Category Archives: Disability fears

How to Envision your Dreams after a Disability

As we fight to recover from a Disability we need to envision ourselves again. Before the disability struck we all had a vision of who we were. When the disability struck, that vision ended up shattered. The self-vision served us. Now we need to create a new self vision.

Why is a self-vision important?

Self visions are important because they serve as a reference when we need guidance. How did you see yourself before your disability struck? You were probably capable and self-sufficient. You might have been a leader or a caretaker. If you saw yourself in those roles, you would feel comfortable doing those things.

As someone who was self-sufficient you did not ask for help. You would step forward and do what you needed to do.

As a caretaker, you would step forward and help others. You would take opportunities to learn how to care for others. Did you take first aid classes? Would you step forward and offer that first aid to those in need? If your help was rejected, would you take it personally? I did.

Now that you are disabled can you still help others? Is it hard to accept the help of others? These feelings come about because you can no longer live up to your self-image.

Your self-image gave you permission to do and act in certain ways. When you acted in those ways you felt good about yourself. When you failed to live up to your self-image you felt bad about yourself. That is one reason you feel bad when you are disabled – you can’t live up to your self-image.

How to create a new self-vision

Our self visions come about from the messages we receive from others. I was the oldest child, and thus told to look out for my sister and brother. When my sister started school, I was responsible to walk with her and be sure she got to and from school safely. Now, that our parents have passed on, I am even more aware of how they are doing. I still think of myself as the big brother, and now also as the Patriarch.

I now am disabled and not in contact with my sister and brother very often. They live in other states and care for themselves and their spouses. They would probably say they worry as much about me as I do them. Both ways, that worry does not take up much of our time or effort.

Day to day we need a clearer self-image. How I interact with my wife and those people I meet each day is the real result of my self-image.

Some questions I had to ask myself as I accepted my disability are:

  • Would I admit to be disabled?
  • How would I react to others help?
  • Would I fear others taking advantage of me?
  • Would I still seek ways to help others?
  • Would I still accept responsibilities and serve in organizations?
  • What would I do at home?
  • How would I do these things?

As I pondered these questions, I allowed myself to act in various ways. I resisted carrying a white cane. Then I realized that I could not walk about and feel safe without it. Carrying it told others that I was different (it is surprising that not everyone knows what a white cane is or means).

We fear that others will take advantage of us because we admit to being blind. I was asking for help, when I was used to being the helper. I am pleasantly surprised how comforting it is to have others looking out for me. Yes, I feel guilty about accepting a seat on a bus, when I can stand just as well as others. Also there are places on the bus where it is easier to hear the driver announce the stops than in the front. They have PA systems. I also like to sit facing forward. The sideways seats strain my back.

To find out whom you are after a disability you need to try out the various roles. You need to evaluate how well you feel you do in those roles. Are their skills you need to master? Should you just let those roles lapse? How do you feel about those options?

How do you see yourself now? Do you want to be happy and self-confident? Or are you willing to be a crippled shell of who you were? Now that you have some idea of whom you will become,

How will you use your new self-image?

Self-images have many forms. There is the mental and emotional image I have been talking about. However, these images show up in many places. Every time we post on Facebook and elsewhere on the web our photo appears. This might be called a logo or avatar. It shows others how we want to be seen.

How often do people replace their headshot with a photo of family or friends? Some even replace the photo with another image. That is the way they show up each time they post on Facebook. It is their avatar.

While we don’t use animals or other images on Facebook, they are convenient ways for us to see ourselves. What animal were you? Take a moment to put a name and recall that animal.

Now what animal are you? Is that the animal you want to become? If not what animal do you want to become? How does that animal act? How do you feel when you think about being that animal?

Once you have decided upon what animal you want to be, what attracts you to that animal. How would that animal act? Do you need to change anything about your present self to become that animal?

This envisioning is what Life coaches help people do. If you want help with the process set up a consultation and see if I would be a good Life coach to help you with this. There is a sign up box in the right sidebar.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Reviving your dreams after disability

Disabilities put an end to your dreams. Wanting to revive them after a disability is natural. Dreams are what give us the energy to strive and overcome challenges. We don’t want to surrender that energy. If surrendered, we want to recover it again.

You should not revive your dreams after a disability

Your old dreams were for another you. Before your disability you had different abilities. You could do different things. They were made for a different person in a different situation. To try and live out those old dreams will make you face the new reality over and over again.

I used to enjoy driving. It gave me a sense of freedom and competence. I never worried about accidents or harming others. As my eyesight failed, I had several near misses. One day I miss-judged the response of the car I was driving and flipped it. We were safe but shaken. While I miss the freedom of getting behind the wheel and going places, I don’t miss the fear that came over time. I can now recall with joy the freedom and ignore the fear, as long as I don’t try to drive.

As you see the reality of a disability it often causes you pain and depression. Would it not be easier to start afresh and not face the constant reminder of your loss?

How did those dreams come about? Were they not the product of your parents and others asking you things and offering you options? They molded you and often projected their own dreams on to you. How often does a father project onto his son the frustrated ambitions of an athlete? Often these projections are more subtle but still result in an ill-fitting dream.

Did that dream cause you stress? Did you feel that you must live that life? A dream that does not fit you does not give you energy. You don’t wake up each morning looking forward to living out that dream. Each night as you try to settle down the tension between your day and your dream haunts you. The challenges of the day were challenges with no rewards for overcoming them. You survived another day, for what? If you got closer to that dream did you feel any happier?

Do those old dreams now excite you? A dream should give you energy, energy to attack and conquer the challenges of the day. You now must look at those dreams. You are not the person you used to be. You are now the one who must create the dream. No longer are your parents and other adults responsible for you. They may still give you input, but their life experiences are no longer the ones you face. They are no longer able to mentor you.

You should dream anew after a disability.

As you live into a new you, you must look anew at your life. What can you do now? What do others with your abilities do? Should you let their limited successes limit you? Blind men have climbed Mt. Everest and solo hiked the Appellation trail. What will be the dream that you will embrace?

I have put the responsibility of driving behind me. I can now talk with the driver and others without worrying about getting lost. When I do get lost, it does not matter. Someone else is driving and we can recover. I am not alone in being lost!

I have moved to a place where I can take busses. Busses give me freedom that I would not have if I had to depend upon others to drive me. I can use the time waiting for and riding on the bus to plan, think, and read audio books. It may not be the way most of my peers do things, but it serves me well and I don’t have to strain to see where I am going.

When you were young you saw stories of other’s exploits. Some excited you and some seemed silly. What exploits now excite you? What now seem silly? Are there new stories that interest you?

Share your dreams old and new.

Bring others into this conversation. Do you know someone who needs a new dream?

Next week I continue this series on how to put your life back together to achieve your new dreams. Sign up at the right to be notified of when it is posted. If you know others who might also want to join us on this journey, forward this blog’s link to them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

 

Do “Shoulds” make you feel Guilty?

We should not feel guilty over our “Shoulds.” Yet, it is the “shoulds” we have that make us feel guilty. They are what convict us of our failures to live up to our expectations. This guilt makes us tense.

The “should” are the rules we have to live by. They help us decide how to live. Yet, how often do they make our lives’ miserable?

Why “Shoulds” make you feel guilty.

Actually the “Shoulds“ make us feel guilty only when we don’t follow them. I know I should get started on the blog early in the week so I can get it posted by Friday. Yet, I usually find a reason to put off starting the blog until about Wednesday. By that time I feel enough guilt to make it a top priority. This week I finally felt that this blog was more important than an optional breakfast with a group in which I am only marginally involved. If this gets posted by Friday morning the combination of “Shoulds” and resulting Guilt will have served me well.

Often the guilt overwhelms us. Then we get stopped or do a less than ideal job. Can we find a better way to get things done?

Where did the “Shoulds” come from in the first place?

The “Should” that I must start each week’s blog on Monday or Tuesday comes from my experience that I must process and rewrite it several times to get it to flow reasonably well and be free of major typos. I must get the ideas down and then let them sit for a while. When I come back I can see problems with the prior version.

A few weeks ago when I returned I decided that I needed to totally rewrite the blog. The final one got out a week late. The first version served to let me process the issue.

This excursion into how my “should” that, “I must get each week’s blog started early in the week”, came about serves to show us that “Should” are summaries of our experiences and desires. My goal is to publish a blog each Friday so you can ponder it over the weekend. This “should” is clearly evolving, but most of our “shoulds” are deeply engrained.

Where did most of our “Shoulds” come from?

Our “should” serve as rules to make our lives easier. Yet, they make us tense too. This tension arises when a desire to not follow the rule also exists. I would rather do other things than write another blog.

The blog rule exists because I wish to help you to get over things. The things I seek to help you with are such things as, “I should not feel pain.” I should not feel guilty that I am ill.” “I should not let my personal limitations prevent me from meeting my obligations to others….” These are all more important than just getting the blog written for a few readers.

So, what is making you feel Guilty?

Where did that “should” come from?

Does that “should” still serve you, how and how not?

Is there a “should” that will serve you better?

The “shoulds” that I suggested you ponder will not yield their answers easily. As you begin pondering “why I feel guilty that I am ill.”, many memories around illness will emerge. You had to learn when to stop and go to bed and when to push through a cold or other discomfort. What obligation did you miss by giving in to the cold? How well did you perform while pushing thru the cold? Do you recall any other options? Are there remedies you might try? Are there other ways to meet your obligations?

By pondering these and related questions, have you gotten to know who you are better? Can you accept yourself more? Will you be less tense next time?

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” (Chinese Proverb)

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

 

Want to Thrive with a Disability?

Thriving is what we all would like to do, but when you face a disability you worry about how you can just survive. But you should; not settle for survival! You are now freed from the binds that kept you from thriving before!

We can divide the ways people see their lives into three categories; trapped, tamed or thriving.

Have you been trapped in a life that did not serve you?

If you were trapped you probably knew it. Here are some ways you might have described your life, stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. All these similar feelings come from a mindset that does not let you be free. There were beliefs that held you back. They made you a prisoner in your own life. Now the musts, should and ought’s that governed your life can be put in their place. When one of these gilt-producing ideas comes into your mind, you can say, “the disability won’t let me…”

If you were lucky, you led a Tamed life.

A Tamed life is one where you find it easy to get along. You do what you must to get what you need. The shoulds, musts and ought’s get met without effort. You had a job, friends and family. If so, you are lucky friends and family are still there for you now that a disability dominates your life. True the disability has put its own set of demands upon you. They too are met with little effort.

When my eye sight got too bad for me to drive, friends and family stepped up and I could still get around. In fact a neighbor I barely knew offered me a ride to a community group we were both in. I still lived a tamed life.

But is a tamed life what we really want? Is it the life that will be best for all those around us? Tamed people are plane people. They don’t make waves or get tossed by them. Are they fun to be around? Do they make you a better person?

The Thriving life is one where we not only get our “needs” met but also our wants. Few of us really want for our basic needs of food, clothing shelter and friends. True, the food we could get in a soup kitchen is not what we are used to or want to resort to for support. It is there if we are willing to set aside the self-image and pride we have and get it. The same is true of shelter, clothes, family and friends. No matter whom I have met they have always had these available. Those who lived on the streets still had some sort of friends. I might not want them. Call me a snob, but then there are many people I would rather not have as friends.

When a disability strikes your old life gets destroyed. We will miss it, but once we realize that we can’t go back, what is there to do?

We must make a new life for ourselves. Few of us consciously created the life we lived. It resulted in many decisions that others made for us. We did not choose our parents. They chose the communities we lived in and the schools we attended. They shaped our attitudes and beliefs about how we should live and how the world would be. Now, much of that does not work! The disability prevents us from believing such things as, “if we are good only good things will happen to us.”

I lost my eyesight due to no fault of my own. I was diagnosed with the disease early on. I went to one of the world’s experts in that disease. I followed his orders. Yet my eyes got worse. I could see less and less until there were major things I could not see and do.

With the help of a coach I now know I have choices. These choices can change my life. I can take charge of my life and Thrive. So can you!

What dreams do you have? If you could be any animal, what would you be? Let’s talk about those dreams and our animal personas.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Paralyzed by feelings of being Overwhelmed, Hopelessness and Uselessness (recognizing your Depression)

 Feeling Overwhelmed, Hopeless or Useless is common. When any of these feelings paralyze you then depression exists. Often such feelings bring us up short and keep us from focusing on the matters at hand.

As we sit down to begin a new week there are many things we will need to accomplish. Feeling overwhelmed can affect how we think about the number and complexity of the tasks life forces us to plan. What should I do first? Will I overlook something important?

Tip: to get a handle on feeling overwhelm by your life tasks; list them in a word document. This will allow you to see all that you face. Then you can rearrange them. What are the components of each task? Are there subcomponents of different tasks that can be done together?

When I had to manage several patients in the hospital, I would keep a list. Then I would go to the various labs and x-ray and review all the studies of all the patients in one pass. Then when I went to each patient I did not have to run back to the lab many times. How might you resort and perform parts of the different tasks?

Hopelessness can really paralyze us. We feel there is no way to approach the problems we face. Frankly, some are truly beyond our control. The weather will be as it will be. We will have to adapt. Here in Minnesota, we expect snow all winter long. We buy cars and clothes in response to that fact. Soon, I will get out the long johns. They allow me to stand at the bus stop without freezing my legs off.

Tip: if you have made a list of the things facing you, now you can look for opportunities to address the underlying problems.

We can’t stop global warming, but we can travel with the least release of greenhouse gasses. In general ground transportation is better than air, and mass transit is better than solo. You have done something, even if it is not all that is needed to be done.

If you still feel overwhelmed by hopelessness then a mindset change may be in order. Ask yourself such questions as: Whose problem is it anyway? Will it really matter what I do? Then try to set it aside.

Years ago, I decided that in the case of nuclear war, I would enjoy the view from the roof. The chances of survival were small; I might as well experience the process and not hide.

Uselessness often confronts us. The major events swirling around us will happen with or without us. We are spectators or “collateral Damage) in the scheme of things. This is where the spiritual comes in.

Are you part of nature? If so, what does nature expect of you? The antelope grows big and strong only to become food for the lion. The lion will become food for the vulture. Our daily struggles prepare us for a role beyond ourselves. In the moment the struggle becomes primary, but in the overall scheme it serves only to prepare for another role. When the antelope loses its struggle with the lion, it assumes its’ ultimate role. How will your struggle today contribute to the world of tomorrow?

When these feelings of Overwhelm, Hopelessness and uselessness stop us for weeks, it is time to get outside help. You probably are clinically depressed and there are many things others can do to help you. You should usually feel like dancing, and not crying.

What ways have you found to dance in the face of overwhelm and hopelessness?

What resources do you have to dance? As All Ways, Seek Joy,7

(Seven ways to eat your way out of Depression), or When a porcupine won’t cure your Depression , what can you do?

When a porcupine won’t heal your depression what can you do? In my last blog I suggested that a porcupine might help cure your depression. However, depression is much like a porcupine, slow moving and stops when approached. It curls up and shows its’ quills to the world. Now comes the hard work.

Now we must buckle down and get set for the long hall. For most of us we didn’t fall into the pit of depression overnight and now we will get out of that pit of depression slowly.

In the last two blogs I talked about how our bodies get depressed and some ways to recover from depression. The biggest change and the slowest to show benefit is changing our diet.

Many studies have shown that the typical Western diet can cause depression. When a diet similar to the Western Diet is fed to mice, they become depressed. That is correct; the sweet, highly processed diets that are marketed to us clearly contribute to our depression.

Over the Centuries our bodies adapted to a diet different from the one we commonly eat now. As recently as 100 years ago there were few sweetened foods. Then food scientists discovered that we preferred to eat sweet foods and the race was on. We added sweeteners to everything, just look at the labels of the processed foods in the stores. There is Fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, and many other natural sweeteners. It is hard to find a packaged food without some such sweetener.

Thinking that the sugars were the cause of many of our ills, scientists came up with many artificial sweeteners. Now we realize that they are little better than the natural ones they replace. When we taste sweetness in our foods, our brains get our bodies set for some sugar.

When our bodies become used to the boost sugar gives, they come to depend upon it. Sugar serves as the primary source of energy for our bodies. It readily gets from our food into our blood stream, and to the cells that extract the energy they need. Brain cells are also very dependent upon blood sugar for their energy. Thus kids get very active with the “sugar high”. Our bodies soon consume all that easy energy and then struggle to find more energy. How many of us struggle before noon and at the end of the day? Those are the times our bodies need to extract energy from other food sources.

The next source of energy is starches. Starchy foods are the basis of most diets. They are found in grains (wheat and rice) and potatoes among others. These plants can be raised in mass and stored. Thus they are good crops. However, we have developed ways to refine and store these crops that remove some of the nutritional values and concentrate other parts.

Gluten is one food component that has received much attention. Gluten is found in many plants, but especially wheat. The processing of wheat leaves high amounts of gluten in our diets.

In small amounts our gut and its bacteria can digest it easily. In the large amounts found in our processed diets, it causes problems. Some people react violently to the gluten, but most of our guts would be happier with les gluten.

Our body’s cells are like our legs. If they always get the easy way, they soon become weak. If you never climb stairs, then when you must it is an effort. The same is true at the cellular level. Easy ways soon make the hard ways even harder.

Sugars aren’t the things in our diets that can lead to depression.

As I outlined in the ways our gut leads to depression, there exists a balance in our guts. Our gut is full of bacteria and other organisms that we NEED to be healthy. The right bugs in the right place make us healthy. But they need nutrition as well. Artificial sweeteners don’t’ provide the nutrition these gut bacteria need.

Food manufacturers have also contributed to this unhealthy diet. To prevent the foods from spoiling they add chemicals to the food and packaging. Sulfates are put on fresh fruits to stop them from spoiling. Unfortunately sulfates prevent normal digesting of those same foods. To digest foods we need the help of our gut bacteria. These preservatives harm the helpful gut bacteria.

Sulfates also irritate our bodies. Some people react violently to sulfates in the foods. Most of us react to some degree. Efforts have been made to reduce or eliminate sulfates from our foods. They have mainly been used to preserve vegetables and fruits. They too are not good for our gut bacteria.

Processed foods remove much of the nutrients that our gut bugs need. The gut bugs that can thrive on a processed diet are not the ones that produce the nutrients we need. Our guts themselves become ill. They leak toxins into our blood streams. These toxins along with the low grade inflammation of our gut contribute to depression.

The GMO’s make it even worse

GMO’s are “Genetically Modified Organisms”. Scientists put genes that do not naturally occur in a plant or animal into that plant or animal. These genes make them resistant to chemicals the farmers can use to rid their fields of weeds.

When we eat these foods (such as corn or soybeans) two problems arise. First, our bodies are not able to digest the foods. Second, small but significant amounts of those week killers get into our bodies.

The worst of these weed killers is glyphosate, the main ingredient in “Round Up”. Recent studies have linked this to many of our modern ills. I find it very convincing, but more careful and directed studies are needed to confirm these links, but the linkage is very strong.

So, stop eating! Then you won’t be depressed, just starved.

Or at least stop eating the foods you are used to. What you have been eating makes you sick and depressed.

What should we eat?

Diets that avoid most of the problem foods are high in fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. How these foods are grown and processed determines how good they are for you.

Since chemicals put on crops remain on and in our foods the farmers need to avoid using them. This means they must abandon the mechanized farming they have learned. They must grow the foods organically. Ways of large scale organic farming are being developed. The cost of organic foods is decreasing.

It is harder to preserve organic foods without resorting to toxic preservatives. Thus what gets to your stores varies by what the farmers produce. How the oranges my wife just bought found their way into the grocery store, I dread to know.

The diet most experts recommend is some form of the “Mediterranean diet”. One that is easy to follow is best. Here is one such Resource the Mediterranean Diet for Depression Anxiety Recovery

The Mediterranean diet relies on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It also has us replace red meats with fish, poultry or nuts and seeds.

There are many reasons to avoid red meats. Recent studies have linked them to depression (along with other ills).

Changes in diet take time to improve your health. Allow at least six months to see the benefits.

In the mean time you can supplement the diet with a multiple vitamin with minerals. These need food to be absorbed and used most effectively. Thus, they are not a substitute but a good addition to the Mediterranean diet.

Many experts also recommend fish oil supplements. These oils are those found in cold water fish such as salmon and cod. The oils also help us digest and absorb some vitamins that don’t dissolve well in water.

If you find it difficult to find foods you like that are good for you too, seek out a dietician. They can work with you to come up with foods you like that your body will like too.

In summary: Ways to Eat your way out of Depression:

  1. Avoid processed foods
  2. Avoid artificial sweeteners
  3. Avoid vegetables with sulfate preservatives
  4. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (especially organically grown)
  5. Replace red meats with fish, poultry or nuts and seeds
  6. Avoid GMO foods
  7. Drink lots of water (avoid artificially sweetened beverages)

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

“Out of the Depths I cry …”

When we are in the depths of depression we will cry out for any help we can get. Yet some of the things that make us feel better in the short term actually make us more depressed. How can we feel better now and stay better?

Last week I reviewed some of the ways a disabling illness can make you depressed. Now let’s look at some ways to get out of depression. The biggest thing you can do is change your diet. This will take time to have a benefit. So let’s review the short term fixes first.

There are several things you can do immediately to feel less depressed.

  1. Make your bed. Hint: it is easier if you get out of it first.

 

  1. Stay out of bed: hint: letting your porcupine sleep on it will help. Don’t worry porcupines are nocturnal so they will prowl the house, keeping you in bed when you should be there.

 

  1. Get up and get dressed. That means set a time to get started and follow thru with it. You will feel good that you at least could do this much. It might have taken major effort but now you have a start on the day. After all, it is your porcupine’s turn.

 

  1. Capture the day: Getting outside into the sunlight will help your body orient itself. The natural rhythm of light and dark we experience each day triggers changes in our brains. At night our brains release Melatonin. When we lack the light and dark cycles this release stops.

 

I found that bedtime supplements helped patients in the ICU where the lights were always on and they were disturbed by the care routines day and night. Melatonin is not without side effects, so I don’t recommend it for depression.

 

  1. Get moving: Exercise has long been known to relieve depression. This should not be maximal exertion. Exercise that causes pain and soreness, means that muscles or joints have been injured. Remember that the healing process of injury contributed to depression.

 

  1. Seek Joy: Things that make us smile help our brains feel better. It can be simple things like watching children play, or listening to music.

 

  1. Be social: Humans are social animals. An infant left without parental contact will die, even if food and other needs are met.

 

  1. Help others: When we see the benefit we can have in the lives of others we find purpose in our own lives. Holding a door and carrying packages are simple yet appreciated acts of kindness.

 

  1. Relax: Tension and anxiety often accompany depression. The hormone Adrenalin released in times of stress reduces blood flow to the gut and some other organs. This leads to a leaky gut and toxins getting into our bodies. The various forms of relaxing will reduce your adrenalin levels.

By relaxing and meditating on life we can get in touch with what is important. Remember many things outside your control are making you feel depressed. You might not be able to change the world we live in but we can change how we respond to it. Old ways of thinking no longer serve you. That is why a disability will make you a new person. Choose who you want to become.

 

  1. Avoid “comfort Foods:” Research now shows that a diet high in fats and sugars actually contribute to making us depressed. There are foods you can enjoy that will make you less depressed. I will write about the antidepressant diet next week.

Ps. if you have not signed up for my newsletter, use the space at the right. That way you will be notified of all my blogs as they get posted. Other material is also included in the newsletter.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

A Disability will make you Depressed

“Dah! You mean the chance that you won’t be able to be the person you thought you were shouldn’t depress you?” say you.
Medical research now shows us why Depression results from the process of becoming disabled. Not only do most people get depressed at the thought of becoming disabled, but actually becoming disabled causes depression to occur.
The chemical marker of depression is low Serotonin levels in the nervous system. This occurs by several mechanisms related to the causes of disability.
“How can such different illnesses such as Arthritis, cancer and Schizophrenia all lead to low Serotonin levels?” ask you.
Stress and fear cause the body to change blood flow in the brain. Blood flows away from the frontal cortex and to the Amygdala. This is the classic fear response. The body releases adrenalin into the blood stream. Adrenalin has effects not only in the brain but throughout the body. Blood flows to the muscles, preparing us to fight or flee.
Adrenalin also reduces blood flow to the gut and other body parts not needed to fight or flee. The gut is one such organ. For short periods this causes no problems. However, over time the gut can’t heal from the normal traumas of digestion. It starts to leak toxins and other substances into the body. Our body’s immune system sees these toxins and responds. The immune system revs up to fight them. It releases many substances into the blood stream. These are many of the same substances our bodies produce in arthritis and related conditions.
These inflammatory substances are good in that they allow our bodies to rid themselves of the foreign materials. However, they have other effects as well.
Our brains are affected by these inflammatory substances. When we have the flu or a cold we don’t think as well. That is the result of these inflammatory substances working on our brains. Colds and flu are short-lived and our brains soon return to normal.
When the inflammatory process keeps going on for weeks, our brains don’t have the chance to recover. The metabolism of the brain gets behind.
Our brains make the Serotonin (aka, 5-OH Tryptophan). When inflammation persists for a long time, very little Serotonin gets made.
As nerve cells communicate with each other Serotonin gets destroyed. If more Serotonin is not being made then we get depressed.
So, what can we do to either prevent or recover from the depression caused by our Disability? I will address that in next week’s blog.
So that you don’t miss that blog, sign up for my newsletter by putting your name and email in the form to the right.
Also, share this with anyone you know who might be depressed for whatever reason. They will appreciate knowing that depression is natural and there are things they can do about it.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave
PS. By signing up for the newsletter you will get the announcement when my podcast, “Recipes for Lemonade: thriving thru Disability” goes live.

Lost in the wilderness?

A voice is heard calling from the willow, but you turn your head. A caress comes from the wind, yet you tighten your coat. The sun infuses you with knowledge, instead you feel scorched. Surrender to the forces, become one, and let them lead you to your greatness.” ― Shaman Elizabeth Herrera,

When we find ourselves stopped by a disability we become lost in the Wilderness. Yet as this quote suggests we need to calm down and become aware of our surroundings.  Our surroundings nurturer us constantly, but in our busy lives it gets overshadowed.

While we are morning for what we have lost, our dreams, our self-image, our identity, we need to be loved. Our impulse is to crawl into our shells and hide. Pulling back and taking a pause in our busy life plans is necessary, we also need to get in touch with what is our true essence.

There is a voice with us always. In our busy lives we rush to and fro and only listen to that voice that says do this and that. When we can no longer do this and that, we have the opportunity to listen to the quieter voices in our lives, the ones that come from our core.

As we listen for the quiet core messages we find other things too. We discover that we are not alone. We feel things, too.

We find the caresses that abound. Those soothing caresses come in the gentle sound of rain, or wind in the trees. They come from the concerns of friends and family. Suddenly we find we are loved not for what we can do, but for ourselves.

If we relax and open up, we can feel the sun. If we but open our eyes we can see what is around us. The splendor of a cold winter’s day, the shimmering green or summer leaves. Life goes on in its rhythm of contraction and renewal.

With the onset of disability, we have entered a time of contraction. Like the World in winter we must hibernate and prepare for the renewal to follow.  In the winter snow we see tracks of animals scurrying about. Few are around to be seen. Yet these animals are pregnant with new life.

New life to be born as spring thaws the snows. Most animals birth their young in the spring. So too, we will be reborn when our spring comes.

When I entered my Winter of Disability, I got in touch with Spiritual things I had put aside for my career. I read and studied the book of Job. I read Herbert Kurshner’s book “On why Bad things happen to Good People”.

For me the message of Job was to let go and let God hear my pains, to let God respond to my pains. In those moments of surrender I felt caressed and not alone, I found opportunity and freedom.

When you find yourself stopped by disability, use it as an opportunity to return to your core, Pray, Journal, meditate. Become grounded in what you have walked away from in your formerly busy life. From that time extract your story. Find who, you have really been, consult family and friends, about who they think you are.

When have you needed to pause and reflect/

How have you been able to get back in touch with yourself?

Share them in the comments here. Share your brokenness with those you love and trust.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Ps, share what you enjoy here with others, send them the link.

Ways to know your life is in transition

When your life is in transition your may or may not know it. Some times like when we have a sudden event like college graduation, it is obvious. A sudden illness or injury also gives us a date for the change.

Since transitions are not just changes but the emotional changes that result, it is less obvious.

 Here are some ways to know your change is a transition.

You find yourself thinking about the past. That can either be good or bad. We learn much by reflecting back upon what we have done and coming up with better ways to do things, next time.  When our thoughts get stuck upon how good things were, and hot how good they can become, we are not preparing for the future.

Our dreams about the past tell us about our unfinished business. Our dreams are openings into our subconscious minds.  If we are flying high we are feeling good about ourselves. When we dream about running scared, there is something scaring us.  Seriously bad scares come out as Post Traumatic Stress.

You feel sad or lack energy. Transitions often leave us uncertain as how to proceed. Feeling sad and listless means we might be depressed about our current situation.

When you try to do something you are unsure as to why or exactly how to do it.  This can either mean you are truly doing new things or you are afraid to complete the task.  When familiar tasks seem hard, we should ask ourselves why?

You feel that things are just too confusing. You are at a loss for what to do next. During a transition we often find ourselves “Lost in a Jungle”. We have lost the familiar of the past, but have not found the certainty of a way forward. This sort of uncertainty is normal. It lasts for a brief while with planned changes, but unplanned changes take more time. Here is where a coach              might help you to ask the big questions about your life. They can help you find your direction again.

Your life will lack purpose when you are in an unplanned transition. Here you did not have a new job or whatever ahead.

When you were in a life transition how did you feel?

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

PS there is still time to sign up for my Webinar about transitioning thru a disability. I expect it to be helpful to anyone in a possible transition or their friends and family. You can sign up here