Experiences in the conquest of neurosis by Morita Therapy


VIctory over the distress of anthropophobia

By Ms. Tomoko Minegishi

Yearning to go to a deserted place

I have been afflicted with anthropophobia for a long time. During that time, I made every effort to cure my mental disorder by attending groups where people talked about themselves, discussed their problems and social topics; I also practiced yoga, took Chinese (Kampo) medicine, and underwent acupuncture. I changed my job any number of times. I did fine with work I liked, but whenever I was assigned a job such as a dealing with people, receiving customers or providing information I would quit the company. When my symptoms were at their worst I trembled so much I couldn't utter a sound with the result that I couldn't even buy a ticket at the train station. After frequent changes of occupation, I got a job at my brother's company. I continued with the job reluctantly. I got married, gave birth to a daughter the next year, and spent busy days, leaving my daughter in the care of a nursery school.

When my daughter was in the first grade of elementary school, I asked my mother to attend the first PTA meeting instead of me, and my husband went to observe my daughter's class at my request because that day fell on a Sunday. I screwed up my courage and attended PTA meetings sometimes, but each time I suffered a strong sense of inferiority resulting in depression. I saw young mothers stating their opinions aggressively, and it seemed to me that all of them made a fool of me because I was speechless in public at my age. I was sick of myself, feeling unhappy. I cried from the depths of my heart for death, to be able to go away to a place where nobody lived, or to live isolated in the mountains. In those days, I learned from a friend of mine about a small mountain cabin. After that I made it a rule to go there with my family a few times a year. The air was fine, and there was no one who knew that I had a tendency to get tense in public. I felt comfortable there.

Notwithstanding the fact that dreams I had cherished since childhood had come true, some vague anxiety and gloomy feelings attacked me. My eldest daughter began complaining, "The cabin is okay, but I am tired of this place because there is no one to play with." Her words "I am tired of this place because there is no one to play with" was engraved on my mind for a long time. Human beings get tired (cannot live) without others. Before I learned the principle of Morita Therapy that "behind every anxiety there is a desire" I had only been eager to get rid of anxiety and had feared human companionship. I did not know that there was a desire behind the anxiety. My desire was to get along well with everybody.

Even while tense we can act

During the time that I suffered from such mental troubles, I encountered Morita Therapy by chance. I commenced to learn it. I made an attempt to behave myself in a constructive manner with my emotion remaining as it was. For example, as regards the PTA that was difficult for me to deal with, I carried out a comparative study of the changes in my behavior before and after my knowledge of Morita Therapy. In the past, I would practice yoga, gargle, eat candy, and practice my self-introduction in front of a mirror before going to PTA.

In other words, I engaged myself solely in making preparations for eliminating anxiety. However, after I knew Morita, I would do housework, prepare an afternoon snack for my children, and make preliminary arrangements for supper in the usual manner before leaving for PTA. In the past, during the PTA meeting, my mind would be full of uneasiness about the possibility that they might call on me. At the present time, I make every effort to listen to other persons. Now when I must introduce myself, I have the usual feeling of wanting to run away and my heart beats fast, but I speak, calming myself down with "take it easy, take it easy." In the past, as soon as the meeting was over, I went home alone by bicycle. To tell the truth, I was envious of other women who left the meeting together in group. These days, I try to listen to others' speech. I make it a rule to address myself to a woman whose name I learned from her self-introduction by saying "May I ask you if you are mother of so-and-so?" Then I go home together with her.

I still get tense at PTA meetings, but I can participate in them. I no longer feel guilty because I did not attend a PTA meeting.

According to Morita Therapy, emotions cannot be changed by our will, but effort to take action to change the situation will drive the anxiety and fear away. If you try to run away just because you are scared, anxiety will become bigger and bigger. Anyway, it is important for you to take action even when your heart is pounding.

Recently, I have accepted a role on the PTA committee of my daughter's grade. These days, I get the feeling that my services as contact person between teachers and mothers are beginning to have effect. As a result, my anthropophobia is certainly fading away little by little.


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