In letting ourselves take risks we will develop more confidence in our own ability. It doesn’t matter if we make mistakes along the way. Mistakes are a part of living. Mistakes are actually our teachers if we are willing to learn from them. If we don’t learn from them, we repeat them in one form or another.
At each step we can take what we need and let go of what we must. The development of the self is like the birth of a child. We need to be protective of it. The conscious feel of it will be so new, it will feel vulnerable.
People around us will not be able to understand our inner pressure. We are meeting the push for growth head-on, and at this stage we are doing it for our self. This is all that matters at this point. The question of selfishness may come up again. Is being free from the disorder selfish? Is wanting to develop our full potential selfish? Look what happened last time we didn’t!
This may be a time when counselling can help ourselves and our families get to know and accept the person we are becoming.
The ultimate answer and the ultimate resources are within us. It can sometimes hurt and it can sometimes be frightening. It can mean different things for all of us, but ultimately it is the path to freedom. It is the path of self determination.
As we begin to practise awareness, we become aware of our own behaviour and our subtle motivations. Slowly and subtly these insights into our self break through. What was initially destruction can become construction.
When the insights first come they are fleeting glimpses of how we could be. They disappear and reappear as we begin to assimilate them and begin to build on them. We begin to see that responsibility for our peace and happiness is ours, and ours alone. We cannot shift the responsibility of ourselves to other people or to other factors.
Sometimes we are able to assimilate the insights easily, at other times it calls for hard work. Sometimes the insights can herald changes so basic they are accompanied by fear.
As we become aware of these insights we begin to see we are letting go of more than the disorder. Life begins to take on a different meaning. Our ideals and values change. Things which were once important to us no longer seem so, yet it appears there is nothing else to take their place.
This can be very threatening and disturbing, despite our desperate longings to be ourselves. The pre-disorder identity has gone; its place was taken by the ‘disordered’ identity. This in turn is breaking down, leaving us no sense of identity, no sense of self, to take its place. The feeling of total annihilation can seem closer than ever before.
The second drug used at St Thomas’ is called bromocryptine. It isn’t very satisfactory as a treatment for the miseries, because although it can help some women with breast discomfort it doesn’t do much for mood swings, or have any effect on increased weight or the bloat. And the side effects can be pretty unpleasant — among others, it can make you very sick. In fact the doctors who use it recommend that ‘treatment should always be commenced with a very low dosage and this is increased only slowly to minimise the incidence of nausea and vomiting’. At St Thomas’ it seems to be used only rarely.
Like Dr Dalton, Dr Brush has written a book about the treatments he uses. It is called P.M.T., The Unrecognised Illness and is by Judy Lever, Dr Brush and Brian Haynes. It will tell you more about these drugs if you think they could be for you.
As you can see, getting medical treatment for the miseries is rather difficult and complicated, which shouldn’t surprise us, when we consider what a complicated business menstruation is anyway. Dr Dalton and the St Thomas’ team are campaigning vigorously. And if they have their way there will eventually be pre-menstrual clinics all over the place, so that anyone who needs medical help will be able to get it.
In the meantime we must see what can be achieved by helping ourselves and helping each other.
Weight loss can be caused by a number of physiological and psychological disorders, and if unexplained weight loss occurs, a medical practitioner should be consulted.
Intended weight loss for health or other reasons involves a number of factors. There are many theories regarding weight loss which encompass genetics, food intake and exercise. There is some evidence of a genetic predisposition to obesity and variations in metabolic function. There is also evidence, however, that while some people weigh considerably more than others but have the same food intake, those who weigh more do less exercise.
Most nutritionists agree that effective weight reduction involves a long-term change in eating patterns and behaviour and a gradual but significant increase in exercise. Fad or crash diets used for a short period actually reduce the amount of muscle and water in the body and weight is rapidly regained once the diet is discontinued.
Approaches to gradual weight loss include lowering fat and kilojoule intake while increasing the amount of fatburning exercise. Fat content is reduced by eliminating junk foods and refined sugar and reducing dairy products and fatty meats. Lowering the amount of fat in the diet should correspond with an increase in the intake of fruit, vegetables, legumes and grains. Drinking around 8 glasses of water a day is also recommended. Exercise involving at least three 20 minute periods per week will increase the metabolic rate and burn fat.
The term brain-fag is unfamiliar to most readers. Brain-fag refers to a particular aspect of the environmental disease problem and in fact characterizes the very serious minus-three level. Brain-fag is marked by confused thinking, moodiness, unexplained sadness, and apathy. Frequently, the individual with this phase of the problem cannot concentrate and may find it difficult to express himself. The term itself was first used in this context by an astute patient, and I have adopted it to refer to what may be the most characteristic part of food and chemical susceptibility.
We all know, of course, what fatigue is. Normal people experience it when they have exerted a great deal of energy. Others, however, experience fatigue on an allergic basis. In other words, their tiredness is not related to any particular exertion on their part, is unrelieved by rest or sleep, and is frequently worse in the morning.
Fatigue may also be caused by other disease states, such as chronic infection, metabolic disorders, heart ailments, anemia, dietary deficiencies, or even cancer. If none of these conditions exist, food or chemical allergy should definitely be suspected.
Physical fatigue is a minus-two symptom. It can occur at any age, but not uncommonly afflicts a younger patient than does brain-fag. It can be ruinous for any person who must perform difficult or complicated jobs.
The treatment of infantile spasms is unlike that of other epilepsies. Treatment usually consists of giving a steroid, either by intramuscular injection, or by mouth. The drug which is given by injection is called ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone), and by mouth, prednisolone. The injections are usually given once (rarely twice) a day for two weeks until the spasms have stopped, and then every other day, and eventually just once a week. Only about one half to
two-thirds of children will respond to ACTH or prednisolone, and a number of these children will relapse (have further spasms) once the medication is discontinued. Unfortunately, these medications may be associated with serious side-effects, and therefore the children must be monitored very closely. Other drugs which may be useful in treating spasms include: sodium valproate (Epilim) and nitrazepam (Mogadon). More recently, one of the newer anti-epileptic drugs, vigabatrin (Sabril) is appearing to be successful in treating spasms, particularly if the cause is tuberous sclerosis or as a result of earlier meningitis/encephalitis. This drug seems to be safer, with less serious side-effects, than the steroid drugs. It may soon become the ‘first choice’ drug in the treatment of infantile spasms. One of us already uses vigabatrin to treat every child who has infantile spasms, irrespective of the cause because it appears to have so few side-effects.
Some of the most helpful things you can do to live an anti-depressant lifestyle involve taking control of your life wherever possible. One well-known animal model of depression, developed by Martin Seligman, is learned helplessness. In this model, rats in cages are given electrical shocks at random until, presumably realizing that there is nothing they can do to prevent these shocks, they simply give up and lie down, resigned or, perhaps, depressed. Life may feel like that to some people. At work, you may be faced with one difficult situation after another. Your boss may be constantly disgruntled or repeatedly abusive. Similarly in marriage or a relationship it sometimes feels as though you just can’t win. No matter what you do or say you land up in trouble with your partner. These are topics of satire, but in reality are not very funny. For example, in the highly successful comedy series Fawlty Towers, the unfortunate innkeeper, Basil Fawlty, is always falling foul of his wife Sybil. On one occasion Sybil harangues him about his gambling. When, later in the episode, she checks on whether he has been betting on the horses again (which he has) he responds, ‘No dear, that avenue of pleasure has been closed off to me.’ In depression, where avenues of pleasure are already closed off to the depressed person, it is particularly important that extra sources of unhappiness be tackled or avoided.
Babies and small children can be a real joy when you are fit and well and on top of the world. But if you’re below par, they can change almost immediately into fiends. And if that happens, your feelings towards them can change just as abruptly. It was no surprise to me to read in Dr Dalton’s book Once a Month that so many babies are battered when their mothers are suffering from the aching miseries. There are lots of difficult and involved reasons for this horrible experience. One of the most powerful seems to be that the parents had the baby in the first place so that it could love them. Another is that they don’t understand why their baby cries and the crying makes them angry. Another could be that they’re completely out of gear because they haven’t had enough sleep for far too long. A baby who cries night after night for months on end can reduce even the most patient mother to a shred of her former self, and break down even the most loving self control. I don’t believe premenstrual tension causes women to batter their children, but the miseries could be the final straw that makes you take violent action.
Most people will say that they are all right, their bowels move once a day. Many are satisfied when they evacuate only once every two or three days. If your bowels move only once in two or three days you are badly constipated, even if you don’t feel pain or discomfort at present. Such delayed evacuation will eventually, more likely than not, lead to serious illnesses. But even if your bowels move once every day, intestinal sluggishness is definitely indicated.
People living under natural, primitive conditions move their bowels after each meal. Most animals do the same. Healthy infants follow the same pattern. Adults, too, should do likewise. They should at least evacuate twice a day, morning and evening.
Constipation can be corrected only by adopting a sound, commonsense program of natural foods, proper eating habits, plenty of exercise, plenty of liquids, and establishing a habit of regular routine. Laxatives will never solve this colossal health problem. They only weaken the natural functions of the intestines and ultimately cause more harm than good.
The sufferers of arthritis who avail themselves of biological treatments as outlined in this book, will have their constipation problems automatically solved. Fasting, enemas, and “eliminative diets” of raw foods will effectively rebuild and restore the normal function of the intestinal organs and bring about good elimination.
Think of where qualities like strength and flexibility are needed in the body, and you are probably thinking of tissue containing the mineral silica. It is found in the bones, cartilage, artery walls, hair, nails and skin.
Deficiencies will show in all of the above. Hair and nails may become brittle and the skin will lose some of its ability to heal, as well as its moisture and elasticity. Arterial walls will weaken and bone and cartilage development may be hindered. There is now some evidence to suggest that the silica may help shield the body against the harmful effects of aluminium and may provide some degree of protection against the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Silica is available in most fibrous fruits and vegetables like celery, rhubarb, mango, asparagus and particularly lettuce. It is a major component of many of the vegetable skins and husks we often throw away. To take better advantage of the silica in our food, therefore, choose wholegrain foods and eat vegetables and fruit with their skins when possible.
Herbal sources include horsetail, which contains not only high levels of silica, but also the minerals necessary for its absorption by the body. Take it with care, in conjunction with herbs containing a mucilage such as slippery elm or marshmallow, as it can be harsh and scarring to the kidneys. A supplement of silica in tablet form is probably preferable for the treatment of deficiencies. Limit your daily intake to about 30-40mg/day.