I just discovered a wonderful website for a wonderful reading/study group: healthpursuitsgroup.com. They are a unique health book club for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia (FMS), multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and related conditions.
In 2008, they were the subject of a short study by the University of Toronto Medical School and the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. They are the only model in the medical literature of a support group for those with FM, CFS, MCS, etc., which helps people improve while other models made people worse.
They have a cool metaphor they use: the hot air balloon. What helps you to rise—what keeps you down? You can find the hot air balloon image on their website.
Some of the things they say help us to rise cognitively:
biochemical balance; biomechanical balance; experience; positive social contact; goals; planning; practice; opportunity for expression; experienced practitioner; information; reflection; appropriate strategies; helpful routines; mentoring
What keeps us down cognitively?
life events; restrictive beliefs or attitudes; genetic malformations of cognitive equipment; misinformation; biochemical problems; cognitive attacks by others or social systems; accidents; biomechanical problems; misinterpretation of blocking of social, biochemical, or biomechanical signals
It seems to me that a lot of what they say may help us to rise are practical things; tools we can apply to our life in some way, as well as having room for reflection and self-expression. The things that keep us down are more about our own and others’ belief systems. I have certainly found this to be true in my own life.
The more I can separate my emotional fear/panic/anxiety responses and belief systems from the physical, more practical realm, the better I can respond to a new challenge. But first I must be able to express the emotional freely (talking to members of my personal support team, screaming at the top of my lungs, writing in my blog, etc.). Then I am freed up to take very practical steps to resolving the issue—writing down pros and cons, making lists, contacting others to help me get the job done, etc. helps keep me sane and balanced.
Yesterday I read an interesting article on post traumatic stress disorder. It said that when one experiences a traumatic event, only unexpressed energy will remain in the body to cause PTSD; if you are able to release/express all your fears, anger, pain about the situation in the moment or over the next few days/weeks, you should not develop PTSD. So it’s very important to express and emote all your bottled up feelings so they don’t sit with you on a cellular level. And then focus on the practical.
One of the harder things to do is break down our (and others’) belief systems, because they are so ingrained they have become invisible to us. The first step is identifying a belief system. For example, that “disease” and “cures” exist at all. Those are constructs humans have created. What ideas are guiding your thoughts, behavior—your life—that you don’t even realize? That is the first step to breaking them down.
Please share in the comments section below what constructs you have identified in your life, how they have limited you, and how you have been able to overcome them.
Peace out! Julie