Dis-Ease message

It has come to me that the cigarettes didn’t kill my parents. It was the Stuff that they didn’t deal with – what they pushed down inside themselves instead of getting out. Whatever that they were dealing with didn’t get out, because they didn’t do the work necessary to process it.

A healthy life isn’t about avoiding bad things. It is about learning from them, and letting them shape you into a stronger person. It is about becoming resilient and flexible to events, and letting them go through you.

The message that I’m getting is that diseases are the result of unresolved trauma – not bad lifestyle choices. It is tied together however.
A difficult event happens.
It needs to be dealt with.
You don’t know how, so you reach for a substance – cigarettes, food, alcohol, drugs.
The disease (dis-ease, a sense of not being at ease) is the manifestation of the unresolved trauma – not the result of the substance abuse, however.

There are examples of people who exercise, eat right, meditate and STILL get cancer, heart disease, or other chronic illnesses.
There are examples of people who smoke and drink every day and they live to be very old with no ill effects.

Jesus said to his disciples that if they were acting in accord with the will of God, they could handle snakes and drink poison and they would not be harmed. Now, the mountain folk who take that seriously and test it out in their worship services are of the opinion that if you die, you are making life easier – why live if you are not living for God?

This is a work in progress – a different way of viewing things. I don’t have all the information yet. But I know there is something here, because this message keeps coming to me. Please think about it. I will add more when it comes. If you have any input into this, please feel free to add a comment.

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Mixed Messages

“People and things don’t stop our pain or heal us. In recovery, we learned that this is our job, and we can do it by using our resources: ourselves, our higher power, our support systems, and our recovery program.” — From “The Language of Letting Go: daily meditations for codependents” by Melody Beattie

I saw this picture recently.
mixed message

The title of the article is “Her tattoo contains a hidden message, and it started an important conversation.” The tattoo is an ambigram – a message that can be read upside down as well as right-side up. In this case, the message is different when read upside down. The normal way it is viewed by others says “I’m fine”, while the way that she sees it says “Save me”.

The article says that she got it as a way of dealing with her depression. It is her way of asking for help. But there is something very wrong about this. It is passive. Help does not come from other people. If you give away your power to others, you will continually feel powerless.

I find it significant that “Save me” is the view from her perspective. Maybe she will finally read it that way – that she is the only one who can save herself.

She is the one who makes choices.
She can choose
to get enough sleep,
eat healthy food,
exercise,
avoid negative people,
find a job that is meaningful,
learn to speak her truth.

She can choose,
and must,
for her own survival.

Being healthy is a choice, and something each person must do for themselves.

Depression is a symptom, not a disease. It is the result of feeling powerless, disconnected, alone. It is a sign of not owning your own power, using your own voice. The way out of it is not to ask others to save you, but to save yourself. If others have to rescue you, you aren’t healed. They cannot do your work for you.

The giving away of power to others is part of the disease, the dis-ease. Ease, comfort, health, comes from taking responsibility for your own life.

You can ask for help to learn different ways of healing yourself, but you cannot expect others to do it for you. You must own your own power. You must be your own best friend. You must save yourself. This is the cure.

Stop being passive about your life.
Stop expecting others to rescue you.

Pray too late

I can’t make myself pray for people who have put themselves in a hole. They say “I need a miracle to help me get out of here”, and I say “What is the point?” You didn’t fall in. You climbed in, knowingly, for a decade.

It isn’t an accident that they have lung cancer or clogged arteries. Smoking cigarettes and eating poorly and refusing to exercise are choices. They chose to get sick, one bad decision at a time, over and over. So why pray for healing?

I know a guy who was slated to have heart surgery to clear up a blockage. They had to stop the procedure when they realized that the 30% blockage was really a 90% blockage. They’ll try again later. I’ve gotten emails and private messages asking me (and hundreds of others) to pray for him. The problem is, he weighs over 300 pounds. He put himself in this situation. Why pray? Why ask for divine intervention?

When my Mom got lung cancer after smoking two packs of cigarettes a day for 20 years, she was surprised. No amount of praying was going to undo that damage. No miracle was going to happen. When we came back from the doctor’s after finding out the diagnosis, she asked me if she could smoke. She’d thrown out her cigarettes when we were going to the doctors. She had an idea what was going to happen. The cigarettes were still in the house – but in the trash can. I told her that I would refuse to help her get better if she continued to smoke. Why waste my time?

There were plenty of people who would stand outside the cancer doctor’s office and smoke a cigarette before getting their treatment. What a waste. What stupidity.

I remember reading about how money is tight in England, and with the state-funded medical insurance program, they have to be very mindful about their resources. An overweight, elderly smoker who needs a heart transplant is likely to get passed over in favor of the younger person who doesn’t smoke. They take the time and money and spend it on someone who is likely to get some use out it. Why waste resources on someone who is going to waste it? I remember Americans being all up in arms about this. “Dignity of human life” and “How dare they” and “That isn’t fair” and all that, they said. Nonsense. Why put forth the effort when the person isn’t putting forth the effort?

Why pray for the person to be healed when they aren’t doing anything for themselves? Too late. The horse has already left the barn.

I really don’t feel I have the right words for this. I’ve thought about this for years, and I still don’t know exactly how to say it. I’m so frustrated with people waiting to the last minute and doing all the wrong things for their health and then being surprised that they have a chronic disease. Are we so blind as a nation, as human beings, that we think we can get by without paying the consequences? Are we so stupid that we think we should reap when we didn’t sow? Why do we think we are entitled to health when we refuse to create it? Good health isn’t an accident. Will power isn’t for the few. So many people are unwilling to work for their health, and then expect everybody else to feel sorry for them.

Maybe that is the problem. Passive lives all around. We don’t think about how we have to do things for ourselves. We blame others for our own failures. We blame our parents, our genes, our teachers for our own failures. We don’t have someone putting good food in front of us as adults – we have to provide it. Like children, we delight in treating ourselves with snacks and desserts. We pleasure ourselves every day with things that are bad for us, refusing to even try real food. We get a perverse pleasure out of not exercising, saying “you can’t tell me what to do.” We are children, not adults. We are killing ourselves with our childish behavior too.

No prayers. No miracles. We can’t wait for a savior. We have to save ourselves.

Disorder or description?

How much of Asperger’s is a disease and how much is a description of behavior? How about we turn it around, and say that all people who are rigid about rules and have a hard time changing have Asperger’s, rather than all people who have Asperger’s are rigid about rules and have a hard time changing.

It is like a personality disorder. All people who act in this certain way have X disorder, but really it isn’t a disorder. It isn’t a disease that has a medical cause. It is a maladaption or a lack of training.

What if we said all people who spend their free time watching game shows have a disorder? Or all people who have to buy the latest fashions even though they can’t afford them have a disorder? Or those who cheat on their wives or taxes have a disorder, or those who steal office supplies or drive 20 miles over the speed limit have a disorder?

Saying it is a disorder takes people off the hook. It means they are not responsible. It is something that happened to them. They are passive agents. Like the flu or chickenpox, it is a disease that they suffer with rather than a personality trait they can (and should) change. It might require a lot of therapy and several years, but it can be done.

What if the cause of Asperger’s is the cure? They had too little changes in their lives. They were allowed to insist on a rigid and predictable life. All sandwiches were peanut butter and strawberry jelly with no crust, cut diagonally. All toys had to be blue. All clothes had to be cotton. These things had to be done or else the child would have a tantrum to end all tantrums. And rather than insist the child grow and adapt, the parent gave in and the child grew up stunted like a bad bonsai tree. Then he entered the real world where nobody else was willing to accommodate him.