What if a meteor hit the earth? What if a terrorist attack happened in her city, in her building? What if she was robbed at gunpoint on her bus commute?
She thought of the words of her therapist: “Think of your fear as a word. Picture the word FEAR in your mind. Then erase it, like you are erasing writing with a pencil.”
It didn’t seem to work. No matter how hard she concentrated, even when she could hear Dr. Marcus’s words in her head, even when she could picture the word and the pencil clearly, even when she saw the eraser crumbs over the word, she could never get rid of it. The fear clutched her stomach, it pounded in her head, it grabbed her heart.
It wasn’t until years later that she found the answer. Another therapist, when she described the problem and the strategy Dr. Marcus had suggested, pointed out the problem.
She was too good at imagining. Her imagination was working overtime! No wonder her fear stayed alive, and it even thrived, when she tried visualization.
Relieved, she tried a different approach. A combination of positive self-talk and deep breathing seemed to help.
Then she became a novelist.