hello! im writing this at about 5.30am as orla has decided as she sometimes does when im in the middle of a nice deep sleep that it may be a good idea to wake me up! she is the only one of my furry babies that likes to let it be known when she fancy's a wee snack or is a bit bored or both! so she 'chat's' rather loudly and likes to rattle the bedroom blinds a bit. so here i am, hot waterbottle on my lap and a hot blackcurrant drink on hand.
since my last post i have had a bad cold that turned into a painful chest infection, and now back to another stinking rotten cold! i have been left feeling very weak and wobbly indeed. yesterday was the second part of a weekly course run by glasgow's homeopathic hospital, and i really struggled to get to it. i have also been feeling extremely nauseous the last few day's which didn't help! anyway i managed to make it and thought i would tell you a wee bit about it.
the wellness enhancement programme for cfs/me is run by glasgow homeopathic hospital (you have to be referred there by your gp) it has been designed to help with the feelings of isolation and hopelessness and loss of self esteem. it aims to develop a deeper understanding of the condition and so help self management and help increase your wellness and strengthen your ongoing commitment to self care. the first four parts are led by dr reilly a consultant physician, then the next 3 by a senior physiotherapist. here is the start of my wee snippets about what i am learning:
in part one there is a load of research based facts about health care and the mind-body link. long ago health care grew in response to the challenges of acute life threatening illness. now in the post industrial world we need to tackle new epidemics of mainly chronic problems that the old ways are failing to fix - like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, chronic pain, chronic fatigue etc. thing's that there is no quick fix for. nowadays we even treat drug addiction with drugs, doctors agree that a holistic approach is essential to providing good health care, however due to constraints like time this is not being delivered. we have ended up with a system where the human side of care can be under strain and undervalued in a target-driven intervention model of care. i will be talking about my own experience of the uk's health care system - the nhs in a different post.
so many of us will have to bring about a balance in our health by our own efforts as it will not come from the system. new ideas like self management are springing up in health care.
it is certain that we can learn to support our own health and help our systems efforts to get back into balance, and help recovery. even when there is no potential to change on a physical level it seems there is always potential to reduce suffering, and improve over time our inner peace and well being.
we were asked to think of ourselves as a plant. if a plant is not watered it will wilt and fade, and if pushed enough it will go to seed and die. (you can change the image to one that works best for you like an animal that depends on you or a child that needs your loving care) the idea is to waken up in yourself the connection for a need to nurture for life to thrive. we need to nurture, stimulate and support our plant, the built in potential for human beings for growth and repair. so we need to create the right conditions for the plant to grow.
what would be water and sunshine for our plant, what does it need to grow and thrive? how are you doing as its gardener?
are we in contact with nature? we are nature and it seems that our body and system respond to the environment around us. if we are not in contact much with nature can we create a small place which helps us connect with beauty or peace. even just a stone or a shell on a table. we are introduced to mindfulness meditation and learning or deepening the practice, through it we can learn to wake up our positive mood centres at will, which leads to a healthier immune response. as there are endless variations on this the course has chosen heartmath, to develop well being inside ourselves.
in part two we explore what we feed ourselves. we had been asked to keep a food diary for a week. in it's continuous efforts to re build our health and well being as best it can, your body your body can only work with what you give it. it only has the food we eat and the fluid we give it, and the air we breathe to make tissues, our immune system, our natural pain killers and mood chemicals.
we learn a bit about traditional and industrial diets, deprivation, proper fats, how to even out our spikes and dips in our blood sugar, antioxidants, organic food benefits etc
my favourite part of today was seeing a 'self care' kit and asked to consider making my own. you can add things like your favourite beautiful music, a notebook for private thoughts or sketches, beautiful things to look at and touch like a feather, stones or shells, photos that return you to your heart, spark gratitude or recall what peace feels like, and a timer for meditation practice etc.
so what did i think? well most things were familiar to me (yup i often can't believe that with all my past very healthy eating, supplements, daily exercise, meditation, positive thinking and yoga etc i still managed to get this ill!) but i still felt i could gain from coming at it all afresh as if for the first time and reflect on where i have reached, and where i might go from here.
i understood the nutrition bit, but it's crazy that often at times when we need to nourish our body's the most our limited budgets don't stretch to organic food and beneficial supplements etc, like in my case. also what i found from keeping my food diary was the erratic eating patterns due to loss of appetite and sometimes being to weak to cook properly. i will try to eat a bit more regularly now and i have already consulted my old 'low gi' diet book for cooking tips. i am lucky that spring is just round the corner and that means getting back to my wee allotment to grow inexpensive organic veggies, be in nature and have lots of fresh air!
i am really enjoying the course. dr david reilly is a super guy who makes us laugh all the time and question our way of thinking. it has made me realise that i must try a wee bit harder with 'gardening my plant' like meditating a tad more and i am also going to put together my own little self care kit and i will reveal on this blog soon!