RC vs. the Flu

My housemates had already been down with the flu for several days when I awoke one Thursday morning with a bad feeling that my turn had arrived. Things got worse as the day progressed, with my temperature going up to 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Intense bodyaches wracked my lower back, buttocks, and thighs. I was headed to bed for a nap, but stopped myself - forced myself - to call a Co-Counselor for a little phone time. After four answering machines I finally found Miriam available at her office.

She gave me an eventful six to eight minutes of attention. It was good attention, but the most important thing was that I took charge of creating contradiction. I did so by adapting one of the frontier commitments to my situation. I used the commitment that begins, "Past distress experiences have no power of their own at all" and then goes on at length about "contriving to use my power and my influence" and "slavishly submitting" and "if I think of them as bits of recorded tape," etc.

I have long taken the point of view of refusing to be physically ill. This has not protected me completely from getting sick, but I think it has helped to curb the effects of viruses and bacteria.

This time was somewhat different. First, I was already deep within the effects of the virus. Second, I had never taken this attitude and tried to discharge with serious pain and fever tearing at my attention, telling me to go to bed and try to ignore it.

Here is approximately how I adapted the commitment: "Tiny viruses have no power of their own at all. They are capable of mounting an attack on my body, but their main power comes from restimulation of past incidents in which my life was in danger or I felt my life was in danger. That is not the case currently." As I started to say these words, the aching in my body converted to violent shaking, and it lasted for the entire mini-session. Immediately I stopped feeling like a victim of the flu.

Two other phrases were important. One was, "At best this virus is just a string of DNA molecules, and they are no match for my mighty immune system." The other was a taunt, "Okay, come on virus, give me your best shot!"

These few minutes of vigorous discharge and my strengthening of the point of view that I was not a victim of these microscopic invaders changed, I think, the course of the illness. After the mini-session I took a nap and drank fluids. I was still achy and feverish the rest of the day. However, the next day I awoke without fever. Though it was not a miracle cure and I wasn't fully recovered, something had shifted.

Did the phone time break the back of the virus? I don't know, though I won't bet against it. Did it bolster my immune system? I don't know, but I think it did. At least it kept my immune system from being hobbled by the restimulation of past terrifying experiences. Will I resort to discharge in such a situation again? You bet! Will I adopt an optimistic and powerful point of view about my health again? Darn right.

Tony Switzer
Austin, Texas, USA
from the newsletter of the Austin, Texas RC Communities

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00