Not Buying Into The Fear

In my book A Journey of Creative Healing, this step has to do with my rejection of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. In the 1960s little was understood about the disease and its prognosis was grim. My refusal to believe I had a disease of that magnitude stood me in good stead as I viewed my illness as a physical and emotional breakdown caused by shock of the loss of my young husband. But if I had accepted the diagnosis I believe the outcome of a return to good health may well have been very different.

This step of refusing to buy into the fear of the unknown is just as relevant in our COVID 19 world today. There is no other news that fills our screens, blasts from our radios and fills our newsprint than this virus. 

Government and health authorities discuss the plight every hour, every day. Hypothesising that if we keep on this trajectory there will be no beds for other medical needs, there will be a dire shortage of respirators. And it does not stop there, so many in our community are joining the long agonising queues at welfare offices and face dire financial stress. 

You would have to be living under a rock to not to be fearful.

According to science our primordial part of the brain has an appetite for bad news. In fact this reptilian part of our brain is constantly scanning our horizon looking for anything that will threaten us. If it finds a nub of juicy danger it doesn’t send this through to the neo-cortex of our logical thinking. Instead lizard-synapses-firing it retains it, constantly edgy ready to initiate our fight or flight response. Put simply we are addicted to bad news.

Which, very nicely thank you, plays into our potential for the nocebo effect. Nocebo, (from the Latin I shall harm) is the counterpart to Placebo (I shall please). The Placebo has many ‘pleasing’ studies that show the benefits of a sugar coated pill but the Nocebo challenges even the most radical researchers for the obvious reason they could harm patients. But it is well recognised by the medical world that people develop symptoms or an illness by either suggestion or our own negative conditioning. In other words be careful what you wish for! 

The answer is simple make a real effort not to dwell in adversity. We know what we need to do to keep us safe, social-1.5m-distancing, washing your hands repeatedly and stay home.

Restrict the amount of news you listen to. Try not to workshop with your bubble folk every questionable step those in authority make. Set your intention to embrace mindfulness and practice gratitude. Indulge in light-hearted movies, especially anything humorous, sex (if you are still up for it, okay double-entendre weak but hey hey) exercise, dance, sing or anything that will release the good chemicals into our systems. 

It was Franklin D Roosevelt, no stranger to adversity himself, who said ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself’

It Is What It Is – The Power of Acceptance

Psychologists will tell you that ACCEPTANCE will be always be the objective of therapy because without it no significant progress can be made. It was the fulcrum in my recovery from multiple sclerosis and the rawness of overwhelming grief over fifty years ago. . 

The world is in crisis and we are all struggling with fears of loss, abandonment and deprivation. IT IS WHAT IT IS.

So for any real progress back to some form of normalcy we must Accept that COVID 19 – IS WHAT IT IS. 

It takes no prisoners either physically or financially. It has little regard for a country’s economic stability. No regard for its victims either rich or poor, famous or commoners. (Prince Charles being the latest). It has no regard for the hardships that its ravages will bring to society.

COVID 19

As Peter and I weather our voluntary imposed self-isolation following two six-week working cruises around Australia, we have come to terms with the unfolding progress of the disease in Australia. We acknowledge that our 14-day stint may well become substantially longer. 

But acknowledgement is very different on the emotional Richter scale to the inherent power of ACCEPTANCE.

To come through this traumatic time in a well adjusted way we need to go beyond an intellectual understanding of its potential and really dig deep to face our fears and emotions. 

DIG DEEP

It takes a pinch of courage, of which I am sure you have a lot, to probe and investigate these fears. As we do it we should brook no stiff upper lip. No repressed emotions open up your bruised heart to rail and grieve. Unburdening ourselves will lead us to a deep level of Acceptance. Not always easily done but so worth persisting. You know you have achieved when the conflict is gone, or an old fashioned way of putting it is that you are spent.

This heart felt place can help you see troubles through new eyes, the joy of loving others, the joy of nature – especially the bounty of butterflies we are seeing currently here on the Queensland coast of Australia.

Sometimes the worst of times can you lead you to the best of times.

SOMETIMEE THE WORST OF TIMES ………

Recently I have fallen in love with the teachings of Jeff Foster, a young English teacher, an astrophysicist and now author of several philosophical books that lead us to our heart. Jeff expresses my conviction that we will view life differently and I will let his words do the work of inspiring you.

‘Life will eventually bring you to your knees. Either you’ll be on your knees cursing the universe and begging for a different life, or you’ll be brought to your knees by gratitude and awe, deeply embracing the life that you have, too overwhelmed by the beauty of it all to stand or even speak. Either way, they’re the same knees.” 
― Jeff Foster, Falling in Love with Where You Are

Tomorrow: : Understanding that life has to change

Diet & Health – Yesterday & Today

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“What we eat now is firmly linked to risks associated with ill-health in the Western world in the 21st century.

It makes perfect sense that “radically changing your diet” is a must in today’s world. As well as dietary changes being a king hitter from the Heart Foundations, Diabetic Association, Cancer Council, Obesity Australia, and every other health authority. MS is no exception.”

Why ‘Radically Changing My Diet’ Was Not One Of My Steps To Health

“Fifty years ago, diet would not have been on the collective horizon, as a contributor to disease. Our diets in that time had been shaped by WW11. “Dig for Victory” was a wartime catchcry, and so the community tore up their flowerbeds and planted vegetables and fruit trees. The first six to eight years of my life we ate mainly vegetables and fruit, homegrown and tasty, and no pesticides. Wartime meat rationing was miserly, as was butter, and so my mother took our allowance in soup bones and made good quality stocks for casseroles with beans and vegetables. One egg a week per person did not go far, but this was supplemented with tinned powdered eggs. We ate a lot of fish, as this was not on ration. Bread was dense and salty (no talk of salt is bad for health back then), and even today I still miss the Hovis loaf, a small brown loaf of nuttiness and intensity, which my mother cut into lacy fine slices to eat with the vegetable casseroles.

I remember clearly the first and only times in my first eight years I ate a freshly boiled egg, the first time I had a piece of steak, the first time I ate a piece of chocolate, and an orange, which was a Christmas stocking treat. Rationing continued until I was sixteen, and so the nation continued to have a plain but reasonably healthy diet.  It goes without saying apart from the ubiquitous cup of tea, water was our drink of choice. In my family, we only drank alcohol on festive days, a sherry on Christmas morning or a whiskey with the Christmas cake or the occasional noggin on an evening out to the pub.

The English were used to home-grown produce, and by the 1960’s most folk still grew these in their back gardens or on small parcels of land called allotments. The seasons controlled our eating — for the average family there was no expensive imported out of season fruit or veggies.   Mind you, everyone had a chip saucepan! But for many postwar years, meat was not on the daily agenda for the average family – instead, egg and chips (one egg) or baked beans and chips became regular family meals. For my family, fish — as both parents were keen anglers — was the more frequent meal compared to our meat consumption.”

“It appears the British were at their healthiest in WW11.”

Today:  

“Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission research has demonstrated, the numero-uno on this list is “Radically changing your diet.” For many survivors of cancer or people managing chronic disease, diet is their first thought and action, and it is a proven life-changing step.” (Turner, Kelly. Radical Remission – Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. HarperCollins 2014)

“Professor George Jelinek, in his early sixties, runs and swims regularly and says he has never felt healthier. In 1999, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This was a devastating blow for him, as he had watched his mother battle the disease for sixteen years, and when she could no longer take the pain or the dependence on others she took her own life. At the time of his diagnosis, he was the professor of Emergency Services at a leading hospital in Perth. He was 45 years old, and a family man with three children.

Immediately, he researched all he could on the disease and his findings led him to the work of American neurologist Roy Swank, who had published a paper in the Lancet 1990 “Effect of Low Saturated Fat Diet in Early and Late Cases of Multiple Sclerosis.” After many years of refining his findings on his seven-year recovery back to health, Professor George Jelinek wrote his first book Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis,” published in 2016, which features his seven-step program for recovery. This program is widely accepted as an excellent way to manage the disease. It has been tried and tested by many sufferers around the world who have found considerable benefits from living this lifestyle.”

One of key steps included: Changing your diet — ( Professor Jelinek also recommends the use of quality supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D)

Excerpts from A Journey of Creative Healing-  Chapter 9:  The Elephant in the Room – Radically Changing Your Diet