Archive | Stress

In Search of Yesterday – Memories of the Black Watch in Cyprus 1958 to 1960

The 1st Battalion Black Watch left Edinburgh by train one evening, perhaps in October of 1958. We wore drill order which consisted of kilt and TOS etc. We always travelled in kilts in those days. It’s such a long time ago that I forget which port we embarked from. I imagine it was Portsmouth. Certainly in the south of England. We spent about twelve days on a very old slow moving troopship to get to Cyprus. There were short stops at Gibraltar and Malta where I went ashore. Dress was trews and blue bonnets. Most of the day was spent in bars drinking. No tourist type sightseeing. A few days later the whole battalion was paraded for inspection to see that we had picked up no social diseases. The journey through the Med was not unpleasant. Not much to do. A lot of lying around being lazy. Rather overcrowded living quarters. The trick was to get up and wash and shave before everyone else.

When we arrived off Limassol we disembarked onto lighters which took us ashore. Dressed in drill order, kilt and TOS, we were greeted by a pipe band of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. We then got on buses of all things and were taken to our camp at Polis which was in the North West corner of the island.

Life in camp. That winter we lived in eight man tents. Somewhere in the camp was a primitive shower which I might have visited once or twice. We washed and shaved out of mess tins. I remember I bought a small burner to heat my water. When I’d finished, the same water went around the tent. I then ate out of the same tin. I also bought a portable radio. I think everyone else was National Service and therefore broke. I know my pay when I started was about three pounds a week. When I finished it was just over five pounds. We were paid in cash every Friday, although when we were on operations or out of camp it was held over, but cigarettes and razor blades were handed out free. Sometimes we got a rum ration when we were in the hills. The other National Servicemen got about thirty bob a week with a ten shilling marriage allowance for those with wives and there were many. They married at eighteen or nineteen in those days.I was in the signals platoon. In the next lines were the regimental band and the pipes and drums. We still had two bands in those days. As we worked around the clock we often had to catch up on sleep during the day to the sweet lullabies of the bandsmen practicing on their instruments.

The regiment having a long association with India, when we arrived in Cyprus we were joined by the regimental caterers from the colonial days, Gulam Nhabi. This very enterprising gentleman set up shop. His employees would do the rounds of the tents in the morning at reveille with buns and tea. I detested tea but it meant we didn’t have to go off to breakfast. Later operating in the hills one would sometimes find oneself dying of thirst, forbidden to use one’s water bottle, and out of nowhere would appear a cha walla with a tea urn on his back; Gunga Din be praised.

I can remember switching on the light at night and seeing the floor thick with cockroaches which must have been living beneath the wooden floor boards. In that winter the camp was thick with mud. I suffered from terrible constipation. The field latrines took some getting used to. One officer dropped his revolver down one and had to fish it out himself.

On night duty we would take a blanket along and probably nod off most of the time. The officers or sergeants on duty never seemed to bother us. Radio transmission was poor to nonexistent. Having just arrived in camp I found myself on duty the following morning, my first day in Cyprus. A message came in from brigade to send in our sitrep. I’d never heard the term before. There was a certain confusion over radio procedures. Our main intercompany radio was the Mark 19 set if I recollect. It had seen better days with the eighth army in North Africa. If all else failed a hefty boot in its side often set it to rights. The rifle battalions switched from the .303 to the Belgian FN on arriving. The HQ Company still kept their old and trusty Lee Enfield’s. A lovely rifle that I always remember with nostalgia.

Patrols would have a bren-gunner in the open turret of the three quarter ton truck. He would wear a flak jacket. Nobody else ever wore one. None were issued in any case. We had helmets but they were never worn. That winter dress was very relaxed and there was virtually no bull. No parades either. No parade ground. If there was an alert at night one would go out with the emergency patrol. One company was always on standby. Others were posted to outlying stations. That New Years Eve or Hogmany most people got rather drunk. The stand by company was kept sober. The drivers and signalers were not billeted with them however and it is doubtful if the drivers could have navigated the gates. One of our signalers was brought in the next morning on a stretcher from an outlying post, rigor mortis not quite having set in. The regimental band played airs suitable for the occasion.

There was to be an operation in the Troodos Mountains; Mare’s Nest it was called. The first assault was to be sent in by helicopter. One day we were suddenly ordered to put on full kit with rifles and to report to the air strip for training. A light spotter plane would fly over this from time to time and drop our mail out. A helicopter arrived. We got in, were taken for a spin, a rope was thrown out, we were ordered to climb down. Only one broken leg. We were then fully trained.

On the actual day of the operation the helicopters were sent in. They were to be followed the next morning by lorry born infantry. It was too windy to land the troops, except for one luckless fellow who had been the first to descend, without his rifle. He spent a night on the mountain before being relieved the next morning. Promoted to lance-corporal.

We went up by road. I was in the signals van. It got stuck somewhere. That night a corporal and I had to spend the night guarding it. Very lonely. I was only nineteen at the time. I spent a few days at our base camp. Very small. I’d got hold of some coffee so was able to brew my own. Detesting tea this was a godsend. It was very difficult for me to function in a nation of tea drinkers. The food seemed to consist of mutton scotch style. There were C rations or was it K. I can never remember which were British and which were American. Russian salad, corned beef, bars of chocolate. All very good. I can remember deciding to get a bath. There was a mountain stream a hundred yards from the camp so I went off to it and swam around in this freezing water for a while. I must have been tough in those days. I never wore socks either. The sergeant had told me one day a year before to either darn my socks or not wear any. Being cussedly stubborn I’d stopped wearing them. Our highland hose didn’t have any feet on them either so it seemed logical. Arriving back in camp I realized I’d left my rifle by the stream. One of those moments of panic. Luckily I was able to get hold of it before there was a problem. One fellow in our platoon had dropped a single round of .303 on the ground on descending from a truck after an operation and not noticed it. He was put on a charge and lost thirty days pay. Another fellow in a rifle company had lost a bayonet scabbard, not the bayonet, and there was a court of inquiry. When a bren gun had been lost by some nameless regiment two battalions were turned out to search for it.

The Suffolk Regiment had a small base camp next to ours. This was in a small vale high up in the Troodos Mountains. A corporal put his hand into his tent to pick up his Sterling sub-machine gun. The trigger caught in a guy rope and he shot himself through the chest. Our medical officer tried to save him but he died. A company had been supplied with donkeys for supply purposes. At other times aircraft would fly over dropping us supplies.

I went to join Don Company. From there I went to an outpost which consisted of a corporal, two privates and me as radio operator. We were all alone on our own observation post far from everyone. The ideal place to soldier in. We had a small Australian radio which fitted onto the belt. It used Morse, so I spent a lot of my time there communicating in Morse with our HQ. One night there was a terrible storm. The wind howled through the mountains, the thunder crashed like cannon, the lightning flashed. We only had two small two man tents. I can remember being on guard duty after midnight. Under a tree, bayonet fixed, a round in the chamber, safety catch off, I’d have shot anything that appeared. Who had ever heard of precautions to take during a storm?

Sometime later two privates in a rifle company had irritated the colonel. The incident had taken place in our main battalion base but he had them brought up to him somewhere in the mud of the Troodos. They had to appear i n full review order, kilt, white spats and sporran and all. They both got fourteen days.

In the spring we moved up to relieve the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Xeros. I was in the advance party. It was always agreeable to be detached from the regiment. There were some Royal Signals on this base who wore civilian clothes. When the battalion arrived, our RSM, Patterson by name and a giant of a man, nearly went through the roof. I’d always felt that when he roared even the gods in their heavens trembled. There were to be no civilian clothes in his camp. We were still in tents, but there was a parade ground so we wore khaki drill and started to look smart again. I have photos of us in review order, kilts and blue bonnets, white spats and sporrans etc.

The nearby village was Turkish, was it called Lefka? Occasionally we were allowed out there. Trews and blue bonnets. The local money was piastres. The beer was bad, the wine worse, but both very cheap. We had not had a real break for six months so it was decided to let us visit Nicosia, a company at a time. I was not with the first company. The commander of the Military Police in Nicosia said afterwards that he had never seen so much damage done by a single company in all his years of service. Well, the Black Watch had a reputation to maintain.

I was detached to a post in some Greek town. This was in the period leading up to independence. The Greeks paraded past our post with flags flying calling for independence. I can’t remember much about that period as the politics of the situation did not really concern me. When my mother died five years ago and we were clearing out her things I found my two old copies of Bitter Lemons, by Lawrence Durrell, and Grivas and the story of EOKA by W. Byford Jones, and although I probably read these after the events concerned I could not really have been without interest. At Polis we had had an interpreter. He was a student of Greek at Glasgow University and largely sympathized with them. The Black Watch were very Gung Ho and couldn’t really give a damn for Greek Cypriot sensitivities. If I remember the Gordons had had five men burnt to death in one operation. The Argylls had rather terminally messed up some captured Cypriot suspects after two British women had been gunned down. We were quite friendly with the Turks whom we considered stout fellows although one of them accidentally discharged his shot gun into the stomach of one of our fellows one day. Another private lost his eye on parade whilst unfixing bayonets with the new FNs. As usual accidents were far more common than battlefield casualties.

Perhaps our habit of moving into a church to search it and the bren gunner placing his machine gun on the pulpit to cover the worshippers was overly aggressive. When out we would help ourselves to whatever fruit we found. One night we had an accident and slept where it had happened. In the morning we found ourselves in a water melon field so that took care of breakfast. I can remember taking my rifle and going through orchards helping myself to oranges. An order went out to the motor platoon to try to stop driving over so many animals. I think there was a competition amongst the drivers to see who had the highest kill rate in a month. It must seem strange today that during my three years in the army I cannot recollect ever seeing a tank. The battalion was equipped with two armoured vehicles, a Ferret and a Dingo.

And as for Archbishop Makarios and Grivas or was it Dighenis. They were for generals and politicians to worry about, not the rank and file.

As the situation became more peaceful the battalion created its own beach where one could stay overnight, get moderately drunk and spend the day swimming and sun bathing. No swim suits or anything. No women either. In my three years apart from seeing no tanks I can’t recollect ever seeing a female soldier. Were they called WRACs or something? In camp we began the day at five o’clock and finished at lunch time. One was able to take leave. I spent a month in Turkey and the Aegean. The Turks were very friendly, the Greeks lukewarm. In Cyprus there was no fraternization with the local population at all. I was there eighteen months and in all that time never spoke to one female. When I was on leave I did fall madly in love with e beautiful Armenian in Istanbul but she was chaperoned and I could never be alone with her. In Khios in the Aegean I found a Greek girl from Egypt. Chaperoned also. Never alone either.

Towards the end of 1959 the battalion moved down to the new British enclave of Dhekelia in the South East of the island. This had a brand new barracks in it with all the regimental bull that went with it. The old colonel and RSM had moved on to other postings, the troubles were over and it was more or less a return to routine garrison life. There was a riding school nearby which meant I could take up one of my passions again. I remember one incident. A group of us were out riding and we’d started a rather wild gallop. My horse pulled ahead which was fine by me. Then I saw a very wide ditch ahead and decided it was too big to jump so tried to pull the horse up; except that I no longer had it under control and couldn’t so I thought what the heck we’ll have to jump it. At the last moment the horse saw it and dug his hoofs in and came to a sudden halt. I went flying over his head, cleared the ditch, did a parachute roll on the other side and came up on my feet with no broken neck. I then tried to remount but the horse was very nervous and my knees none too steady. The Second in Command of the battalion, an old 2nd Battalion India army man rode up and said the damn fool (me) can’t mount.

Authority and I never really got on. I was far too independent. So a private I remained. One of my best friends was a corporal. Ian Holden by name. He’d been sent down from Saint Andrews University because he’d been too brilliant to bother to study. He became a corporal which I should have done also, but that would have meant conforming which I was too independent to do. We often went out together which was frowned on. However he was always in trouble because we used Christian names with each other. It was absolutely detrimental to the maintenance of good conduct and military order that such things should happen. There is a most delightful passage about that in Robert Graves’ “Goodbye to all that”. His book of course refers to The Royal Welsh Fusiliers in the First World War.

Lord Mountbatten came by and a Guard of Honour in full dress turned out for him. As I am typing this I notice my computer queries the spelling of honour. I once wrote to the Times about their spelling of that word. They had used the American form of Honor Guard. They said it was all the same nowadays. I disagree. I was part of the old army. I was a three year volunteer. More than half the people in the battalion were National Service men. We still had church parades. We were woken up on the fifteenth of each month by the Pipes and Drums playing The Crimean Long Reveille. Drum Major Dear was one of the finest men I knew along with RSM Patterson and our company CSM whom I only remember by the name of Gobby but who had won an MM in Normandy. There was also my platoon commander, Captain McMicking, who went on to command the battalion. He was always very decent to me and I was doubtless a trial for him.

In 1960 I went back to the depot in Perth Scotland to be demobbed. Again a slow trip by sea. Perhaps the same ship. I kept a bottle of whisky in my bunk to help pass the time. When it was finished I put a note in it and threw it overboard. Some months later a girl wrote to me in the Bahamas which was then my home but I never answered. Life had moved on. Now looking back after half a century one gets nostalgic for the past, but the past is no longer there. Old friends have died off. The Black Watch which was raised in 1739 and could trace its roots back to 1725 has disappeared. The highland regiments, all the Scottish regiments for that matter have been amalgamated out of existence. So have the old Irish, Welsh and English regiments for that matter. They only exist in history books and the memories of old soldiers.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Interview Tips For Waiter and Waitressing Jobs – Part 1 – Pre Interview Preparation

In part 1 of Server Interview Tips for Waiter and Waitressing Jobs we’ll cover the preparation needed prior to going in for an interview. People get nervous about interviews because they’re face-to-face with somebody and have to answer questions on the spot. People get this anxiety for a variety of other reasons, but being prepared, can take away a lot of that anxiety.

If you want a waiter or waitressing job where you average over $20 dollars an hour in tips, these interview tips will help you get over that anxiety and give you an advantage over your competition.

A lot of people don’t think you’re interviewed until after you’ve filled out an application and then get a call back from management. In reality, most restaurants won’t let you take applications home. You’ll fill it out on the spot and immediately have your first interview. If your first interview goes well, then you’ll get a call back for a second interview with another manager.

Therefore, you have to be ready to interview before you even fill out an application. The second you walk through those restaurant doors, impressions are being made and you have to be prepared to give management a reason to call you back for a second interview.

Here’s my waiter/waitress checklist for interview preparation:

  1. Your physical appearance is the first thing people will notice. Gentlemen, this means being clean cut and well dressed. Ladies, this means look professional, with a personal sense of style. There’s nothing wrong with being overdressed, it shows that making a good impression is important to you.
  2. Physical demeanor is another attribute that ‘s noticed right off the bat. Good posture, eye contact and a solid handshake are all signs of strength and confidence that managers look for in a waiter or waitress.
  3. Personality traits are another important factor. Remember to turn that smile on all the way and spread that positive energy. Enthusiasm and desire to learn are traits that restaurant managers look for because you can teach somebody to be a good waiter. You can’t make somebody want to learn and you can’t make somebody enthusiastic.
  4. You’ve done your research about the specific restaurant. You’re familiar with their food, drinks and philosophy.
  5. We have a killer resume.
  6. We’ve read, Interview Tips for Waiter and Waitressing Jobs – Part 2 – Questions to Prepare For
  7. We’ve read, Interview Tips for Waiter and Waitressing Jobs – Part 3 – Good Questions and Humor Help Build Relationships

Remember that knowledge is the key. If you do your research and come fully prepared, you’ll rock that interview and be well on your way to that $20 an hour waitressing job.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Missed Diagnosis – This is My Story, It Could Save Your Life

My story begins late one night in December 2008. I’d just come home from a long and wonderful trip to Bhutan, Nepal and India and was in the midst of moving in with a man I’d met and fallen in love with two summers before. We’re both in good health, exercise regularly and keep our diet on the light side. But this night we’d been out to a fancy restaurant. We were in a high mood, planning a celebration for our 70 and 75th birthdays as one big party in February. A few hours after I’d gone to sleep, an intense cramping in my lower left side awakened me. My abdomen was bloated. My stomach felt hard as a rock. I couldn’t lie still so I stood up. I immediately bent over in pain. Feeling pretty weak I supported myself with the back of a bedroom chair. Sitting or lying down felt worse. That night, I walked around and around and around the living room wondering what was wrong and what to do. I’d suffered digestive discomfort for years but never anything like this. It was logical to believe I’d picked up a bug in India. As I walked, I took GasX. About ten minutes later, I felt better and was able to go back to sleep. I thought that was the end of it but it was just the beginning.

I’m a psychologist who hears many clients describe digestive discomfort, especially after a meal out in a restaurant. I’ve listened to many women describe similar nightly walkabouts in which all they could do was wait for gastrointestinal pain to subside. One woman told me her mother had been having attacks for years and tried every home remedy and medical prescription in the book with no sustainable relief. It’s common to hear people report getting so frightened by the pain that they believe they’re having a heart attack. They go to an ER, lay around on a gurney for hours and come home with a diagnosis of indigestion. Still, since the pain was extreme, I called my internist the next day and got an appointment a few days later. He sent me for scans of my liver, kidneys, gall bladder and esophagus, gave me an ECG in his office and prescribed Prevacid for indigestion. All the tests came back normal.

But nothing was normal. I continued to have severe digestive discomfort and painful spasms every few nights. I searched the Internet hoping to understand my symptoms better. I kept coming up with GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Each search described many of my symptoms but there was little mention of the pressure from gas that I was experiencing or the pain. I saw a nutritionist who was convinced that my gall bladder was malfunctioning. Her dietary recommendations didn’t work but she heightened my awareness of the importance of diet. In particular, I learned that carbohydrates produce gas and overeating at any particular meal puts extra stress on the stomach. I started a low carb diet and ate small frequent meals. I also stopped eating anything after six pm. Even though my alcohol habit consisted of little more than a glass of wine with dinner, I stopped drinking any alcohol. A glass of wine seemed to set off a spasm. Same with my morning cup of coffee. Taking these measures slowed down how often I experienced these episodes of intense pain but did not affect the intensity once one got rolling. Modifying my eating habits certainly helped but didn’t solve the problem.

Next I saw a gastroenterologist who was convinced I had SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). He prescribed Xyfaxan, an antibiotic that targets bacteria in the intestine in order to restore proper balance and cease pain caused by spasms of the gut. I did several series of this antibiotic over the next months. The third, pulling out all stops, was for three weeks. He also prescribed Levsin, an antispasmodic medication. The antibiotics seemed to lessen the frequency of occurrences and the Levsin was a godsend. My symptoms were increasing and the episodes becoming more frequent, more unpredictable. It’s hard to describe how disturbing it was to be clueless about when an episode might occur. If I had an afternoon of clients, I ate a light breakfast with no carbs and skipped lunch. It was the only way I could be sure I wouldn’t crash in the middle of a session with a client. With Levsin in my pocket, I felt more in control but when I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t get an attack I just didn’t eat.

Oddly, when I was fine, I was fine and that was most of the time. Difficult to predict, symptoms often came out of the blue and while very intense, passed within minutes. I learned that I could avert an episode by taking Levsin at the first sign of symptoms and even stop a rising spasm on its way to full bloom if I acted quickly. Because Levsin worked and because the antibiotics seemed to be working, I had confidence that the GI doctor knew what he was doing and felt confident he would solve the problem. I began to keep a journal of what I was eating and when I had symptoms. Eating carbs and eating too much at one meal continued to be major culprits. They led to gas, bloating, abdominal cramping, heartburn and scratchy throat. As months passed, I sometimes felt an intense pressure pushing on my diaphragm and rising to the center of my chest. I sometimes felt a hot spot behind my sternum, pain in one or both arms and soreness under my ears. I took Levsin everywhere with me. On a walk, to the movies, to bed.

Adding to my difficulties, I felt depressed, tired and annoyed. So many interactions in life revolve around food. “Let’s get together for lunch” became a challenge. Not being able to eat freely meant playing a game when we went out with friends. I began a blind man’s game of not seeing food on the table, on my plate or on a menu in order to enjoy myself. At least in California where I live, restaurants are used to people customizing their meals but I only had one diet I knew worked. When it didn’t fit the occasion, I cancelled. It’s an education to notice how central food is to so many ordinary things we do in a day. Being so restricted often secretly stole the fun out of a get together for me but I couldn’t risk a build-up of pressure.

On occasion, symptoms got started and subsided on their own. But mostly, the only thing that made a spasm bearable was Levsin. GasX always helped. Sometimes Gaviscon or Prevacid helped. I tried PPI acid suppressors (proto pump inhibitors) but with little reliable effect. On my low carb diet, I lost weight, 20 lbs from 138 to 118 in eight months. In a society where “one is never too thin”, I was looking good and getting lots of compliments but I did not feel good. It’s one thing to modify life to live around symptoms, another to think of living with an imposed restriction day in and day out for the rest of my life. As time wore on without a diagnosis, I began to think the painful episodes were here to stay.

My spasms felt like contractions in childbirth, horribly intense but subsiding in minutes. Resolved to their intrusion, at least I knew they would end. Like a woman giving birth, I went with the pain, breathed as rhythmically as I could and held the faith that I could get through it. I leaned against a couch, a fence or a wall depending on where I was when they happened. Since I felt like a pregnant woman with too much pressure on her stomach, I slept on a wedge to keep my head elevated to alleviate weight on my digestive tract. Keeping my upper body elevated while I slept helped me feel better but it didn’t prevent pressure from building up. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of a nightmare dreaming that I was being strangled or crushed or worse. To combat this invisible foe, I did everything I could, but to no avail.

Since I believed my symptoms were clues, I described them numerous times to numerous doctors, each with a different specialty, hoping one of them – internist, nutritionist, cardiologist, gastroenterologist and holistic md – would recognize what I could only sense. I kept asking questions, kept looking to them for answers. What’s causing all this? Where’s all the gas coming from? If it’s acid reflux, GERD and/or IBS, why doesn’t elimination of the usual culprits – gluten, dairy products, chocolate, wheat, red meat and alcohol – make a difference? If it’s SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), why aren’t the antibiotics working? And, bottom-line, how does pressure from intestinal gas cause a cramp in my chest? Since my problems started the week after I came back from a trip to India, doctors and friends joined me in speculating that I’d brought back an obscure bug. That added to the mystery but it still didn’t explain how indigestion was related to spasms.

Did I take tests? Of course. Blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECG), scans and scopes of the upper and lower GI tract. They ruled out esophageal problems, gall bladder, liver and kidney problems, heart problems – or so I thought. Did I follow doctor’s instructions? Of course. Three rounds of intestinal antibiotics. Did I talk to people? Of course. Smartest friends in the room. Everyone had their own experience and/or someone close to them who had similar symptoms. They also had lots of advice. Apparently, there are millions of Americans suffering from chronic bouts of indigestion that they’re treating with billions of dollars of digestive aids. But no one pieced together the combination of symptoms I was describing into a diagnosis.

To add to my confusion about what was happening and, in hindsight, to the hidden danger of a missed diagnosis, I had a para-thyroidectomy in December 2008. I had been diagnosed with parathyroid dysfunction during an annual checkup with my internist before my trip to India. There was some speculation about whether it could be a cause of my digestive discomfort. Not likely but a possibility. Apparently faulty calcium regulation can contribute to digestive problems. The surgery required – of course – blood tests and another ECG. Fortunately (especially in hindsight), I flew through the surgery with flying colors. But it further confused the picture. After my calcium levels were restored, I enjoyed an upsurge of energy. When I was not actually experiencing an episode or its aftermath the next day, I felt better than I had in years.

Incidentally, in January 2009, I saw a cardiologist. It was a routine visit, like seeing a gynecologist. It was simply part of my overall pursuit of greater health appropriate to my age. My cholesterol levels were a bit high (LDL 120) and I was considering statins. I did, of course, describe my symptoms to him, including the fact that I was seeing a GI doctor. During the exam, he thought he noticed a murmur and recommended I get a stress-echo test to complete my work up. “Nothing urgent”, he assured me. Nothing that couldn’t wait until after a spring trip my partner and I were planning to Paris. In fact, none of my doctors expressed any caution about traveling for six weeks out of the country or any urgency regarding any other tests.

In August 2009 – after eight months of mind-numbing episodes of pain — I did find the answer. Persistent questioning – and, I believe, lady luck was on my side. We came home from Paris mid-June and I made an appointment to complete my cardiology workup with a stress echo test at the first opportunity. That would be August 7. By this time I was afraid my digestive difficulties were burdening my heart. I thought I might not be able to complete the stress echo well enough for accurate results. But by August, I was a pro at dealing with my attacks and felt confident I could get through it even if I felt one coming on. Exertion at this time was the least of my concerns.

Even though I knew that going up a steep sidewalk, swimming 4 short laps in a row or spending ten minutes on the elliptical trainer could arouse symptoms signaling the likelihood of an attack, I could work around it. I’d learned to pace my walking, slow down my exercising and not lift anything heavy. On the stress echo treadmill, it didn’t surprise me that I was fine for 4 ½ minutes, 134 heartbeats. At that point I began to feel the usual pressure in my stomach, a light-headedness, pain behind my ears and a desperate need to rest. I’d been told 138 heartbeats was the target so when the monitor flashed a red 141, I figured I’d more than accomplished the target. I gasped for breath and asked the nurse, “Is that it? Can I stop now?” And she answered, “Only if you want to.” She didn’t bat an eyelash at my obvious distress. I’ve since discovered that people like to challenge the treadmill when they take the test so I guess that’s what she was used to. Then I did what I usually did when I was faced with an imminent attack. I calmed myself down. I breathed, meditated and thought pleasant thoughts while the nurse scurried around getting her numbers.

I was completely unaware of what had just happened. Customary for me, by the time I got to the waiting room, I felt fine. In this case, I felt pleased that I’d recovered without taking a Levsin. As I waited for the cardiologist, I was in a good mood, sure that – one more time – the test showed nothing definitive. My blood test numbers looked better than ever. They had all dropped dramatically from the year before. Total Cholesterol — 202 (from 247), Triglycerides — 61 (from 95), HDL 79 (108), LDL 111 (from 120). Clear proof that diet can affect your cholesterol — in case you had any doubt!

This was Friday afternoon. I was reading these results when the cardiologist came in. I was fully expecting a smile on his face. Instead, the look on his face was dead serious. He was very careful with his words. His words. “You have angina. Your reaction to the stress echo test is one of the most extreme we’ve had here in quite awhile.” My brain. “Is this something new, different or related to my problem?” He wanted to schedule me for an angioplasty as soon as possible. He asked me “Were you frightened while you were taking the stress-echo?” Wryly I answered, “No, I’ve felt similar spasms hundreds of times since December.” I had no idea what he was talking about. He was the first person to mention the word ‘angina’. First to indicate that I should be very concerned, even alarmed. He scheduled an angioplasty for Monday. I had a vague idea of what an angioplasty was but I had no grasp on angina. I certainly wasn’t thinking what I should’ve been thinking. ‘Good grief, I’m lucky I’m not dead.’

The cardiologist knew, of course, what I didn’t know – that the angina I had experienced on the treadmill was a life threatening aspect of blockage of the arteries in my heart. He continued to talk while I continued to blur. He assured me that the beta-blockers and nitroglycerin he was prescribing would, as he put it, “make sure I got through the weekend without an incident”. After not worrying for months, I now had to fret the weekend? Blur. As it turned out (and as usual), I had attacks both nights. And I used the nitroglycerin both times and it worked very quickly. I guess the good and the bad of the nitroglycerin was that it worked. It was evidence that the condition of my heart was the root cause of my painful episodes.

Fear blocked the big picture, distracting me from the warning my body was giving me that something very serious was wrong. Pain swept me off, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, into a foreign land of medical expertise desperately in search of an answer to my symptoms. For eight long months, I had been swept away by a tornado of puzzling pain into the medical specialty of gastroenterology. As much trust as I’d put in the wizards of medicine, as conscientiously as I’d sought answers from them to show me the way home to health, the man behind the curtain didn’t have the answers.

Now, after the fact, I’ve learned that the information my doctors needed for a differential diagnosis for a woman has been all but excluded from medical research until recently. According to Harvard Health Letter (Vol. 34, 9/09), medical research on heart disease has steadfastly overlooked women because maleness has been considered the top risk factor. There is precious little published, even for doctors, indicating that gastrointestinal distress is a possible much less definitive symptom of heart disease in women. Furthermore, according to the same Harvard Health Letter, even when diagnosed, a woman still must be “a little more aggressive in getting the care” she needs. I can attest that I passed from doctor to doctor in Los Angeles, seeing some of the best doctors in the country without arousing the slightest expression of urgency about what they were seeing and hearing.

Medically speaking, I had angina pectoris. The spasms radiating to my arms finally made sense. After the fact, everyone seemed to know that angina causes pain when the heart experiences competition for its oxygen from digestion. I can’t imagine what would’ve been required to alert anyone of my doctors to imminent danger while I was traveling the yellow brick road of doctor’s appointments. What more could I have done? I even had an attack during an appointment with the GI doctor. As it was, the diagnosis did not get made until after I nearly set off a heart attack during a routine stress echocardiogram. Who were these doctors seeing in their examination room?

Angina is dangerous. It typically sets in motion a quadruple by-pass. I was diagnosed on a Friday, went in for angioplasty on Monday. In an extraordinary procedure that is now so standard it takes your breath away, a surgeon weaved a little camera up through an artery in my groin to my heart and discovered a 90% blockage. Instantly, he inserted a stent. Saved my life. That’s the only way to say it. I was very very lucky. Any untoward event. Any slight fender bender. A heated argument. Sudden anxiety. Traumatic surprise event – to me, a member of my family or one of my friends. Any unexpected stress that would’ve demanded more than 10% flow to my heart and I’d be dead. It’s a humbling thought.

The first thing my friends say when they hear my story is “That’s great. You’re going to be fine now.” And then there’s a pause, a second take. The next thing they say is ‘Ohmigawd, 90% blockage, you could be dead. That’s weird. How could your doctors miss that?’

I know I tell a harrowing truth that’s hard to believe. No one, not one doctor, friend or family member ever mentioned the word ‘angina’ to me in eight months of suffering. Angina was not in anyone’s vocabulary. Angina was never mentioned until my cardiologist said the word to me after the stress echocardiogram, a test ordered because he’d thought he heard a slight murmur in my earlier exam. Maybe my heart was murmuring to him, telling us to check out my heart and discover the angina behind my digestive distress.

Further in the ‘believe it or not’ department and to my complete delight, I’ve experienced a complete erasure of digestive distress since my angioplasty. All of my digestive problems have cleared up. I can eat anything I want. Drink wine and indulge in desert. My choice for the first time in almost a year.

But more important. Missing the diagnosis was extremely dangerous. Angina is as close as you can come to having a heart attack without having one. Angina is a build-up of plague in an artery of the heart – called atherosclerosis – that interferes with blood flow. Angina attacks don’t kill heart muscle but angina is a ticking bomb, ready to set off a heart attack with just the right amount of pressure – from stress, exertion, excitement. I’ve run across an impressive anecdote about angina written in 1790. Before the tests of modern medicine, Dr. John Hunter showed himself to be an astute observer of his own angina pectoris when he wrote, “My life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy or tease me.” What he knew is that an imbalance between the metabolic demands of the heart and the adequacy of one’s coronary circulation to provide oxygen causes pain. I wish I had had his insight. I experienced surges of physical symptoms when I got angry, upset or frightened or ate too much but I had no inkling what it meant. Now I know, angina interferes with the flow of blood when we need it the most. Not during an ECG when the heart’s at rest. If my heart had needed more than 10% blood flow to deal with a sudden jolt of fear, heavy lifting or – as with the stress echo – running, I’d have had a heart attack.

Time to ask the big question. But before I do, I’d like to make a qualifying statement. Even though it’s clear to me, after the fact, that my doctor’s lack of insight endangered my life, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not blaming my doctors for missing my diagnosis. I’m grateful for their continued concern and, ultimately, thankful for to their expertise. As I said, they saved my life. But why didn’t the absence of a source for the relentless distress I was experiencing arouse a sense of urgency in my doctors?

Recent news headlines about being in charge of your own health care have taken on new meaning for me. Here are some thoughts to ponder, more frightening than they seem when one’s life is at stake.

1) It’s no secret that there’s a breakdown in the health system that doesn’t encourage communication between specialties. I don’t have statistics but, as in my case, it could be critical if lady luck isn’t on your side. My cardiologist believed I was in good hands for digestive distress and stayed his course until a stress echo that put me squarely in his ballpark. When my GI doctor tapped the bottom of his bag of tricks, he didn’t have a policy directive to pick up the phone and call my cardiologist even though he was seeing symptoms indicating a crossover. My internist, persistent and conscientious, is not a coordinator of services.

2) Medical training is not oriented to educate patients as partners in finding a diagnosis. Yet patients need help now. We need to know how to go beyond the walls of a particular specialty. Even my ability to ask in-depth relevant ‘doctor to doctor’ questions did not uncover my diagnosis. Not one of my doctors expressed the need for a stress echocardiogram. Though I’d seen the cardiologist initially in January, his response was routine. My internist, who I saw often, first in December and last in June, mentioned in passing “if you’d like to move your appointment (for the stress echo) up from August, you probably could.” I took that to mean the stress-echo was one more elimination test.

3) Where does the fabric of integrity underlying the medical field as a whole come into action? My GI doctor, with whom I was in continuous contact, agreed with my plan to finish up my cardiac workup after I got back from France. But he expressed no sense of urgency and no possible explanation of how my heart might be related to my digestive problems. Is that an appropriate end to his responsibility? Did he suspect a connection between digestion and the heart and not say so? Or if not, why not? If the patient is the lynch pin, the only one carrying information from specialty to specialty, they need education as much as elimination to find a diagnosis.

True, I didn’t fit the picture for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). I had no markers, as they call the signs of CHD in medical circles. My numbers are good. I’m a happy 70 year old in a relationship, slim and in general good health. I stretch, walk, and workout daily. I’ve followed a fairly good diet for years. And I had my heart checked. I’d had two ECG’s. I’d had surgery, a high heart stressor. And I’d seen a cardiologist. I also felt fine when I wasn’t having an attack. No doctor objected to my taking a long trip out of the country even though we didn’t know what was causing my problem. No one explained I might need more than an ECG – or insist on a stress echocardiogram or a nuclear cardiogram, the tests that take pictures of your heart in action and when increased blood flow is needed – to determine whether my heart was okay. Even the idea that blood flow might be related to my spasms and/or digestive problems did not enter the equation until after the fact.

It seems more important than ever to see oneself as a detective hot on the trail of your own case. Or, a Dorothy who has pulled back the curtain and knows a doctor is just a person, not a god. It’s pretty much a medical fact these days that each doctor who sees you looks from their own particular specialty and that there’s little crossover from one specialty to another. As I heard one cardiologist put it “When you’re a hammer, everything you see is a nail”. Makes it not only good but necessary, I believe, to track your own clues. As if you were finding fingerprints, you can identify a pattern running through one appointment after another even when logic is missing and everyone is looking in the wrong direction. As hidden as it may be, a magical through line exists. On the road, a tin man without a heart, a scarecrow without a brain, a lion without courage all became more than when they started. Even though nothing made sense, I persisted, never lost my curiosity and, in the end, I found the answer. Like a murder mystery without the murder, my tale would make a captivating adaptation of the Wizard of Oz.

The moral of my story? Don’t hand over your ruby red shoes. Doctors are ordinary people. It has to make sense to you before it makes any sense at all. Put angina in your vocabulary alongside heart attack and stroke. No reason to wait and wonder if your heart might be the heart of the matter. Check it out. Don’t wait for your doctor to tell you it’s urgent. And don’t settle for a test that won’t give you the full picture of your heart at work. It’s when it has to go to work that your life depends on it.

I’ve lived my life citing a couple mantras. One from Bob Dylan — “Those not busy being born are busy dyin’.” Another from Yevgeny Yevtusheko — ‘Don’t die before you’re dead’. I’ve never had my life saved before. Now death is more than a metaphor. Perhaps old age is the age of miracles. Or at least the profound realization of life as miracle. Take it to heart. Literally.

By Jane Alexander Stewart, Ph.D.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

NLP Pacing and Leading Techniques Anyone Can Easily Do

NLP pacing and leading is a strategy often used to take control of situations. It’s quite revolutionary actually. When used correctly, you’ll be able to diffuse arguments, win over people and generally avoid trouble.

Read on to learn more…

NLP Pacing and Leading Technique # 1: Mirroring To Build Rapport

This is very simple and easy. All you have to do is mirror a person subtly whether through gestures or speech patterns.

Once you have established some sort of rapport with the person, then that is the time when you can take control of the situation and turn it around as you see fit. You’ll see how quickly that other person will follow your lead.

For example, if the person you’re talking to likes to start a conversation by putting both hands on the table, you might want to copy that gesture as well (but do it very subtly). If that person speaks in soft tones, soften your voice as well!

NLP Pacing and Leading Technique # 2: Stating Facts And Then Taking Over

This involves you stating something true about the person you’re talking to – or the situation you’re dealing with – and getting said person to agree with you before swooping in to take control.

For example, if you want to convince somebody to donate to charity, tell that person something factual like, “You’re here in this restaurant, listening to me talk about charity…” and then implanting new thoughts into that person by adding, “and perhaps you’re wondering why you should donate to this cause…” Insert what you will after that phrase and I’m sure you can take it from here.

Everyday Usage Of NLP Pacing And Leading

See how easy these techniques are? You can virtually use them on anyone and for any situation! For everyday practice, why don’t you test them out on someone whose behavior you want to change?

For example, if your brother has a tendency to talk too quickly, you can easily use the first technique to control his speech speed. When he talks to you, answer him back in the same speed. Do this for three times before eventually slowing your speech down. In turn, your brother will follow your lead!

NLP pacing and leading can be very easily enacted. Anyone can do it! Now that you know how to deal with situations accordingly, I trust that you’ll use this knowledge positively. Use it to improve your persuasion skills and help others as well!

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Archers in the Roman Army

Ancient Roman warfare was built on the back of the legion. The Roman war machine evolved around the legion like the ancient Greek’s war machine revolved around the Phalanx. Rome was built on the back of its legionnaires, they suffered some setbacks but overall the legions swept away any enemy that confronted them in the field. And though the legions formed the major part of the Roman army, the Romans also used auxiliary troops to great effect. Among these troops were the archers.

Archers were a major part of most ancient countries war machines. The Romans didn’t use them to the same extent as other ancient civilizations like Egypt they did recognise the importance of archers in the ancient battlefield and placed them with great skill alongside their legions. On Trajans column the auxiliary archers are dressed in their native clothes. Most of Rome’s archers were recruited from the middle east, a region that had perfected the use of the bow as a weapon of war. As Crassus, a Roman commander, was to find out when he led an army to defeat at the hands of Persian archers.

The conical helmets, long tunics and chain mail coats all suggest the archers came from the middle east. The Romans were experts at warfare and they turned their skills to archery to get the most power they could from the archers. They employed different types of arrowheads to perform different jobs. The well-known leaf shaped arrowhead was used to penetrate soft targets. These would be used against lightly armored troops. For heavily armored troops these arrowheads were ineffective, just bouncing off the armor.

To inflict damage on heavily armored troops the Romans would use heavier arrowheads with a tripointed end. These arrows would easily penetrate most body armour. They would also stick into shields making them heavy and difficult to maneuver. Arrows were designed to be used only once. The shaft of the arrow would bend once fired and the arrow point would be damaged once it had penetrated armor or a shield.

Roman archers usually carried about forty arrows in their quivers. As well as their normal arrows they also carried small darts. Darts were fired at approaching enemy units to break them up and force them to lose their discipline. Causing confusion and fear among the approaching enemy. The legions would then attack the enemy units with their disciplined formations. Although the legion was the mainstay of the ancient Roman army, auxillery archers played an important role in ensuring the success of the ancient Roman army.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

How to Eliminate Intrusive Thoughts

In almost all cases of general anxiety, the driving factor fuelling the sensations is anxious thinking. Without addressing these intrusive thoughts, there can be little success in eliminating the root of the anxiety.

People who experience anxiety and panic attacks frequently have to deal with the negative side-effects of unwanted thoughts that creep into their minds. These thoughts can range from worries about health, concern over loved ones, or even fears that do not make any rational sense at all but continue to linger in the mind.

Sometimes, the unwanted intrusive thoughts come from previous experiences; other times they are simply bizarre, leaving the person worried as to why such strange thoughts are occurring. In all these cases, the person is upset by the anxious thoughts because they are causing distress and worry. I will guide you through a simple two-step process that is in part related to the One Move which I teach but tailored specifically to dealing with anxious thinking.

Anxious Intrusive ThoughtsTackling anxious intrusive thinking effectively requires a two-pronged approach. To eliminate the negative thinking patterns, there needs to be a shift in attitude along with specific visualization tools.

The Attitude Shift It is not the intrusive thoughts in themselves that cause you distress. It is how you are responding to those thoughts. It is the reaction you are having to the thoughts that enables them to have influence and power over you. In order to better understand how unwanted thoughts come about, it helps to paint a playful visual picture of how this happens. This is a fictional example and will help you better understand how to deal with the issue.

Imagine yourself standing on a street and all around you thoughts are floating lazily by. Some of the thoughts are your own, other thoughts are from outside sources you access such as newspapers, TV, magazines, etc. You notice that when you pay attention to a thought it gravitates nearer. The thoughts you ignore float on by.

When you focus and examine a thought up closely, you notice how it connects to another similar thought, and you find yourself jumping from one thought to the next. Sometimes these are practical, day-to-day thoughts such as bills, chores, etc., or the thoughts can themed by the past or a fantasy/daydream.

In our imagined scenario, you unexpectedly notice a thought hovering in front of you that scares you. This thought is called “Fear X.” X could be panic attacks, ill health, or something bizarre. You find it impossible not to look at the thought, and as you give it your full attention, this causes it to come closer and closer. When you examine the thought, you begin to react with fear as you do not like what you see. You further notice how that initial scary thought is connected to more worrying “what if” thoughts that you also examine in detail. The more you try to escape from the thought by pushing it away, the more it seems to follow you around as if it were stuck to you. You try to focus on more pleasant thoughts, but you find yourself continuously coming back to the fearful thought.

Intrusive Thoughts…

There is an expression of “thoughts sticking like glue.” The very act of reacting emotionally to the thought glues the thought all the more to you, and the more time you spend worrying and obsessing about the thought, the more that glue becomes hardened over time. The thought and all its associated connected thoughts are there in the morning when you wake and there at night when you are trying to get some sleep. The thought becomes stuck to your psyche because your emotional reaction to it is its sticking power. Thoughts are a form of energy, neither good nor bad. It is how we judge those thoughts that determines how much impact they have on our lives. Thoughts need firstly to be fed by attention, but what they really love is a good strong emotional reaction to make them stick!

Thoughts that stay with us are first attracted to us by the attention we pay them and then stuck firmly in place by the level of emotional reaction we have to them.

This is an important point. A thought-even negative intrusive thoughts-can only have an influence over you if you allow it to. The emotional reaction from us is a thought’s energy source. What’s interesting is that either a positive or a negative emotional reaction is fine for the thought. Energy and attention is what it is attracted to. Once you are having an emotional reaction to a thought, you will be regularly drawn to that thought until the emotional reaction has lost its energy and faded away.

For example, if someone you know pays you a very positive compliment, you may find yourself unintentionally drawn to that thought anytime you have a spare moment. You probably find it improves your overall level of confidence and mood throughout the day. Sadly however, we tend to focus less on the positive and more on the negative. We seem to forget those positive compliments all too easily and are drawn more frequently to what might upset us. Taking the opposite example, if someone you know insults you, I am sure that you find the emotional reaction to that thought much more intense and probably very long-lasting.

So the basic pattern of thinking is as follows:

If you are not engaged with an activity or task, your mind will tend to wander to any thoughts that you are having a strong emotional reaction to. In general, as they are the ones that you are probably reacting most strongly to, angry or fearful thoughts seem to surface quickly.

What I am suggesting is that the most ineffective way to eliminate intrusive thoughts is not to try and suppress them. Thought suppression studies, (Wegner, Schneider, Carter, & White, 1987) have proven that the very act of trying to suppress a thought, only results in a higher frequency of unwanted intrusive thoughts occurring. This recurrence of the thought has been termed the ‘rebound effect’. Simply put: the more you try suppressing a thought, the more the unwanted thought keeps popping up (rebounding).

So how do we begin to tackle this problem of intrusive thoughts?

There needs to be a change of attitude. By a change in attitude, I mean a change in the way you have been reacting to the intrusive thoughts. A change in attitude will quickly disarm the emotional reaction you are having to the fearful thoughts. Once the emotional reaction has been significantly reduced, the anxious intrusive thoughts will dissipate. In the past you have probably tried to rid yourself of the thoughts by attempting to struggle free of them.

The trick, however, is not to attempt to be free of them but to have a new reaction to them when they run through your mind. We can never fully control what goes through our minds, but we can control how we react to what goes on there. That is the key difference between someone who gets caught up in fearful thinking and someone who does not.

The thoughts that terrify us are not fuelled by some unknown force; they are our own. We empower them and equally we dismiss them. When you have an uncomfortable thought you would rather not be thinking, your first reaction is usually to tense up internally and say to yourself, “Oh no, I don’t like that idea. I don’t want that thought right now.” The very act of trying to push these intrusive thoughts away and then understandably getting upset when that does not work causes the thoughts to become more stuck to your psyche.

It’s like saying to your mind over and over again “whatever you do, do not think of pink elephants,” and guess what? You can’t get a single thought in that is not related to pink elephants.

As long as you struggle with the thought, your mind, like a bold child, will keep returning to it. This is not to say your mind is maliciously working against you. It is better to compare the mind to a radar scanner that picks up on thoughts within us that have high levels of emotional reaction connected to them.

To not react emotionally to intrusive thoughts you need to learn to disempower the “fear factor” of the thought; then you must accept and be comfortable with whatever comes to mind. Don’t hide from or push the anxious thoughts away.

So to take an example:

Say you have fear “X” going on in your mind. That fear can be virtually anything your mind can conceive. You know the thoughts are not a realistic fear, and you want them to stop interrupting your life.

Next time the fearful thought comes to mind, do not push it away. This is important.

Tell yourself that that is fine and that the thought can continue to play in your mind if it wishes, but you are not going to give it much notice and you are certainly not going to qualify it by reacting with fear. You know in your heart that the thought is very unlikely to happen. You have a deeper sense of trust and will not be tossed around emotionally all day by a thought. Say to yourself:

“Well that thought/fear is a possibility, but it is very remote and I am not going to worry about that right now. Today I am trusting that all is well.”

What is of key important is not to get upset by the thoughts and feelings as they arise. To avoid any fearful emotional reaction to the fear/thought give the fear some cartoon characteristics.

Imagine, for example, it is Donald Duck telling you that “Something awful is going to happen. Aren’t you scared?” Give the character a squeaky voice and make it a totally ridiculous scene. How can you take seriously an anxious duck with his big feet? This use of cartoon imagery reprograms the initial emotional reaction you might have had to the thought and eliminates any authority the thought may have over you. You are reducing the thought’s threat. When that is done, move your attention back to whatever you were doing. Remember, you are not trying to push the thought away or drown it out with some outside stimulus.

This takes practice in the beginning, but what will happen is that you will find yourself checking how you think/feel less and less during the day, and as it does not have a strong fearful emotion connected to it, your mind will not be drawn to troublesome intrusive thoughts. To put in another way, the thought becomes unstuck and fades away because the emotional reaction has been neutralized. In fact, that is the first step to moving away from anxious thoughts–neutrality. It is as if your mental energy was spinning in a negative cycle while you were caught in the anxious intrusive thoughts. Now, you are learning to stop the negative cycle, and move into neutral (see illustration below).

From this new position of neutrality, you will experience a much greater sense of clarity away from the confusion of an overanxious mind. Moving into this mindset of neutrality is your first step. Thoughts generally lead us in one direction or another -a positive cycle (peace/sense of control and order) or a negative cycle (anxiety/ fear/ disorder). The next step is to adopt a relaxed peaceful state of mind and move your energy into a positive cycle of thinking.

You might have wondered why it is that some people seem more susceptible to worries and unwanted intrusive thoughts than others. You now know the answer to that. The difference is that the people who seem carefree are the ones who are not reacting with a strong fearful emotion to an anxious thought. These people see the same array of thoughts as an anxious person, but they do not make a fearful thought a part of their lives. They dismiss the thought or laugh it off and have a sense of trust that things will work out fine. They see no point in reacting with fear to these thoughts, and that ensures the thought has no power or authority over them. You may feel that you are by nature an anxious person and that you will always react with fear to these thoughts because you have done so for years. That is not the case. Continuous or obsessive anxious thinking is a behavioral habit, and just like any habit it can be unlearned. I have outlined the quickest and most effective way to do this by using a unique shift in attitude. You can undo years of anxious thinking and reduce your level of general anxiety very quickly. All it takes is practice.

http://www.panic-and-anxiety-attacks.com/intrusive-thoughts.html

This article is copywritten material. Any requests for reprinting this article must be made to Joe Barry McDonagh

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Remove Almoranas Also Known As Hemorrhoids or Piles Fast and Naturally

Almoranas is another word for hemorrhoids or piles that comes from the Tagalog dialect spoken by many people in the Philippines as their first or second language. Unfortunately, a friend was traveling through the Calabarzon region of the country visiting different provinces when he began to develop a stinging itch in the rectum area. He was thinking it was caused from too much time spent sitting in cars or hiking when humidity was high causing a mild rash. He used medicated powder hoping this would solve the problem. There was no such luck.

His Philippines vacation was interrupted one morning when he had a painful bowel movement that had traces of blood in it. That night his itch began to burn with intensity paired with a throbbing pain. He told his local guide about his condition. This was the first time he had heard the Philippines word almoranas. The guide explained that was Tagalog for hemorrhoids or piles. He was taken to visit a local Philippines medical clinic where it was confirmed he had developed an external hemorrhoid outside of his anus.

External hemorrhoids can develop when there is increased pressure in and around the rectum region that force hemorrhoidal veins to expand. When these veins are forced to expand they become inflamed and painful, an individual often develops conditions such as fiery anal itch, throbbing pain, and embarrassing rectal bleeding. There are several contributors that can increase the chances of developing piles.

For example, pregnancy, constipation, stress, and cirrhosis are some body factors that can create extra pressure on hemorrhoidal veins. Almoranas treatment options can include Chinese herbal principles of high strength Fargelin plum flower pills; sitz baths, modified bowel habits, ointments, creams, cold treatments and hemorrhoid banding surgery. Thankfully, my friend caught his external hemorrhoid early and received immediate treatment. He did not ignore the discomfort allowing the condition to get worse. The Philippines medical clinic recommended a powerful and gentle ointment to treat and cure the hemorrhoid. It worked!

What to look for to decide if you have almoranas? Follow these simple warnings:

• Seeing signs of blood with passed stool or on toilet paper after wiping.

• Experiencing pain while passing bowel movements.

• Chronic anal itching, painful irritation and difficulty sitting.

• Feeling a large painful growth internally or externally out the anus.

Most of the time natural hemorrhoid remedies are the best treatment options to cure and remove piles. They are proven to be effective, safe, and very affordable. In serious cases it is always strongly recommended to visit a proctologist to discuss surgery options like the hemorrhoid banding procedure. But, in most cases natural products are gentle and powerful enough to eliminate almoranas at home quickly.

Sitz baths do an incredible job of soothing delicate tissue and keeping the area clean to avoid infection.

After having hemorrhoids treated and removed there will be a recovery time to allow the sensitive tissue around the anus to heal. To help rejuvenate the skin, stimulate faster healing, and sit without pain it is important to buy a hemorrhoid cushion or seat designed to individuals with an anal condition. These helpful products can be used with current chairs in the home and on the toilet seat.

Many nutritional experts suggest diets high in fiber stop constipation and make passing bowel movements easier, which promotes good colon health and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids. Whole grains, vegetables and plenty of water keep the digestive system running smooth. One more health supplement is called Psyllium, which is affordable and readily available. Another healthy choice recommended by pharmacists is flaxseed oil pills to boost fiber. It is nature’s wonder extract. If your doctor has prescribed any medications be sure to tell them about any supplement you plan on taking to make sure there is no problem with your medication.

There are many natural alternative creams, ointments, Fargelin plum flower pills, sitz baths, and others that have beat almoranas for millions of former sufferers. This is a condition that can ruin people’s lives if they do not take action to have them treated and eliminated. Curing almoranas also known as hemorrhoids or piles can be done at home with inexpensive non-prescription treatments.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Migraine Relief – Essential Oils to Use & Methods of Application for Best Results

A synergistic blend of essential oils can be more effective for getting the results you desire than any single essential oil. The key pure essential oils I recommend you use in a blend for migraine relief, include:

Frankincense, Cypress, Peppermint and Lavender

LAVENDER ( Lavendula augustifolia ) – A universal first aid healing oil Lavender is highly scented and has a distinctly sweet floral-spice aroma that’s a little wild and woody.

Lavender is useful for relieving headaches, especially sinus headaches, or headaches related to congestion and poor circulation.

Lavender’s actions include: Analgesic (pain reliever), Antispasmodic (calms nervous and muscular spasms, tension, pain and indigestion), Restorative (helps to strengthen and revive the body systems), Sedative (soothing, tranquilizing, calming effect on the body, good for nervous tension, stress, insomnia, anxiety and palpitations) and Relaxant (causing relaxation, relieving strain or tension).

FRANKINCENSE ( Boswelia fereana ) – A powerful and enticing wood aroma that sweetly sparkles with freshness and a hint of spice. Traditionally Frankincense was used as an anointing oil as it was thought to possess miraculous powers to heal almost every conceivable malady.

Frankincense slows and deepens cellular respiration and has the characteristic effect of comforting and centering you during times of distress. Very supportive and comforting oil.

PEPPERMINT ( Mentha piperita ) – Peppermint is a fluid, colorless oil with a distinctly penetrating scent. Peppermint acts as a regulator and has a relaxing or invigorating effect depending on the circumstance for which you are using it.

Research has shown Peppermint to be effective for relieving Migraine headache! Also helpful for tension headaches when resulting from weak or poor digestive forces, congestion or sluggish circulation. An excellent Liver tonic!

CYPRESS ( Cupressus sempervirens ) – Cypress oil has a distinctly clean, fresh, woody aroma that’s light and clear with a hint of spice and is reminiscent of pine and juniper berry. Cypress oil stimulates blood circulation and is restorative and calming.

Cypress oil’s powerful astringent properties make it effective for strengthening and toning the cardio-vascular and nervous systems and for relieving tension held deep within the body.

Cypress oil is the essential oil most often used to strengthen and support healthy functioning of the heart and circulatory system. Its astringent action makes it effective for conditions associated with congestion of lymph or blood circulation such as migraine headache.

METHODS OF APPLICATION:

Both of these methods of application are effective for relieving migraine headache pain. Research shows that essential oils will remain in your bloodstream for up to 4-6 hours.

METHOD 1: Dispense 15 drops of your Migraine Relief synergy blend into a 1 ounce bottle of carrier oil, shake well and allow to synergize for 24 hours, or longer as time permits.

Dispense 1-3 drops of this Migraine Relief synergy blend in dilution, inhale and apply to your sinus points, chest, upper back and abdominal areas. The oils will enter through the neurovascular points located in these areas to effectively trigger your relaxation response for allergy relief.

METHOD 2: Direct inhalation – Dispense 1-3 drops of your pure essential oils blend onto a cotton ball. Breathe in their vapors for 30-60 seconds. Breathe in slowly and pause briefly on your inhaled breath. Then slowly exhale, letting go of any tension. Repeat this slow, rhythmic breathing five more times.

Aromatic oils stimulate your olfactory nerves which send a signal to your brain’s neuro-receptors, triggering numerous electro-chemical responses to promote balance in your nervous system and help relieve migraine headache.

Migraine Headache may be a symptom of Dehydration. Water plays an extremely important role in your diet and bodily functions. Many parts of the brain draw much of their energy from water. Water must be taken into the body in its pure, natural state, optimally drink half your body weight in ounces daily.

PLEASE NOTE: There are many cheap, synthetic copies of aromatic oils, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results purchase the highest quality oils you can possibly find. Use certified organic essential oils, or oils that have been tested and are pesticide free.

Holistic MindBody Therapy, including pure essential oils, are gentle, noninvasive complementary forms of health care for balancing and synchronizing your body, mind and spirit and a natural, safe and effective way to enhance your health and well-being. Alternative health care may produce satisfying results where other methods have failed. Please consult with your physician regarding serious health concerns and do not attempt to self diagnose.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Cause of Heart Palpitations May Not Be What You Think

I occasionally see patients complaining of a fluttering heart, a sense of fullness in the chest, a pounding heart or skipped heartbeats. These sensations, also called heart palpitations, occur when the electrical system in the heart malfunctions. This malfunction disrupts the natural rhythm of the heart (arrhythmia).

Usually, irregular beats are harmless. As a matter of fact, most people at some time in their lives, have occasional irregular heartbeats and never know it. The heart goes right back into rhythm and you don’t feel a thing.

But some people do feel these irregularities; their daily activities may even be disrupted. And, palpitations could signal an underlying heart disease. So if you have them, it’s important to be evaluated, especially if your palpitations are prolonged and recurrent or accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, sweating or dizziness. But many times, the cause is less serious.

I remember one middle-aged patient who was sure his palpitations signaled heart failure. I referred him to a cardiologist for a stress test and an ultrasound of his heart. Both tests revealed good heart function. I also ordered thorough blood tests, which showed no problems. Back in my office, I evaluated his daily activities, food and drink. Right away, I suspected that his high consumption of caffeine might be causing his problem, and he followed my suggestion to eliminate it from his diet. Sure enough, after a week or so, his palpitations disappeared.

Causes and Remedies

When your doctor rules out heart disease, you’ll be relieved, of course. But since there are many causes of palpitations, it might take patience to discover what triggers your symptoms. The good news is that, in many cases, you can find remedies.

Nutritional deficiencies. Electrolytes in your body-particularly potassium, calcium, and magnesium-keep the electrical signals in your heart firing regularly. An imbalance can cause irregular beats and simple supplementation may correct them.

Caffeine, tobacco and alcohol. Too much stimulation from ingested chemicals may affect your heart. If you have recurring palpitations, you may find that reducing or perhaps eliminating one or more of these stimulants will solve the problem.

Medications. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause heart palpitations, particularly cold medications which contain pseudoephedrine. It’s a good idea for anyone to avoid these. Opt for natural and homeopathic remedies when you have a cold.

Stress. If you do not handle stress well, palpitations may be your body’s way of responding. Identify your stressors and learn how to deal with them. Simplify your life, try yoga or meditation, listen to music, practice deep breathing. Even adding moderate exercise to your routine can relieve stress. Do what works for you.

Food allergies or sensitivities. Just because you’ve never had allergies, don’t assume that food could not be the culprit. Even adults can develop food allergies for the first time or develop new food allergies. An estimated 9 million adults in the US have them. If you suspect food allergy, try keeping a food journal, noting when palpitations occur. You might also need to follow an elimination diet, which will help you to pinpoint the offending foods.

Food additives and preservatives. These are substances which you should avoid anyway. But if you’re particularly sensitive to them, they might be causing your symptoms. Watch out particularly for artificial sweeteners.

Anemia and hyperthyroidism may cause palpitations. Both of these conditions require particular treatment and, if suspected, can be confirmed with blood tests.

Helpful supplements

When an obvious diagnosis cannot be made, some doctors prescribe drugs to control heart palpitations. Beta-blockers help the heart slow down. Calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels. However, these drugs often bring with them unpleasant side effects, including sexual dysfunction and sluggishness. It makes sense to try natural supplements first.

When supplementing with minerals, calcium and magnesium seem especially important. Calcium supports the cardiac muscle, and magnesium can regulate some types of arrhythmia.

An amino acid called taurine keeps your heart from losing potassium and helps it use calcium and magnesium more effectively. A taurine supplement can regulate heartbeats by actually correcting the arrhythmia. It should be taken along with vitamins B6 and C to ensure proper absorption.

When the heart beats too fast, a Chinese herb called Cordyceps, may help slow the rate. It also increases the blood supply to the heart and may lower blood pressure.

A Heart-Healthy Diet

With any heart-related issue, I recommend a general heart-healthy diet. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t forget beans and legumes, fish, dark leafy greens (such as spinach and arugula), whole grains, nuts, spices, herbs, wheat germ and flax meal. And specifically for palpitations, eat avocados, a great source of potassium, which helps to regulate heart rhythm.

If you are experiencing heart palpitations, don’t assume the worst. Do get evaluated for heart disease.

But don’t panic! Remember that, in many cases, the problem is less serious and can be solved through natural methods.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Cause and Effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that has been around since the beginning of mankind. Its symptoms were recognized and mentioned in the Old Testament of the Bible. It is the result of being exposed to an event or events that are so severe and traumatizing that they basically overload the mind. If you are young under the age of 20 it can physically change the brain permanently.

PTSD symptoms are frequently chronic and can be delayed for many years before overcoming the victim. Symptoms include intrusive thoughts, racing thoughts, paranoia, agoraphobia, flashbacks, irritability, severe nightmares, night sweats, depression and other anxiety disorder.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sometimes incorrectly referred to by the media as post traumatic syndrome, can be caused or triggered by witnessing or being involved any number trauma related events. These include combat, car accidents, domestic battery, rape, assault, industrial accidents, murder, imprisonment and personal injury. The response to these events is entirely personal. Events that have no effect on others or even events that you have witnessed previously may not have any effect on you in terms of PTSD.

The event that causes you to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may seem to pass without note or it can cause you to have a total breakdown immediately after the experience. Again this is normal as each of us responds differently to the trauma. Marines, soldiers, sailors, police officers, EMS, firemen and first responders who are under orders or carrying out their profession frequently show no immediate effect to a trauma event or series of events. Many of these people do what is commonly called “stuffing it” or ignoring it. The effects of stuffing their exposure frequently means the anxiety disorder will show up later, sometimes many years later.

Other Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffers may have an immediate response to the event. They can be severely affected within hours or days. Hopefully there are mental health professionals available to provide treatment. It is understood that if you receive treatment relatively soon after a trauma event you have a much better ability overcome the symptoms of PTSD. Frequently just discussing the event shortly after it has occurred can go a long way to healing the wounds.

Individuals suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder frequently develop additional mental disorders as a result of their PTSD. These include depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, sleep disorders, suicide, agoraphobia, GAD and panic disorder. In addition physical medical problems also increase and can include cardiac, dental, intestinal, and digestive diseases. Some physicians feel it also increases the risk of cancer.

People who suffer from PTSD in the chronic delay form seem to suffer the most and tend have more trouble controlling the symptoms. Many combat veterans have come home thinking they have escaped the effects of what they endured only to find that PTSD symptoms show up years later.

Many of us have used various methods to control and hide the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some sufferers have used exercise, adrenalin rushes and work to control it. Others have used alcohol and drugs and still others have just gone and bunkered up and shut out the real world. Most of us have sleep problems, by that I mean we don’t sleep. For more than 20 years I lived on about 2 hours a night. Its really another way to control symptoms, if you do not sleep you do not dream.Combat Vets know that living with untreated PTSD is hell on earth. Dealing with it long after the effects symptoms have taken hold is certainly a trying ordeal as well. It has to be dealt with or you will not have a normal life and it can even significantly shorten your life. The choice is yours. Understand that the treatment and medications do not cure you but they lesson the control that the symptoms place on you.

As A mentor to combat vets and law enforcement officers who are dealing with PTSD and its symptoms, our job is to facilitate getting the people into treatment programs and then mentor them through the long process of getting control of their symptoms. This process can be further complicated by substance abuse or associated mental health problems. Mentoring is hard work but If combat vets and cops do not help each other then no one does. The process of getting control of PTSD symptoms can be a long and sometimes difficult endeavor.

If you think you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or know someone who does, you can generally get assistance by contacting your county veterans service officer or Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Readjustment Center. The VA has a great deal of expertise in dealing with this disorder. Even if you are not a vet they frequently know what mental health resources are available to affectively treat PTSD. If your are in a Job that does not allow you to have PTSD like law enforcement, active duty military, fire fighters and other first responders, you must choose carefully who you work with. Trust is everything when it comes to dealing with and treating PTSD. Eventually you will have to make a decision as to staying in your profession. It is far better that you make that decision then to have someone else make it for you. I am not only a combat vet but I am an ex law enforcement officer and I know what it is like to suffer from PTSD.

Again the worse thing you can do is to try to ignore the problem until the symptoms become too severe for you to manage. Today is the best time to start dealing with your Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Life is a hell of a lot better when you have the help and the tools necessary to control the symptoms as opposed to them controlling you. It can and will get better if you work at it. Start looking for resources to help you now.

Posted in Stress0 Comments

Page 4 of 71« First...23456...102030...Last »