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  #1  
Unread July 23rd, 2008, 01:59 AM
omdeslimbes omdeslimbes is offline
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Default Closing alternate eyes relieves my anxiety completely

For about the past eight years I've had a moderately severe anxiety response to certain visual stimuli, especially other people (outside of certain contexts). I noticed a long time ago that closing one eye would temporarily relieve my anxiety completely, but only for a brief period, maybe 30 seconds. After hearing about the bliateral stimulation theory of EMDR, I decided to try alternately closing either eye. After doing two or three repetitions in the presence of the stimuli, I'm able to keep both eyes open with no anxiety for an extended period. I had previously tried cognitive behavioral therapy, psychiatric drugs, and hypnosis with only mild improvement.

My anxiety symptoms manifest most strongly in my eye muscles: flutters, convulsions, forced eye closure, feeling like a force is preventing me from looking at people (almost making them into a blind spot in my visual field), anxious tension in the muscles below my eyes correlated with feelings of fatigue. I also experience mild convulsions and loss of motor control in my hands and legs. If my eyes are covered with sunglasses, the convulsions tend to manifest more in my lips or legs. I also have more traditional anxiety symptoms like shortness of breath, increased pulse rate, etc., all connected to social situations, usually started by visual stimuli (even to an extent with people I know well).

Oddly enough, I almost never have that sort of reaction when performing in public or speaking in class, which were also the only types of in-person social interactions I engaged in while an adolescent and teenager (I made a conscious decision around age 13 to stop interacting socially and focus on finding truth). My anxiety didn't start until, at age 18, I decided to start interacting with people socially again, make friends, etc. etc.---prior to that I constantly dissociated from any emotional response to social situations outside of the class or performance context. But I actually have a high degree of intuitive social intelligence, automatically enter into rapport and empathize with people, reflexively mirror in appropriate fashion, etc. etc., so I'm not autistic. My eyes tend to jump immediately to other peoples' eyes. I also see a sort of fluctuating, primarily purplish, field of color, especially when looking at monochromatic surfaces; while using my digital camera, I noticed an almost identical effect captured on the recording when I zoomed in on a monochromatic surface---I've got stills of it that I could post.

Anyway, I thought you might find this interesting. My neurological oddities might mean that this won't work for most people, but I'm sure there are others out there with a similar condition.

Last edited by omdeslimbes; July 23rd, 2008 at 02:14 AM.
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  #2  
Unread July 24th, 2008, 06:00 AM
Sandra Paulsen Sandra Paulsen is offline
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Default Re: Closing alternate eyes relieves my anxiety completely

Most curious.

There are some people doing a bilateral eye-opening procedure using special glasses that cover up, as I recall, a half of each eye's visual field at a time, to adjust for the fact that the optical nerves cross over at the optic chiasma. It isn't EMDR, and it isn't exactly what you are doing.

One can only wonder at mechanisms of action.

As usual I'm not relating this to you, but tossing some general thoughts out. For many people, surely not all, high anxiety seems related to very early attachment/trust issues; high social anxiety can begin anytime a child gets shamed or humiliated, or feels one's humanity is unseen. One can feel unheld, unprotected, invisible, and/or in danger.

Unresolved early experience, including that which is preverbal and outside explicit memory, may be held in the right hemisphere according to some. The left hemisphere does its best to make logical sense of the world, but there may be an imbalance between the two, a holding away of emotional material, that can cause anxiety.

EMDR postulates that rebalancing the hemispheres MAY be a mechanism of action in its effect.
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