I want to share what happened last weekend and how using worry beads got me through it. It was a family gathering with my parents, brother and sister. My parents are in their eighties and my brother is three years older than me, my sister a year younger. I have been attending workshops for my Asperger’s to help me understand social situations and handle them better without getting anxious. Both my parents and wife warned me to be extra careful with my brother as we always seem to wind each other up. Well, to be accurate I was warned that it was me who antagonised him.
I was on best behaviour and ignored his various “digs” at me for the first hour or so. I then thought enough was enough and started to “dig” back and tensions soon rose. My mother had decided their TV set was too large, even though it was just a 32″ screen. My father did not seem at all convinced but as usual went for the “easy life” option. My brother as usual knew best and instructed the gathering that he would take my mother to buy a TV set that was “best” for them. Experience has shown me that what he thinks is best is normally what he thinks is best and not what is good for anyone else. A case in point is my parent’s iPad. My brother fiddles about with it so they don’t understand how to use it. In fact all they wanted was a simple tablet/laptop but my brother, as usual knew best. I had a real fear that once again my brother would select a TV for himself that they could not figure out. In hindsight I pointed out that it might be best that they purchase a non-Smart TV as there was a likelihood that my parents would accidently put the TV into PC-feed mode and not know how to change it back to TV.
My good deed was ill-conceived as not only did my brother tell me how ridiculous my suggestion was as my 86 year old father and 83 year old mother were more than capable of mastering modern technology. Of course he based this on the fact that every time my parents could not figure out to use their smart phones or iPad or internet connection they never told my brother. Him I could have coped with, but I also find myself under attack from my father who says he can work any device, a blatant lie but he hates admitting that he is of a different generation and will never ask for help. My wife trying to defuse the situation asks me to bow out of the argument, after all I was only trying to help my parents.
I took her advice and I unfortunately have to report that this was only one of several issues where my big brother forced his will. So where do worry beads come into it? I have a problem with any bully but I was never going to win if I had no backing from the people I was trying to defend. As a result my anxiety levels climbed through the roof. I grabbed my worry beads and slowly played with them to reduce my heart rate. They helped but I was still in trouble. We decided it was time to go as we had a three hour drive ahead of us, and I was driving. As I drove home I continued to think about the slow movements of the beads but I kept being forced back into the issues I had just been through. Two hours later I could not get the negative thoughts about what had happened out of my head. I sat down and relaxed with my worry beads, well not exactly but they did help a bit.
All through the night I could not get the negative thoughts out of my head, I was definitely in trouble. Previous family gatherings had resulted in me becoming very ill over a number of weeks as I fixated on the negative images in my head. This time though I had help. I continued to play with my beads which I know slow me down and give me a chance to think out of my problem. Nothing was forthcoming so I had to take additional medication to slow me down still further. At last the combination of medication and worry beads gave me sufficient capacity to try and stop the obsessive thoughts. It came to me. Many years ago I watched a film where a character wanted to stop thinking about something so he created a brick wall in his mind. Always wishing to go one better I came up with the idea of a “mind bandage”. Every time I thought about the visit to my family I covered the image with the image of a bandage. So the negative thought was banished from my head. It worked, time after time I thought of my family but covered in again and again with the bandage. 24 hours later and if I try and remember the day all I get back is the image of a bandage. It may not work for you but it did for me.
One thing I am certain of is that I would not have found a solution without using my worry beads, so they must take part of the credit. Whilst I did have to suffer three days of emotional upheaval it was far batter than the weeks of hell I used to go through.
I hope you have found this interesting and might try it yourself. Remember the worry beads are not a cure but using them as part of your arsenal against anxiety they are invaluable.
The English Worry Bead Co