In Search of Fearlessness

When I was a day patient at the hospital, after my relationship with Edi, who passed away, getting initially grief counseling (religious nonsense as it turned out), then cognitive treatment, therapy for extreme anxiety that I had since I was 2 years old, they taught me how to cure it, it’s pretty easy and a really common condition, created by, usually, being put down by important people in our lives, then by ourselves, curing it by learning to dispute it in an evidence based way.
I met and became friends with and was mentored by Will Ross an REBT (http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/shf.html) therapist while he was dying of liver cancer, and stubbornly refused to upset himself about it, and Dr. Michael Edelstein (http://threeminutetherapy.com/blog/) a REBT trainer and therapist.
The rituals in my life were distraction from anxiety, as it turned out, sugar, smoking, pot, yoga, religion and dependence on narcissist relationships all left along with the anxiety as I learned to see that there was no evidence to support it. Took awhile, but eventually I managed to deprogram myself from the underlying philosophy and the consequences left on their own. (http://www.rebtnetwork.org/library/musts.html).
Later when I had a stroke, I remembered Ellis (http://www.rebtnetwork.org/) saying that if you lose an arm do everything you can to deal with it, then ignore it and focus on your satisfactions, you may have fewer choices but you still have some choices. Free will and the power of choice to pursue satisfaction is the purpose of life. Since I had lost an arm and a leg and some speech, this was pretty important advice to come to mind.
The social worker during my 6 month hospital stay said, ‘When are you going to have your crash, your body just let you down!’ Ya, that’s not my satisfaction of choice, I said. So I wrote a book (https://jeraldblackstock.ca/dir/), created a commercial business for my art, (https://1-jerald-blackstock.pixels.com/) which included learning to do my own personal and business taxes and catching them up for the past 7 years, and expanded my creative visual fine art web presence (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jerald_blackstock/), created an income for life for myself, found a new place to live as my home was up 4 flights of stairs, got my stuff packed and into storage, then out and into my new place, unpacked, (all on a tablet in the hospital coffee shop). I attended physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychotherapy 5 days a week all day for 6 months while living in hospital.
Moved out and built a massive new computer, and got my ass out the door to create street photo with the most impressive professional camera known at this time to use with my 19 year ongoing love of digital manipulation art practice.
Now it’s a year later and I can speak, walk and use my right arm and hand increasingly because I find I have as a result of REBT a high tolerance of the frustrations of perfectly normal life of disease and recovery that we all deal with, hard as it is.
Have I found fearlessness? Of course not, fear is the greatest evolutionary tool we have. I found evidence based rationality to wield it, like I would any other tool.
Sunday is my birthday this is my celebration of the last year, using the tools that I have learned to respect in the last 20. Including fear.
Jerald

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