I’ve often described my experience of anxiety as an insect crawling about in my ear, annoying me throughout the day until I can’t focus on anything. We’ve all got our own coping methods thanks to a rich range of therapies and online support but what’s always worked for me… is walking whatever the weather.
The panoramic view from the top of a big hill widens my perspective and heaves me out of those all-consuming negative thought patterns. Not only that, the exercise gives a generous boost to that delicious feeling of well-being.
Others may rely on self medicating with addictive substances but this has a counter effect on anxiety management. Once we get locked in to relying on alcohol or drugs we need to increase the intake just to stay level and that keeps masking the root cause of the problem.
While we know a lot about substance abuse, few people talk about addictive behaviours– gambling, retail “therapy” porn and gaming. I’d like to raise a little known issue of what it means to be a psychic junkie – someone who becomes dependent on hotlines and readings by peddlers of the supernatural.
We are living through chaotic times. We feel unanchored, fearful of the future and concerned for our physical and material safety which shows in the distracted expressions of people scrolling manically through rapid fire news bulletins that clog up their phones.
As we grope our way through a thick fog looking for a neon light marked exit, it’s easy to fall into arms of the future tellers who through their various tools and tricks of the trade can provide comfort with those magic words, “this too shall pass.”
My extensive research over the years has thrown up every flavour of esoteric tool and mechanism from the more conventional astrology and card reading to finding significance in coffee beans and chicken bones. Channelling deceased loved ones has been with us since the Victorian spiritualist movement but from other galaxies…? My big question would be… why on earth would aliens have the slightest interest in what is happening on this screwed up little ball anyway?
With decades of life experience and formal study trying to fathom the idiosyncrasies of human behaviour, I am more interested in whypeople are turning to alternative ways of seeing the world as opposed to more conventional sources such as counselling or therapy. Surely sharing those innermost fears stirred up by the doomsayers would provide more constructive feedback in a clinical setting than picking out nine cards from a deck and waiting with a racing heart for their secrets to unfold.
Does desperation drive this behaviour or is it because we are wakening up to a new wave of spirituality or consciousness? Is something stirring in us as we make this collective shift into a new paradigm of thinking and being? Or, does my cynicism tell me it’s because the modern day soothsayers know how to brand and market themselves to a hungry audience around the world, evidenced by the boost in subscriber numbers to popular sites.
Readings are not cheap and when someone becomes a boomerang – keeps going back to the same reader several times a year like a junkie needing the next fix, an industry which is supposed to advertise itself as for “entertainment purposes only” is silently complicit in this destructive behaviour if they don’t make their terms and conditions clear and more stringent.
At this point I should declare my personal interest in cultural astrology so I’m not here to condemn anyone’s practice unless they are knowingly and wilfully taking advantage of vulnerable people.
My own brushes with what could be considered psychic phenomena has me agreeing with Shakespeare’s Hamlet when he says to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Carl Jung explained astrology in his theory of synchronicity and I’m with him so I am not condemning all esoteric practices to the bin marked nonsense.
In fact I’ve found myself flicking from one You Tube channel to another to be soothed by visionaries as they attempt to shed light on what we may be facing in the near and distant future as a society. Most of these are well intentioned and in some cases have proven to be uncannily accurate. Others are waffling nonsense to con the hyper anxious and gullible out of their money.
So what do people get out of these “consultations.” This is what they say:-
‘All the psychics I’ve consulted have been comforting.”
‘I was sceptical at first but much of what they told me resonated.’
‘In these dangerous times it was good to hear that they will eventually be over. It helps me keep going.’
Trained therapists don’t trade in platitudes. They help the individual dig deep into themselves to discover the root cause of what is really troubling them and why it’s so important for them to cling onto certainties. Helping clients to accept that the very nature of life is uncertain and trying to control its outcome is a futile exercise, no matter what the “soothing-sayers” might be leading you to believe.
For all their good intentions, no-one really knows the future until it arrives.
In my novel, The Future Can’t Wait I deal with the issue of Kendra, a psychology teacher who becomes so obsessed with consulting psychics when her adult daughter goes missing that she loses not only thousands of pounds but also her powers of reasoning.