There is a story I like (writes Peterborough hypnotherapist John Cooper). A woman asks her yoga teacher “How often should I meditate?” She replies, “Once a day. Unless you’re really busy”. “I am really busy,” says the woman. The teacher says, “In that case, twice a day!”
Your body and mind are telling you something but you’re not listening. Why wait for your car to break down completely when you could check it in for a service tomorrow?
I was sorry to read about Ant McPartlin (the one on the left) and his problems. Being rich and famous didn’t stop him becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, it probably made things worse.
I used to think that being addicted to pain killers was a showbusiness euphemism. I was a bit naïve, then I started to meet people professionally who couldn’t get through the day without codeine or tramadol.
Everywhere you turn there are people who struggle with alcohol. A glass of wine in front of the TV or popping to the pub is such a normal part of our culture that we barely notice when someone is over doing it.
What has to happen before we admit to ourselves that we have a problem?
If you can’t control something then there is a good chance that you are addicted to it.
Aside from gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, smoking and over eating, there is something else that can ruin lives. Our own thoughts.
Obsessive compulsive disorders are your brain’s way of fighting for control. They could be caused by a response to trauma, abuse or be a coping strategy for dealing with stress.
These repetitive, intrusive thoughts can get so bad that you can barely function. The most famous, but not the only example of an OCD, is a need for order and cleanliness.
I once knew an actor, a funny man that everyone loved, who would keep a wet wipe in his hand all day. He’d wipe down door handles and chairs before sitting on them. He never shook hands, but he’d always make fun of himself.
One day someone in the dressing room joked that they’d borrowed his toothbrush and all hell broke loose.
Everybody laughed until the shouting and crying started. There were no more jokes after that. His addiction to cleanliness was covering up real pain and he wasn’t dealing with it.
Addiction is rooted in control and suffering. At some point in your life, these behaviours may have been a solution to a problem. You might start taking pain killers to cope with the after effects of an operation then keep going after the injury has healed.
Ant McPartlin’s struggle is a reminder to us all that no matter how happy people seem, many are fighting a battle that we can’t see.
We don’t really know what our friends, family and colleagues are going through.
There is no point in lying to yourself.
Out of sight is not always out of mind.
John Cooper writes a monthly column for The Peterborough Telegraph. Find out more at www.johncooperhypnosis.com