Ever have one of those moments where you are spinning around in a circle, clapping your hands, while holding your breathe and waiting for a change?

No? Okay, well that makes two of us… that was, at least until yesterday.

It started while I was trying to be productive at the office, and attempting to make some headway on an upcoming presentation.  As with many of life’s unfortunate occurrences; mine came on swiftly- and with a vengeance.

Naturally I am referring to an absolutely awful case of the hiccups. I should preface this and say that I am not a graceful or delicate hiccup-er. It feels like my whole body is having a spasm, and in addition to looking a little silly, it makes it so that I get absolutely nothing done because I am so completely consumed by when the next hiccup is coming.

I run through a mental list of the home remedies I have tried over the years… I should have someone scare me, I should hold my breath until I fear I might pass out, I should drink water from the wrong side of the cup- upside down from a glass, and my personal favorite-put honey under my tongue. I quickly scratch all of these out as they have never worked with any kind of consistency.

Here is the moment where this gets blog worthy.

As I am lamenting to a friend about the increased likelihood that I should learn to live with my hiccups because I will have them forever, she suggests I turn in circles 3 times while holding my breath and finish with some clapping (I imagine for dramatic flair).

I am sure you can imagine the face I made, but if you can’t, it looked something like this:


I mostly just stared, because this particular friend and I have a habit of teasing each other. However, I was desperate. So naturally; I did it.

Of course, every turn I made, I looked at her, just waiting for her to burst out into giggles that I was following such ridiculous directions.

But guess what?

It totally worked.

So how is that related to therapy you might ask, or for that matter, life in general?

We go through life with set ideas about the way things should happen. Our beliefs and opinions are shaped and developed throughout our childhood, and the end result is that we have generally specific ideas about what actions will get us from Point A to Point B. A great example of this is the classic American Dream. You may have heard your parents and grandparents reference it, or got caught up in an episode of Happy Days (…that is still on somewhere, right?) The idea of the American Dream is that if you work hard and put your mind to something, you will be able to succeed in life. Usually this looks like a steady job, a wife, 2 kids, and a dog, in a big house with a white picket-fence.

Point A- Work hard
Point B- American Dream

Easy right?

So here’s the problem. What about lottery winners? What about people who lay about all day but inherit money from a rich uncle? Sometimes the way we perceive the most direct route from Point A to Point B isn’t actually the most efficient!

In my case, my perception about ridding myself of the hiccups was to attempt a set list of ‘cures’, all of which had varying degrees of effectiveness in the past. When I was presented with an (albeit equally ridiculous) suggestion, my immediate response was incredulity.

When applied to other places in life, and especially when you consider working with a counselor, know that some of the options presented may sound a little outlandish. If your therapist asks you to talk to a chair and pretend its your father- know that there is likely a very good reason behind it.

It’s the stuff that makes us really uncomfortable that helps us most to grow. Don’t be afraid to feel silly. Embrace the discomfort.

As the corny bumper-sticker instructs “Feel the fear and do it anyway!”

-Nicole Rubin

The Curious Case of The Spinning Cure
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