Mental Health


This, in essence, is the FUN approach: to Focus on the asthma in a new way; to Undo (reverse, eliminate) old patterns of thought and behavior; and to Now Act so as to transform those life situations that suppress and suffocate you. We do not ask that you immediately adopt this way of thinking just on our say-so. Neither do we intend to deny your pain. But we do suggest that as you read about others who have used this successfully, and as you practice the exercises through out this book you will discover how the fun program offers a comprehensive solution to the complex problem of asthma. Through the following story, Kathy relates how fun first became important to her.


In 1981, I moved from Toledo, Ohio, to New York City, and my health flourished. At the time, I thought this was because I was surrounded with concrete instead of grass and flowers. After meeting a man and falling in love, I up- root-rooted myself and moved to Florida to be with him, and the asthma returned. This time I assumed it was the dampness and vegetation that did it. Again I had focused on the outside circumstances. Trying to ferret out the reasons for my sudden relapse by paying attention to my outer environment seemed a logical way to go. My doctors never questioned me about what was going on in my emotional life, and they, after all, were the experts, so I ignored my body’s message.

If I had tuned in to what was going on emotionally and mentally, I might have noticed that in leaving my hometown, I had also left behind a restricting relationship with my family, especially with my mother. At the time I thought it just a fortunate coincidence that in New York I breathed more freely and felt lighter, happier, more spontaneous. I neglected to consider that the restrictions I felt — first with my mother, who believed she knew what was best for me, and then with my lover, who insisted he knew what was best for the both of us — might be an important part of this recurring disease all types of medications

One day, during a severe attack, I automatically reached for my inhaler. Yet the medication did me no good. I immediately sensed that this wasn’t the answer, not anymore. The attack reminded me that I was suffocating in more ways than one. My belief in a solution that would allow me to have it all (both the lover who insisted on holding me so close that I couldn’t breathe and the freedom necessary for me to thrive as an autonomous, healthy human being) had come home to roost. I had been holding my breath, literally and figuratively, while hoping the pieces of my life would fall into place. But the tight feeling in my chest mirrored my error in thinking, and my breathing got even worse. I was stuck, clinging to an old belief about the way things should be.

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