Thursday, October 9, 2008

Healing vs. Symptom Relief

Healing vs. Symptom Relief

It is important to admit you may need symptom relief – at least temporarily – to cope, to fulfill your family obligations, or to get back on your feet. But please don’t lean on that crutch forever. Symptom-relieving medication fools you into believing you’re well, when you’re actually just drugged. And when the pills wear off, you may be worse off than when you began, with side effects and a drug-addiction to boot. Take the drugs, if and when you really need them, get the shots, have the surgery, do what you need to do, get the best treatment your money can buy, for now. If you need it, it’s okay.

When I was 24, I gave birth to a son, and 6 weeks later my newborn’s son walked out on us. I coped the best I could, received public assistance briefly, got help from my family, but by the following winter, I felt very overburdened and alone. I developed a severe case of arthritis, and felt like an 80-year-old. I was in severe pain in my knees and wrists, and could not open a jar or sit on the floor to play with my crawling baby. The Rheumatologist ran tests and determined I had joint inflammation, with no known cause. Well, whatever the cause, I was unable to function. Tylenol, advil, naproxen, nothing helped. The doctor recommended prednisone, a steroid. I was vegetarian yoga practitioner who had just proudly had a natural childbirth, and the last thing I wanted was to be on such a strong drug.

I made the difficult choice to take the prednisone, temporarily, so I could feel better, and in the meantime, to learn everything I could about arthritis and natural healing. I coped with the drug’s side effects, and went to work researching and reading -- before the convenience of Google and Yahoo. I found the groundbreaking book, You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay, which helped me to transform my health and my life. Hay taught me about affirmations, and how each illness has a psycho-emotional source. The source of arthritis is “feeling unloved, criticism, resentment.” Well, that made a lot of sense, considering my recent abandonment by my baby’s father.

I began reciting affirmations daily, and clearing my emotional blocks to health. I found part-time child care so I could have some time to nurture my own needs and feel less resentful. And I found an arthritis diet that eliminates all nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and red and green peppers), that alleviated my joint pains. (See the research link here.) I was able to wean myself off of the steroids, and I haven’t needed them since.

Taking symptom-relieving drugs is a tool to give you back the strength you need to heal yourself. You may need medications at times, especially as you embark on the journey towards wellness, or when you have bad days, unexpected life-stresses, or setbacks. That is okay. Just remember that symptom-relieving medications DO NOT HEAL YOU. Only you can heal yourself.

While you’re feeling able to cope, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, take advantage of your temporary lack of symptoms and invest your energy in creating a long-term wellness plan. Read, research, and reach out for support, guidance, and assistance. And most of all, reach IN, inside yourself. Don’t give your power away to any doctor or author or expert. Only you know what you need to heal. Befriend yourself, love yourself, get to know yourself and your illness. Get to know the who, what, why, where, when and how of yourself and your illness, follow the steps to healing, and don’t give up. You can do this.

Pharmaceutical Corporate Greed: Beware

The drug companies want you to think you need them, and so do many (not all) doctors and insurance companies. Face it. Everyone and their uncle are making tons of money off you being sick. If you get well, they all lose their payroll. If we all eat healthily, exercise moderately, rest, reduce stress, and raise our stress thresholds with nutrients and lifestyle changes, we all get well. It is a sad and frightening truth that there are several gigantic multinational corporations who are in the business of insidiously ensuring that we never get well, that instead we continue to increase their profits by more and more of us getting sicker and sicker.

Link to Michael Moore's video, SICKO

It’s not so much that corporations are out to get you – I don’t personally believe in any organized, malicious corporate conspiracy – it’s just that they care entirely for their own profits and not at all for your well-being. There was a study done recently that analyzed an average corporation psychologically, and found that, by nature, corporations are sociopaths. Do you really want a sociopath telling you what to buy, what to eat, and how to live?

Link to The Corporation, such a powerful documentary!

For example, look at the billions of dollars spent on advertising, not just for pharmaceutical drugs, but to encourage us to buy and use the items which most clearly violate Ahimsa (non-harming). An unbelieveable amount of money is spent to persuade us to want, crave and buy things that we know are no good for us, such as junk foods and fast food (unhealthy diet), TV shows and new cars (sedentary lifestyle), and all the material things we don’t really need which cost money (forcing us to overwork to pay for it all).

Corporations see us as “consumers,” as purchasing units. Well, you and I know we are humans. And that we cannot, try as we might, buy health – only, perhaps, symptom relief. The only health comes from a healthy lifestyle – from changing your life, not from changing your meds, and certainly not from buying garbage you don’t need. The only healing comes from within. The only voices telling you otherwise are from those who intend to profit from misleading you, to profit, in fact, from your ill health, from your suffering. Lets put those greedy goons out of business, shall we? Let’s all get together and get well.

Symptom Relief can Help:

Some reasons you may need or want to take symptom-relieving medication:

1) Pain
Pain greatly decreases your mobility and your quality of life. Pain-relieving medications can allow you to function.

2) Sleep Disorders
Disrupted sleep disrupts your life, and can worsen your prognosis. A non-addictive, occasionally-used sleep remedy can be a life-saver.

3) Illness Progression
A progressive disease such as Multiple Sclerosis requires medications to slow its progress. Natural therapies and self-healing can be used as an adjunct to medications to improve quality of life and outcome.

You are Brave and Resilient:

Sometimes we have to make the difficult choice between dealing with medications that we hate, or dealing with symptoms that we hate. We may have to swallow a bitter pill, both literally and figuratively, and make major sacrifices in order to just get through the day. Being ill isn’t pretty. It is a Tantric path, the path of the Warrior. You are walking the tightrope between Liberation and Despair. All around you lay the pitfalls of self-doubt and self-sabotage. Give yourself credit for all your hard work. You are struggling against tremendous odds. You are brave and resilient. You will get through this. Just getting out of bed each day is a victory. Bravo!

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