Experiences in the conquest of neurosis by Morita Therapy


Escaping from the depths of anxiety

By Mr. Yoshihiro Yasuda

Anxiety caused by a change in work

I was born the eldest son of a poor farmer. My father died when I was five years old. I have grown up helping my mother with the farming, while acting as the support of my family. I did fairly well in school, but after graduation from junior high school, I was employed by the company for which I am now working. During my career in this company, my educational background has been a barrier. Believing that my mother would be proud if I were promoted and settle down I went to a senior high school night school and a university (evening classes) with the aim of becoming a school teacher, but in vain. At that time, the first oil shock brought about a structural recession in the economy, and I was sent to an unexpected post. Despite the fact that I had just married, I was ordered by my company to go to a place where I would be obliged to do dangerous work for a long period of time. During the four-months of training, I sometimes had to work on the night shift.

Then I was so tired that I was unsteady on my feet. While I was in bed at night, I often felt something horrible, fearing that I would die in bed. However, I plucked up my courage to continue my job. It was on the day when I returned to work after the New Year's holidays that I was attacked by a strong fear which paralyzed me from top to toe in such a manner that I couldn't be calm.

After that the symptoms got more serious. In a state of anxiety and fear I spent days trembling, obsessed by the idea that I would go mad or that I would kill myself. I didn't know what to do, what was going on around me. I felt uneasy about everything. Once in the past, after consultation with a neurologist, I took prescribed drugs and went back to the operation site. But I was seized with a foreboding that I would die. I flew back home without permission from my boss.

I tried to get rid of the anxiety and fear with counseling, yoga, and autogenic training, one after the other. However, because the effort was aimed solely at eliminating the anxiety, the symptom, far from abating, was further aggravated.

Recovering my lost territory through practice

I encountered Morita Therapy at the time when I had lost the confidence of my boss and colleagues and had fallen into the depths of despair. By reading the experiences of people who had conquered the same symptom as mine, I realized that I had been carried away by the anxiety. I had fled from reality, trying to depend on my wife and others around me. The fact that many people have overcome the same affliction has encouraged me a great deal. I began to study Moritist thought. What I first learned is that at the root of all anxieties is the fear of death. One has strong anxiety only because one has a strong desire to live. Anxiety is indispensable in the achievement of desires.

In the meeting attended by neurotic people I was advised to move around and be of help to others in my work place. I must also try hard to find and carry out tasks that may even appear worthless, all the while carrying an apologetic feeling for my inability to fully execute jobs. I have repeated these practices both at home and in the work place without struggling against the symptoms, leaving my mind as it was with its tendency to only pay attention to anxiety. I started to pick up tasks that my high pride had not permitted me to deal with before.

As a result, my tense mind focused only on anxiety began to soften and my childish escapism left. My effort to eliminate anxiety has been redirected to recapturing my human nature. Owing to these mental changes I can travel on business and also handle various tasks at home these days. I was only absorbed in my own affairs in the past, but now I am more considerate of other people. In the past I was so desirous of being promoted and gaining the upper hand over other persons that I had no hobby whatever and only sought fulfillment in my job assignments and my family. Such a narrow-minded tendency has gone and I have broader interests in many aspects of my life. Nowadays, my hobbies are tennis, bonsai, mahjongg, baseball, and the like. I regard the issue of "what was done in what manner" as an important problem rather than focusing on symptoms.
However, when I feel exuberant my anxiety may appear, warning me that I have become haughty or that I'm not working earnestly. Paying heed to warnings from anxieties or symptoms I will continuously pursue my desire to be recognized as an able person. So I modify my way of life as needed by applying Morita's thought to my life.


Copyright (C) 1999-2009 The Mental Health Okamoto Memorial Foundation