It is easier to resist in the beginning than at the end." -Leonardo da Vinci

Often, as animals are dying, just before their last breath, they will give one last fierce fight for their own survival, as if every nerve fired in sequence in desperation.

Let me tell you... grizzly bears are no different!

This is particularly an important discussion if you're battling rumination or health anxiety, so if that applies to you, listen up carefully! So much of my work for the past decade has centered around treating rumination and health anxiety on top of all the other Benzo withdrawal symptoms and manifestations. Why? Well, for one, they're some of the most prevalent symptoms of withdrawal, but also because they're some of the nastiest.

That might seem like an overstatement, as I'm sure you can think of worse symptoms. But what makes these two so terrible is that they're almost like poison. They seem to float under our radar. It's almost like diabetes or hypertension. They harm us slowly, often quietly, but profoundly.

I've had great success in helping my clients beat their health anxiety and rumination over the years. And there's something I've noticed time and time again. Think of health anxiety (or rumination) as being a seven-headed beast, with each head representing a particular fear. Perhaps cardiophobia, or fear of cancer, or brain damage, etc.

As we sever each of these heads, the remaining heads become stronger!

Please take a moment to consider this.

Finally, as we get down to that last one or two heads, things can get really tough, but keep strong. Keep surrendering. Keep letting go. Remember, the bear is attracted to our fears and ruminations as if it were our garbage, old food we threw out. No matter how small, the desperate bear will feed.

As we continue to let go of our health anxieties and rumination, that bear becomes increasingly desperate. Finally, you may find yourself in a situation where you have truly managed to let go of your existing health anxieties, rumination, and fixations. This is a vulnerable moment in our healing because fear is like a river... it needs somewhere to go.

What I mean by this is the fear will rush over us searching for a place to get inside. It will create new little ticks and twitches and symptoms, hoping you'll respond (feed the bear). Suddenly, you will begin to focus on new things that seem to replace the old things you used to obsess over. Suddenly, it's not cardiophobia, but gut phobia, or you might become obsessed over the idea that you have some neurological problem.

Health anxiety and rumination are truly maniacal in this way, like a little shape-shifting parasite.

They keep trying to survive, keep trying to trigger us into feeding the bear again.

It says, "Come on! Feed me, damnit! What about that twitch you've been having? Aren't you worried? Why aren't you worried? Shouldn't you be worried that you're not worried?" And if you reply with, "Nope!". It will then say something clever like, "Isn't it weird that you're not worried? Some people will call that denial. Didn't you hear about John Doe in that one Benzo group? He tried to ignore his symptoms and guess what!"

It will keep trying and trying to find an entry point. To beat this one has to be so very strong and courageous and they have to reside themselves to truly making a change. One has to lay down their boundaries and stick to them. No matter what the fear says!

Fear is a liar. It's a chemical lie. Write that down if you have to.

Remember. The wounded/starving animal will often give up one last ferocious fight for its survival before it dies. Knowing this, you can defend yourself and not be taken by surprise. When the bear roars and demands food, ignore it. Be compassionate. Say to him, "I love you, and I know you're terrified... but I can no longer feed you." Disengage. Put something else in the place you would have otherwise used to ruminate. I don't care if it's working on a puzzle, phoning a friend, meditating, or playing a video game. Find something to distract you while you ignore the bear, and I promise he will eventually wander off.

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Insiduios, cunning, baffling, powerful. Do not under estimate the bear. Whever you experience worry, remember, that right there is the bear.

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